Eliminating Waste through Compliance

Ensuring that all applicable regulations are adhered to is a great way to eliminate the introduction of waste that can cost the company a bundle. Regulatory noncompliance can be costly and can take enormous time to address when an out of compliance situation exists and is discovered by the regulator or an auditor. Utilizing the concept of Lean to bolster regulatory compliance is a concept that is not often considered by the management team.

The tools of Lean are yet another powerful way to address any potential regulatory issues that must be addressed at various stages of a project. For example, if a new technology is being deployed within a company to assist with production that has an impact on the air and waste streams, an air permit or a waste permit may be required based on state, local, or federal regulations. At the point of discovery, the necessary permit applications can be flushed out and submitted to avoid delay in project or process implementation avoiding unnecessary or cost associated with delays. On the other hand, if a permit is required to operate a process and if the permit is not obtained before project startup, potential actions can be imposed by the regulatory agency, which can result in potential costs such as fines, increased regulatory visits, or loss of employee and stakeholders' trust. The use of value stream mapping is an effective tool when used with other Lean tools to identify these issues early on. Value stream mapping is just one example of using Lean tools to improve implementation of compliance-based programs. There are many other tools that can be used to enhance the compliance posture of a company.

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