Using Lean to Reduce Energy Consumption and Waste

Aug. 15, 2008
TBM Consulting Group launches 'Lean Energy Practice' to help manufacturers with energy conservation.

Applying "lean" principles to reduce energy consumption and waste, manufacturers can see significant cost savings. The process has already helped McCain Foods Ltd., a global frozen foods company with over $6 billion in sales, which saw energy savings of $300,000 at a single facility.

Through its "Lean Energy Process," TBM Consulting Group will help companies conserve resources such as water, gas, compressed air, oil and electricity. Its new 'Lean Energy Practice' will help companies apply "lean" principles to reduce energy consumption and waste.

In addition to tracking energy flow, the Lean Energy Practice will also provide maintenance and sustainability initiatives for long-term savings. Its Total Productive Maintenance Services, a critical adjunct to "lean" manufacturing, is focused on waste elimination, preventing deterioration and reducing equipment breakdowns -- a proactive approach that prevents any kind of process interruption before maintenance is needed.

Doug Kiss, a lean consultant at TBM with over 30 years manufacturing experience, will lead the practice. He has been certified in Total Productive Maintenance by the Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance. Formerly a corporate quality consultant for United Technologies, he led the operations transformation initiative involving more than 50 facilities and the supply base. Trained in Japan in 3P and in kaizen, Kiss has led lean programs for facilities worldwide.

The practice will monitor the flow of energy through a breakthrough process called an energy kaizen. A one-week energy kaizen event focused on a single source of energy can typically generate a cost reduction of four to eight percent annually for a company, resulting in a savings of $200,000 - $500,000 or more a year, according to TBM. Wasted energy, says Kiss, often results from improper machine conditions, lack of standard work, excessive inventories and unnecessary processing.

"The manufacturing community has an urgent need to exert control over rising energy costs," said Anand Sharma, CEO, TBM Consulting Group. "To improve financial performance particularly during turbulent times, its crucial for manufacturers to conserve their energy resources."

According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), more than 40% of all U.S. energy is used by industry, including transport of manufactured goods. It also reports that U.S. manufacturers can save the equivalent of $10.4 billion if it reduces energy consumption by just 10%.

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