October 13 and 14, 2010
A representative from RL Adams Plastics attended the Green Growth Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The goal of the conference was to further reach out to West Michigan’s companies and to offer aid and knowledge about “being green” and sustainability practices. West Michigan is at the forefront of the Green movement led by furniture companies, Steelcase and Herman Miller.
RL Adams Plastics came away with valuable information regarding lean manufacturing techniques and environmentally friendly practices that they will implement in their efforts to do their part in preserving our environment.
Sustainability is most popularly defined by the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations as, “a practice that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability for future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainability has two faces-lean and clean. The combination of lean and clean is a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste through continuous improvements. Waste is defined as non-value adding energy, materials, and activities. RL Adams Plastics aims to eliminate all of its “waste.”
“Lean” concentrates on efficient manufacturing practices. Lean is often said to eliminate DOWNTIME: D-defects, O-overproduction, W-waiting (bottlenecks), N-non-utilized resources, T-transportation (unnecessary transportation), I-inventory, M-motion, and E-extra processing. “Clean” concentrates on energy efficiency and environmentally friendly practices such as water conservation, full use of raw materials, reduction in waste and chemical emissions.
RL Adams Plastics is investigating a potential Green Suppliers Network (GSN) Assessment to identify energy and dollar savings based on the synergistic value of the combination of “lean” and “clean.”