chapter  12
29 Pages

Sustainability principle #3: Optimize systems

ByTim Lindsey

Since industrialization began, organizations have focused on consolidating and optimizing various aspects of their enterprises, including access to raw materials, product designs, production processes, distribution to customers, and customer value. Man-made systems are not perfect. As described by Deming, man-made systems are comprised of interactions between materials, energy, people, machines, methods, surroundings, and the way they are managed. Managers and engineers tend to focus primarily on how to design, operate, and improve the specific components of systems for which they are responsible. Today's industrial systems tend to be complex and technical, and the various aspects regularly interact in ways that are dysfunctional. Dysfunction is frequently created during the design stage where the vast majority of a product's life-cycle impacts are established. System optimization requires thinking beyond products and the processes used to make them, to consider end-to-end solutions and actual customer needs.