ANALYSIS: Using Quality Assurance Strategies to Drive Sustainable Manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing (Lean).  Six Sigma.  Total Quality Management (TQM).  These are philosophies that many of you Walmart suppliers may already employ in your business operations.  That’s great!  Finding effective approaches to ensure product and performance quality and consistency is one of the reasons you’re a successful company today.  But now that Walmart has implemented its sustainability scorecard and Carbon Disclosure Project requirements, it might be time to take a fresh look at how these tried-and-true management practices can be used in an effort to become green. 

SSC’s Aaron Wilson has done just that.  In his yet-to-be published white paper, Sustainable Manufacturing, Aaron drills down to the core structure of successful sustainable manufacturing, and assesses the pros and cons of these three commonly-used approaches with regards to their ability to address sustainability issues.  

None of the three strategies were specifically designed with sustainability in mind.  In fact, if you’re not careful, strict adherence to Lean, Six Sigma, and TQM can actually be detrimental to sustainability.  This is why Aaron’s paper is an important read – it provides guidance to use these strategies to reduce material, energy, and water use while generating less solid waste as well.  All while reaping the benefits of Lean, Six Sigma, and TQM – improved product quality that meets consumer demands and strategic sustainability.  

By the way…keep an eye out for Aaron’s paper in the coming months.  Until then, why don’t you fill your noggin with info about another important manufacturing issue – Life Cycle Assessments.  Or impress your stakeholders by learning how to develop an eco-purchasing program!