The importance of the whole of the Plan Do Check Act cycle in achieving desired results was illustrated to me the other day while learning to paddleboard.
One of our group knelt on the board as we had been shown, adjusted their position so that their feet would be in the right place when they stood up (plan), and stood up slowly (do). This allowed them to make adjustments as the board wobbled (check & act), and very soon they were happily paddling along.
Another started off by kneeling in the same way. They then leapt onto the board (do), sending it flying – and them splashing into the water at great speed. Once the board was retrieved, this process was repeated a number of times (do), with marginal improvements. That person didn’t enjoy the experience and quickly gave up.
It was a classic example of ‘doing’ before ‘planning’, not learning from the experience and repeating the same mistake.
If you have had any unsuccessful environmental initiatives, is it possible that, with improved planning, there could have been an improved result? That identifying ‘wobbles’ early on might have allowed you to make an adjustment and nudged the project to success?
Recent research has indicated that 85% of all human-made materials found on our beaches are microplastic fibres. These are tiny fibres released from fabrics when they are washed. A domestic washing machine load of poly-cotton will release 137,000 fibres every wash. This figure increases to almost half a million for polyester and almost 3/4 million for acrylic.
Small animals such as shrimp, crab, fish and birds have been found with microplastic fibres in their stomachs, and we know that it’s getting into our food chain.
What can your business do to address this issue? Actions could include changing the fabric you use and/or using filters to capture some of the fibres before they reach our waterways.
Contact Julia on 07904 389889 to explore the options together.
Conversation with our Swedish friends recently turned to the Vasa, a Swedish naval ship that sank 1300m into its maiden voyage in the 17th century. A report after the event indicates that there are a number of valuable learning points.
One of these is surely the importance of an effective verification and validation process. Yes, the shipyard had built a ship (verification), but its seaworthiness had not been effectively validated. In fact, there is a suggestion that the validation process identified that the ship was rather top-heavy, but they decided to launch it anyway because no-one wanted to admit that there were any issues. They were, after all, building it for the king.
And this is where quality issues overlap with safety and environmental issues – this fateful decision led to multiple deaths and, of course, a significant waste of resources.
It has also led to one of Sweden’s most popular tourist destinations, with the ship, whose hull was found to be more or less in tact, re-built and on show in the Vasa Museum in Stockholm.
Petrol/electric hybrid cars have been around for a while, providing a fuel-efficency gain over standard petrol cars. I have noticed recently that similar hybrid technology has now been developed for other vehicles, plant and equipment.
I’ve seen hybrid generators available to hire and buy. Using these instead of standard generators will reduce the amount of diesel you need to have delivered to site, therefore reducing risk of spill, as well as the obvious improvements in energy efficiency, carbon footprint and other air pollution.
Hybrid technology is even being used on vehicles as large as car ferries.
What equipment will your company be buying or hiring in the next few months? You might benefit from some easy environmental, operational and financial wins by looking for and assessing hybrid options.
We recently visited an eco-development in Malmo, Sweden, about 10 years after it was built. Some really good features were evident, but so too were some issues that have arisen during this period. This highlighted to me the importance of the ‘check’ part of the ‘plan do check act’ cycle, so that things can either be improved or at least learned from.
Have you reviewed any of your environmental initiatives over the last few years for long-term success? What did you learn? Please share your thoughts with us.