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Fwd: Hybrids and Public Financing

>Bob Pojasek advances excellent arguments (as usual) about companies
>utilizing a "systems approach" to P2 to bring about real changes in an
>organization. But he questions the value of publicly-financed loan programs
>to pay for capital investments in "technological fixes," implying first that
>the "systems approach" and P2 loans are mutually exclusive, and second, that
>these loan programs only fund prescribed investments. 

In my experience, I have found that many firms are readily willing to make
changes in their process that involve low-cost, low-tech (poka-yoke)
solutions or other procedural changes.  These are uncovered by using the
Systems Approach to P2.  I have further found that P2 "experts" and vendors
prefer the technology route because of their prejudice to these approaches
(they also like chemical substitution with equal fervor).  These P2
"experts" and vendors believe the myth that "all the low hanging fruit has
been picked."  (The equivalent statement to "the check is in the mail.)
Companies that opt for the Systems Approach over the single "P2 Assessment"
are likely to discover the concept of continuous improvement so that more
P2 (perhaps even technology P2) will happen in time.  Most are able to see
that P2 is a good investment and are likely to seek loans or leases in the
traditional manner.  What I am resisting is "short circuiting" this process
by offering publicly-financed loans in the name of P2.  When the loan is
sought after on the advice of an "outsider," little is done to develop a
commitment to change within the firm.  "Technology will save you money" is
the watchword - when, in fact, it cost lots of HIDDEN money to put this in
(customer approvals, feasibility studies, process engineering, trials,
vendor qualifications, worker training, permit revisions, process
conversion down-time, etc. etc.).  Has Burt looked at the TOTAL COST
ANALYSIS of such a conversion and use that to adjust the payback period?  I
also believe that publicly-financed loan programs might be better utilized
in other economic development programs like start-up assistance and not in P2.

I did NOT say that the use of the Systems Approach and P2 loans with public
investment (my tax dollars) are MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.  I would love to know
how many public loans were made to companies that maintained a continuous
improvement-driven P2 PROGRAM with 8 to 12 P2 ACTION PLANS per year using
the Systems Approach or other systematic, internally-driven or facilitated
effort.  I would also love to know how may of these loans were made on the
basis of a walk-through site assessment by an outside "expert" or vendor
that specified the technology that the loan was destined to cover.
Although the Systems Approach and public-P2 loans are NOT mutually
exclusive, they may be in practice.  This is only a speculation on my part
based on 19 years of P2 experience.  I love to see the FACTS in this
matter.  I may want to visit some of the facilities to very these facts
since this falls into one of the areas that I am conducting research on at
Harvard University.

I also did NOT try to infer that loan programs only fund prescribed
investments.  Once again, I would love to see the FACTS from the loan
encouragement groups.  How many of the loans were for P2 equipment that was
recommended by a technical assistance provider on the basis of a
walk-through assessment?  How many of the loans were for P2 equipment that
was specified in an SEP in an enforcement action?  How many of the loans
came from targeting efforts of a technical assistance provider or vendor
pushing a particular P2 technology in a specific industry?  How many of the
loans were from a systematic P2 program that identified all the P2
opportunities, selected some oppportunities, did root cause analysis on
these opportunities, generated more than 20 P2 alternatives, prioritized
these alternatives, selected the P2 technology, and prepared an action plan
to implement the technology with TOTAL COST ANALYSIS of the myriad of
overhead items that would go into the implementation of the technology?

I am sure that Burt wants FACTS as well.  Ancedotal information will only
confuse the real discussion here.  These facts will also help Todd develop
his "systems approach" training courses.


Dr. Robert B. Pojasek
Adjunct Faculty Lecturer
Harvard School of Public Health
P.O. Box 1333
E. Arlington, MA 02474-0071
(781) 641-2422
(617) 788-0288  fax