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Lean & Water Toolkit: Chapter 6


Your Lean and Water Journey

We hope that this toolkit has provided you with practical ideas to leverage Lean methods to identify and eliminate water waste at your facility. Learning to see water waste and to identify improvement opportunities using Lean tools will help you to save money and be a better partner to your community by placing less of a burden on local water supply. There are many tools and techniques to get started with using Lean to reduce water waste. As described in more detail in Chapter 1, here are three ways to get started with Lean and water efforts.

  • Learn more about how your facility uses water. Connect with environment and facilities personnel to discuss opportunities to reduce water waste with Lean. Find water waste in your facility using tools like metering and water balances.
  • Engage employees in lean and water improvement efforts. Involve employees in teams to brainstorm ways to reduce water use, encouraging their ideas to innovate improvement opportunities. Try out some of the strategies for eliminating water waste that are described in this toolkit.
  • Connect Lean and water efforts to sustainable water management strategies. Use Lean tools to support a broader corporate water sustainability strategy. Identify what the “True North” goals and targets are for water use at your facility and track progress to inspire improvement and creative solutions. Look beyond direct operations to engage your customers, suppliers, and communities.

Many of the techniques in this toolkit can help you reduce water waste and identify savings rapidly; however, it is important to think about the bigger picture of how water is used across your organization. Figure 2, repeated below from Chapter 1, illustrates how the tools and techniques described in this toolkit can help you to address water use throughout your value chain.

Figure 2: Lean and Water Implementation Strategies

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Concluding Thoughts

We hope this toolkit spurs creative thinking and energy within your organization and encourages you to explore these opportunities. We aim to periodically release new versions of resources in EPA’s Lean and Environment Toolkit series while working with partner companies and organizations to explore ways to improve efficiency using Lean. We also hope to learn from your experiences using this toolkit. Our goal is to refine the techniques presented, provide examples and case studies to illustrate the possible benefits of these tools, and present new techniques as they emerge. We wish you success on your Lean and water journey.

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Your Thoughts on the Toolkit
Now that you have finished this toolkit, reflect on what you read by answering these questions:
  • What strategies and tools in the toolkit seemed particularly interesting? Which ones were most applicable to your facility?
  • What steps will you take next to advance Lean and water efforts at your facility?
  • What other information and tools would help your organization to achieve your Lean and water goals?

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Toolkit Navigation

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