Menlo's CarbonNet program combines Lean with Green
Cloud-based software developed by Menlo Worldwide Logistics promises to raise the carbon management bar.
Menlo Worldwide Logistics said it has unveiled a program that will help companies do a better job of tracking their carbon footprint by integrating data collection, analysis, and process management with Lean principles. The company has also developed proprietary cloud-based software that facilitates those transactions.
San Mateo, Calif.-based Menlo, a unit of logistics giant Con-way Inc., said its program, called CarbonNet, is being piloted at 60 company facilities. Menlo expects to roll it out externally in 2013.
Menlo said the program raises the carbon management bar by combining data mining with Lean techniques employed to eliminate waste and improve efficiency. Many companies already collect and report data about the carbon emissions generated by warehousing, transportation, and manufacturing activities. Some have begun using the data in actionable ways reduce their carbon emissions. But the company said it has blended data collection, Lean processes, and cloud computing to help companies get a handle on their emissions and to put programs in place to reduce them over the long haul.
The cloud-based software program accepts a wide variety of data inputs to catalog emissions at facilities and in the movement of products and materials between locations, or what Anthony Oliverio, Menlo's vice president-supply chain services, calls the "nodes and flows."
Oliverio sees that capability as a key feature that distinguishes CarbonNet from competitors. "I have not seen others in industry connect and analyze across nodes and flows," he said in an interview.
The software also accepts input from suppliers, vendors, and other third parties. To ensure accuracy and consistency, the software and reporting protocols include standard operating procedures for participants, requirements for completeness, and checks and balances, said Ashton K. Shaw, a sustainability engineer and the company's senior lean coordinator.
Menlo has assigned a team of Lean and process management experts to the CarbonNet program, and classic Lean methods permeate each of the program's five phases, which are as follows:
- "Discover," which includes such activities as value-stream mapping, "Voice of the Customer" analysis of objectives, and determining project scope, risks, and timeline.
- "Define," which includes organizational/facility profiling, data collection and validation, and developing emission source data and baseline, among other steps.
- "Design," which includes such activities as determining the return on investment (ROI), solution design and approval, and developing training and education plans.
- "Implement," which covers testing and implementation of information technology, conducting training and education, deploying metrics to identify waste in the "current state," developing a "future state" plan to guide continuous improvement, and taking corrective and preventive actions.
- "Monitor," which measures and tracks results and performance, and conducts kaizen (continuous improvement) events.
Menlo said the company's results are already available to its warehousing and transportation customers, who can use the validated data to support their existing sustainability programs.More articles by DC Velocity Staff
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