“Lean and Green” was the topic of conversation Friday afternoon at the 2011 Eco-Conference.
Jason Schulist, director of continuous improvement at DTE
Energy and MLC chair (center), presents to a group of
students and professionals at the 2011 Eco-Conference.
Jason Schulist, director of continuous improvement at DTE Energy and Michigan Lean Consortium chair, spoke on how to use Lean and Six Sigma to foster sustainability within an organization.
Lean Six Sigma can drive progress and sustainability as well as be adapted and extended to meet social and environmental bottom lines, Schulist said.
And the process is reciprocal, he continued, as sustainability considerations can improve and supplement Lean Six Sigma.
Schulist stated that his goal involved answering the question, “How do we connect with the community in an environmentally and socially conscious way?” while remaining “economically and financially viable.”
Schulist provided the group of students and professionals at the event with examples of how Lean and Six Sigma have increased sustainability in both his personal and professional life.
At DTE, initiatives have saved millions by conserving water and fuel through the use of the Lean tool called the gemba walk, where company leaders examine effectiveness of processes by leaving the office and examining them as they are executed. For one project, the idling time of unoccupied vehicles was monitored and decreased, reducing fuel use and the company’s carbon footprint.
The DTE Energy Gardens are another example of how Lean and green have been utilized at DTE.
Large areas of open “buffer” property, which have high upkeep costs, were turned into gardens where volunteers plant and grow food that is then donated to Gleaners Community Food Bank to feed the hungry.
To Schulist, Lean Six Sigma and sustainability can be integrated effectively with positive results and add a deeper sense of purpose to continuous improvement projects.