"Lean" and "Green" are corporate values that must be earned- through strategic vision, consistent target tracking and motivated employees. Six companies achieve these goals particularly well. At least this is the result of the "Lean & Green Management" Study which was carried out for the third time this year by Growtth© Consulting & Quadriga Consult, headquartered in Starnberg near Munich, Germany. 39 European companies participated in the study. The top performers will receive the "Lean & Green Management Award 2014".
The awards are given in the following six categories:
- Automotive OEM/Group: BMW Plant Leipzig
- Automotive SME: Bühler Motor, Monheim
- Manufacturing Industry OEM/Group: AT&S Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik, Leoben
- Manufacturing Industry SME: Rational, Landsberg
- Special Prize Green: elobau, Leutkirch
- Special Prize Lean: Fiat Pomigliano d'Arco
Plant Analysis of all processes along the value chain
The focus of this year's benchmark study was the integration of resource efficiency in management and production systems, "the holistic view of all business processes along the value chain", says Hofer and emphasizes: "A true leadership task". The strategies and approaches of all successful companies vary but they all unite "the ability to sensitize, inspire and empower employees on all levels for the subject" explains Hofer. Management commitment is crucial and "green" has to be lived from top to bottom. Hofer also acknowledges all award winners to have "a very open and constructive problem-solving culture across all levels but also among departments."
Individual evaluation for all participants
At first, the participants submitted a self-assessment and their most successful approaches in a detailed questionnaire. In the evaluation phase, the Lean & Green experts evaluated over 20 sites of best-performers and gave a first individual feedback. In the end, an independent jury consisting of environmental experts, consultants and specialized journalists determined the winners. All participants received an individual analysis and benchmark of their individual results.
Lean & green pays off
"Resource efficiency is already today an important competitive factor, whose importance will further increase in the future - e.g. as an additional sales argument or to increase the attractiveness of the company as an employer," explains Marcel Hofer, Director Lean & Green at Growtth© Consulting since 2011 and responsible for the Lean & Green Management Award. Lean & Green combines economic and resource efficiency in one model: Lean principles are transferred to resource management. Marcel Hofer refers to the large cost potential that can be lifted by consistently following a Lean & Green strategy: "For example: on average, the participants were able to reduce their annual energy consumption by 3.5 %. The best performers even achieved two-digit values", says Hofer. The goal is "to constantly avoid waste and the consumption of energy, environmental resources as well as material." Lean Production already follows this target: optimization of productivity and reduction of cycle time by minimizing waste and increase product quality through lean, stable and yet flexible manufacturing processes.
Short introduction of the winners
BMW Leipzig, Germany
BMW in the East-German town "Leipzig" has approximately 4,000 employees involved in the manufacturing of the 1, 2, and X1 series, as well as the i3 electric and the i8 hybrid sports car. The jury was especially thrilled by "the enthusiasm and commitment on all levels to push innovative strategies as well as the exceptionally high and credible management commitment regarding the Green philosophy. The Leipzig plant has implemented "Improvement-Kata" as a new form of leadership culture which focuses on coaching and problem-solving skills. Furthermore, a resource efficient production has already been respected throughout the development phase of "project i", the production of the electric i3 and i8 vehicles. The result is an entirely new kind of automotive manufacturing. The holistic concept includes four wind turbines on the plant premises which generate 26GWh of electricity every year - more than required for the E-car-production.
Bühler Motor GmbH, Monheim, Germany
Bühler Motor GmbH feels at home in any instance where it is necessary to move or position something in a restricted space, where fluids need to circulate or pressures needs to be regulated. About 800 employees produce mechatronic drive solutions such as DC motors, geared motors and pumps in Monheim, Germany. "Resource efficiency is considered a business for the future and plays major role in the plants strategy", found the Lean & Green experts after their evaluation. They respected above all the flat hierarchies and fast decision-making processes, the auditing systems that combine lean as well as green issues and the extraordinary logistical proficiency in combination with the continuous use of the value stream methodology and the pull-principle.
AT & S Austria Technology & Systemtechnik AG, Austria
AT & S is Europe's largest PCB producer in the area of mobile devices (such as smart phones, tablets, digital cameras), automotive, aviation, industrial electronics (including measuring and control technology) and in the health care sector (including diagnosis, treatments and patient monitoring). The AT & S group employs 7,300 employees worldwide, 1,200 of them in Austria. The Lean & Green jury highlighted particularly the data transparency and the culture of open communication within the company. AT & S is committed to a green strategy and sustainability is a major goal for all employees. Also the suppliers are incorporated into the improvement processes resulting in a "fertile ground" in which further green competencies can grow.
Rational AG, Landsberg, Germany
Rational produces wholesale and industrial kitchen equipment for thermal cooking and food preparation. The company, founded in 1973, has around 1,350 employees and 19 international sales subsidiaries around the world. The Lean & Green Auditing team attested Rational "impressive numbers for major green indicators such as the use of energy, water, waste and sanitation for which the company has developed its own methods. A very consistent customer orientation in connection with the culture of entrepreneurial employees is another success factor of Rational. Ergonomics in the workplace play a major role and a production which is environmentally friendly is fixed in the production guidelines.
elobau, Leutkirch, Germany
The owner-managed company elobau in Germany has 650 employees and was founded in 1972. The company has gathered a reputation as a specialist for non-contact sensor technology (e.g. for switches, buttons, controls) and customized solutions. Over 10,000 product variants are manufactured annually. elobau received the highest green score of all participants. The company uses renewable sources of energy such as solar energy and geothermal energy. A bio gas heating system produces green electricity for production and offices to 100%. As part of the initiative "elobau goes green", resource efficiency is "driven by entrepreneurial responsibility and even customer education". The jury praised elobau's success in achieving actual CO2 neutrality.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Pomigliano d'Arco, Italy
Fiat operates six plants in Italy with a total 24,000 employees. One of them is located in Pomigliano d' Arco, a small town in the Northeast of Naples where the Fiat Panda is manufactured. The Lean & Green experts were surprised on their visit to the plant: "Lean at its best! The plant achieves maximum output with minimal input". In Pomigliano the high level of cost awareness and involvement of the entire workforce go hand in hand. "The workers council also actively supports these approaches", highlights the jury and awards the Special Lean Prize to the former Alfa Romeo plant. Additionally, green aspects are consistently integrated into the production system.