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Quality Digest

Six Sigma

Green Sigma

Published: Monday, September 15, 2008 - 08:31

(IBM: Armonk, NY) -- The constraints and costs of energy and water usage are rising at an accelerating rate, with a significant effect on business operations and financial performance. In addition, companies are coming under increasing pressure from governments, advocacy groups, investors, prospective employees, and consumers to make their operations, products, and services more socially responsible, particularly regarding the environment.

Green Sigma, developed by IBM, uses the lean Six Sigma principles wherever energy and water are used throughout a client’s operations. Based on lean Six Sigma, a business strategy for carefully analyzing operations to improve overall efficiency, lower costs, increase quality, and add, change or eliminate activities and processes to improve overall performance, Green Sigma consists of a five-phase approach to a client’s operations and environmental practices:

  • Establish key performance indicators defined and tailored to the client’s operational environment, industry, and business. Activities include building key process indicator sets for carbon and water, including regulatory and stakeholder requirements
  • Identify areas where activities and practices should be measured. This can include developing a facilities management plan and determining where to use sensors to collect information for analysis.
  • Use a carbon and water management dashboard system to monitor key performance indicators and analyze performance data. This can be linked to other systems to help initiate processes such as carbon trading.
  • Apply Green Sigma statistical tools and techniques to analyze and improve processes to reduce energy usage, carbon emissions, and water inefficiencies
  • Create ongoing optimization of processes and key performance indicators through the carbon and water management dashboard, and identifying new areas where improvements can be made

“There’s a fundamental truth to understanding and improving any aspect of a company’s performance—if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” says Dave Lubowe, global leader of IBM’s operations strategy consulting practice. “This applies as much to a company’s energy and water consumption as it does to anything else, and our new offering can help clients apply this principle to make their businesses greener.”

For more information, visit www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/24945.wss.

To view the study, visit www.ibm.com/gbs/csrstudy.


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For 38 years Quality Digest has been the go-to source for all things quality. Our newsletter, Quality Digest, shares expert commentary and relevant industry resources to assist our readers in their quest for continuous improvement. Our website includes every column and article from the newsletter since May 2009 as well as back issues of Quality Digest magazine to August 1995. We are committed to promoting a view wherein quality is not a niche, but an integral part of every phase of manufacturing and services.