Increasing EHS Value in Tough Economic Times

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Mark Posson

Can we do more with less? Absolutely! This tough economy is affecting all aspects of an organization and environmental management is not immune.  Today’s reality in most organizations is stagnant or declining resources and a continuing mandate to increase environmental performance.  We need to resist the tendency to pull back in tough economic times and instead be introspective and improve the way we execute.  We can free up the resources to meet the demands of expanding requirements by continually improving our business processes.  The increased efficiency will free up resources and the increased effectiveness will boost performance and stakeholder value.

Strategically, what processes provide the greatest value to our stakeholders?  Where can we get our biggest return for the time invested?  These basic questions will help prioritize your improvement targets and possibly identify processes that can be eliminated.  A ranked list of processes for improvement will guide your pace of change and tactical execution.

Tactically, the simplest path to improve a process is to follow the elements of lean:

  1. Identify the value to the stakeholder (your customers)
  2. Determine the sequence of activities (current process flow)
  3. Identify the activities that create value
  4. Eliminate activities that do not add value
  5. Identify process inefficiencies and their cause(s)
  6. Eliminate the cause(s) of inefficiencies
  7. Create the new process (future process flow)
  8. Implement the new process
  9. Measure results

The steps are simple but often challenging to implement in light of day-to-day execution pressures.  We can’t expect different outcomes by following the same processes.  The investment in process improvement will provide the payback in better results with fewer resources.

What strategies do you use to do more with less?

 

About Mark Posson

Mark Posson is Operations Director for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, Calif. During his free time, Mark enjoys fishing, hiking, biking, racquetball, public service and spending time with his family.

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1 Comment
  1. Alex Pollock

    October 8, 2011

    Thanks for a very useful path Mark. Tougher to do than say as you suggest. I was always struck with the ease with which the gains from a balanced EHS program can be jeopardized when clients mount pressure to dilute the tough stuff and advocate for “EHS light.” As I heard W. Edwards Deming say ” customers don’t always know what they really need.” Knowing when to stick with what’s “right” is a mark of a great EHS leader.

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