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RE: Site Visits
I agree with all you've said. It's also good to hear that these methods are
being incorporated into a new guide. I've always viewed the WMOA guide as a
start, to be built upon and improved. I also believed that the general
approach could be applied to all wastes (i.e., air, water, solids, excess
energy, excess labor) and not just hazardous wastes. The potential for
environmental programs to improve all aspects of production was enormous.
Unfortunately, the regulatory mindset did not allow this to happen. We had
to wait for new definitions and rules (the P2 Act) before many people could
break out of the box. The rush for every agency to generate countless
industry specific guides helped foster the "a" approach. Then there is the
problem of how many in management view their environmental programs. The
stigma of command and control is hard to shake.
So if we need to adopt new terminology and work with the quality programs to
foster P2, let's do it. The P2 movement is still very young and its way too
soon to be set in our ways. If P2/quality is to succeed, we need to be
flexible and adaptable. I too would like to hear others input on this topic.
> From: Robert B. Pojasek[SMTP:email@example.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 1999 8:15 AM
> To: Callahan, Mike; firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: RE: Site Visits
> In your analysis you neglected to discuss the EPA Federal Register item
> that I cited. It clearly states that the assessment is an important
> program element but not the basis for the program itself. That was my
> point. You cited the WMOA Manual (1988). In Figure 1-3 you did cite the
> first step. It is difficult to get management commitment for P2 before
> assessment work has started (Assessment Phase). It is also nearly
> impossible to set realistic goals when there has been little information
> collected. The organization of the assessment program task force is just
> getting ready for the assessment phase. The focus is clearly on the
> assessment in my reading of the manual. Most quality-related programs
> clearly set up the program first (perhaps better than the WMOA and its
> second edition did). This being said, I think environmental people need
> act as facilitators and resource persons in the waste elimination programs
> and not set up stand-alone programs. The waste elimination programs must
> be INTEGRATED into core business practices. If the company has a
> plan or productivity improvement plan, this is where the waste elimination
> program should be centered. It is highly unlikely that an environmental
> person would be directing such an effort, but he or she does need to be
> involved. In my experience with industry, this effort is often lead by
> someone with training in process characterization (hierarchical process
> maps NOT process flow diagrams), problem solving and decision making.
> Technical assistance providers and consultants can ask questions about the
> company's other programs to eliminate waste (lean manufacturing
> just-in-time, agility program, etc.). If they understand the primary
> motivation of these programs (i.e., to eliminate waste), it is possible to
> get environmental wastes included in the program INSTEAD of setting up a
> separate program. Many P2 assessments ("a" approach) are not doing this.
> I am real pleased to hear that you are using proven quality tools in your
> work (the "b" approach). I have found in my 11 years of teaching that
> engineers have some difficulty using these tools. Since the tools do not
> use algorithms and computers for the most part, they are considered to be
> "soft" to the engineer. Instead, these tools provide structured analysis
> that help TEAMS solve problems with available knowledge. Engineers need
> be active in these teams or help them design and implement the
> that were decided upon using the tools.
> My answer to your questions:
> P2 should NOT be taken away from us. However, we need to learn how to
> INTEGRATE our work into mainstream efforts within the firm. We have to
> learn more than P2 to do this effectively. Will we take the time to do
> Quality trained personnel have already learned how to use structured
> analysis tools and how to set up effective strategic planning efforts with
> management commitment. This has been done under many names (lean
> manufacturing, etc.). Of all the wastes that they declare war on, rarely
> are environmental wastes included. So we cannot allow them to consider P2
> without our involvement. However if we do not learn their jargon, we will
> be excluded from their efforts. Often the quality people are in a better
> position to facilitate the work. Engineers like to solve problems not
> study them. However, they do need to be studied with employee teams
> an effective (local cultural considerations included) solution can be
> and implemented.
> Government will always have a role in P2 and industry competitiveness.
> new EPA Facility Pollution Prevention Guide will be available at the end
> this year with much more information on problem solving and decision
> making. The "b" component will be well described. The NIST MEP program
> looking at using problem-solving and decision-making tools to integrate P2
> into their lean manufacturing consulting practice. They are now charging
> companies a fee for their services to reduce the need for government
> The Small Business Development Centers are working with the EPA
> Environmental Accounting Project to expand the use of environmental
> accounting. These projects are aimed at INTEGRATION of environmental
> programs into core business practice NOT setting up stand-alone programs.
> Perhaps this is the key. What we need to look at is how performance is
> measured on EPA PPIS grants and how the incentives and rewards go to those
> that leverage their work in the manner discussed in this discussion
> The "b" approach is VERY EFFECTIVE in gathering information. It does so
> involving employees and making them aware of other information as you
> suggest. If you have used this approach as you claim, you would know just
> how effective the approach can be. I refer you to Pat Gallagher's
> from her efforts in New Mexico. The "b" approach encourages benchmarking
> as a means of both gathering feasibility study information on best
> practices and as a means of establishing meaningful metrics. Often the
> approach uses benchmarking in a more limited fashion as a search for
> answers." This short circuits the use of problem-solving and
> decision-making tools by employee teams. The reason that the "b" approach
> works so well is that everyone in the firm buys into the program and does
> not get a "solution" imposed upon them by an outside group that may not be
> facilitating team problem-solving. It is interesting that in the New
> Mexico program, companies cannot tell stories about their P2 gains. They
> must use metrics to describe the success. This is required in the Malcolm
> Baldrige criteria. This may bring a new demension to our P2 case studies.
> I would love to hear others answer Mike's questions - especially some of
> the NIST MEP lurkers to this listserver. Perhaps others have additional
> questions that can be explored within this discussion. I know that there
> are a number of quality trained people on this listserver. Has this
> you in your work? Jancie Hatcher thinks so. Pat Gallagher thinks so.
> What about you?
> Mike Callahan writes:
> Should P2 be taken away from the environmental groups and be given to the
> quality groups ?
> Should the environmental groups just let the quality groups take it ?
> Should governments role in such programs be curtailed because it often
> leads to "a" type thinking ?
> Can a "b" approach work without upsets if there was no "a" type
> available for benchmarking ?
> Dr. Robert B. Pojasek
> Pojasek & Associates
> P.O. Box 1333
> E. Arlington, MA 02474-0071
> (781) 641-2422
> (617) 788-0288 (FAX)