Green Corridor: Gemba Your Way to Green!
Replace florescent lights with LEDs! Forgo disposable plastic utensils! Reuse all boxes for export packaging! Compel staff to think twice before printing out hard copies of any document!
These are just some of the actions that move organizations toward sustainability. By recommending easily actionable solutions and motivating your employees and team members to adopt them are a great way to make them feel they play a part in your company’s overall sustainability journey.
When I was Head of Go Green at DHL eCommerce APAC, customising green solutions for the company was one aspect of my job I truly enjoyed. It gave me the opportunity to explore new solutions and it showed me just how creative people can be when they are challenged to do so.
Many companies train their staff to identify and address areas of waste. When you combine this with a focus to reduce greenhouse gases, not only do you get closer to being sustainable, you can also save money.
Sustainable companies know that in order to reduce their carbon footprints, the same techniques used to improve operational efficiency can be employed. After all, identifying “waste” in office and manufacturing/service processes is often directly related to cutting down carbon emissions.
One of the easiest ways to make positive changes fast is to do a green workplace audit. At DHL eCommerce, I created a checklist of sustainable best practices, with which I then made an audit form for our staff to use. Following the initial check, annual audits should also be done because changes in the environment, such as equipment and work space changes, would require action adjustments.
However, to get a more detailed understanding of the workplace overall green status and to make more substantial process changes, it is generally necessary to analyze the whole process value chain with sustainability in mind. For this, I recommend doing a “Green” Gemba Walk.
For those not familiar with the method, a Gemba Walk is a concept developed by Taiichi Ohno, a Toyota executive. A Gemba Walk allows management and employees to:
- Take a look at all the processes in a specific value chain (for example, Pick and Pack order processing);
- Step back to observe and question the tasks being done in the existing process;
- Create actions that could eliminate “waste”.
The Gemba process was developed to identify and eliminate seven “wastes” in the production system. Eliminating “waste” directly impacts your costs and, when it is applied with a green focus, it can also reduce emissions and the use of unnecessary disposable items. For the process to work smoothly, it’s also ideal for managers to have some knowledge and training in the Gemba concept by doing an actual “walk” that’s concentrated in energy, fuel, and disposable product consumption.
Are you ready to start your company on a sustainable journey by walking through your business processes to look for waste? You never know what insight you’ll gain.
Tim Foote runs Susymbio, a boutique consulting firm advising clients on e-commerce logistics solutions and provides sustainability program management services. Tim worked in management positions at multiple MNCs for more than 25 years, gaining a wide knowledge and expertise in logistics operations, Tim has crafted delivery solutions for many e-commerce clients and managed the supply chains for several chemical and freight forwarding companies.
At DHL eCommerce’s first Asia Pacific Head of Go Green, he put in place various programs, including carbon footprint management, sustainability training, illegal wildlife smuggling monitoring training, and employee engagement.
Tim volunteers his free-time with the Singapore Wildcat Action Group, a not-for-profit organization that raises awareness and funds for wildlife conservation.