Sunday, September 7, 2014
Lockheed Martin- Going Lean and Green
Lockheed Martin, a global security and aerospace company has been incorporating lean production techniques corporate-wide since the late 1990s. In 2004 , they introduced ‘LM21 Operating Excellence’ initiative as a guideline for implementing Lean and Sig Sigma tools throughout the their business units and facilities. Lean Six Sigma is a managerial concept integrating lean manufacturing/ lean enterprise and Six Sigma that results in the elimination of 8 kinds of waste: defects, overproduction, waiting, non-utilized talent, transportation, inventory, motion and extra-processing (abbreviated as DOWNTIME) . The Chemical, Environmental, Safety and Health (CESH) department in Lockheed Martin’s Manassas plant in Virginia introduced LeanSigma tools to essentially improve the waste management activities. The main purpose of this implementation was to bring down the costs , the space and staffing required to support chemical and waste management activities at the plant.
Prior to the implementation of the lean event, the management at the facility focused around a chemical storage warehouse (64,000 square feet) containing a large buffer inventory of chemicals to ensure 100 percent availability. Chemicals were stored in the warehouse until withdrawn by operations. Lockheed Martin authorities found that a significant portion of warehoused chemicals were going directly to the hazardous waste stream without ever being used, when they expired on-shelf or when they were no longer required for research or production. Prior to the lean event, hazardous waste management activities at the plant were governed by a RCRA Part B permit. (RCRA stands for Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and permits are issued for treatment, storage and disposal of any hazardous waste).
The goal of the lean event was to move towards a just-in-time chemical management system , where chemicals are delivered three times each week in "right-sized" containers to meet real-time demand (influenced by prior week consumption rates). The intent was to reduce the chemical inventories drastically with the exception of select specialty chemicals, as they require longer lead times for acquisition and delivery. The chemical warehouse was replaced with point-of-use storage (POUS) cabinets and right-sized containers of chemical supplies. Lockheed Martin has contracted with 5-6 suppliers (multi-year agreements) to deliver the chemicals to the facility's chemical handling dock. CESH staff then transport the chemicals from there to the POUS cabinets. The Chemical Challenge Program was introduced to minimize chemical usage and the risks involved with it at the product and process design stage.
The LM21 initiative also reduced the total waste management system cost by eliminating on-site treatment and need for the RCRA permit resulting in shifting to regular hazardous waste pick-up by a waste management vendor. Also, significant energy savings were attributed to the reduction in warehouse space required for chemical storage. This LM21 process was responsible for more than $5 billion in net savings across the corporation due to streamlined operations, reduced overhead, better quality and improved productivity. Thus we can see that lean manufacturing could lead to ‘green’ results, as the processes are designed to eliminate or minimize the waste.