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March 05, 2009

Environmental Management

At first, I am a bit confused about the term of Environmental Management. As the lecture notes on website says "In this section (means Environmental management section) the focus will be on the Resource aspect, related to how buildings, equipment and material are managed."However, the whole topic later on is talking about an organisation to be environmental friendly. So in my opinion, the "Environmental" term here, is talking about natural environment, there is also another meaning we can understand from that is the environment around the organisation, to manage the environment in organisation is like what says above, to manage the assets and make best use of them. So this aspect of meaning can go to Facilities Management category.

Talking about natural environmental issues for an organisation, it has both sides effects. If organisation is using it well, it can generate a chain of benefits, bringing financial gains, product innovation and operational efficiency. But in most of time, implying Environmental Management is a long term investment, because at first it need large amount of capital including finance and human recourse to be invested in for new technology, new process, new production line and new management system etc. however those investment cannot be paid back in short term. Therefore, most of organisations lose interests in the first place as they can't see payback for the investment shortly. In addition, organisational and technology factors are still undercover, waiting to be studied and proven, maybe large investment end up with no coming results. So uncertainty of success is also a problem.

Nevertheless, to be environmental friendly is more and more important nowadays. The energy prices such as oil and gas are keeping increasing, environmental management can help organisation innovate new products and new processes to be cost efficient, e.g. using green energy instead of costly cure oil. On the other hand, the organisation who doing well for environmental management can win consumers' preference, it will have good public image among people, hence easier to get support and market share from public than those organisations who are causing negative effect to the environment. For example, GE once has been caught dumping production waste directly into the river on newspaper, which to some degree has destroyed its public image, hence people would less likely to buy its products. That's the reason Jeff Immelt, the current CEO, keep emphasize on investing in R&D for green tech to enhance its brand image.

To imply the environmental management, only the technology is not enough, it also need a process and good management system, like ISO14001 is a special tool for managing environmental issues for organisation. It needs a policy outlining the commitment to improving its environment performance, follow on the plans and programs. The plans need to be integrated in to day to day bases, not only on paper and also need to take measurement on the implication. It needs the whole organisation's effort through top to bottom, therefore training to make mutual understanding is essential. 

January 22, 2009

Changing of Management for Implying of Six Sigma

In order to imply Six Sigma, and to improve the competitiveness of the organization, we have to deal with the resistance brought from Six Sigma changing. For example, the resistances such as fear of unknown, habit of doing things, economic factors from individuals, and such as group inertia, structural inertia, changing of relationship (hierarchy) from organization.

Leadership plays a key role of helping management of change within an organization, which needs more than simple charisma, exhortation and the ability to motivate. Some useful leadership skill for the changing is like, leader must be congruence with the doings and sayings, to demonstrate commitment to change in everything that he/she say and do. He/she must be flexible that will readily adapt to use of new tools, will support those around them with a variety of approaches. And also, to be a leader does not always mean making the decisions but is about when and how to ask for help. In most cases, it is beneficial for the process of changing that, people are involved and being given the opportunities to develop their own solutions and understanding about change. Leader should be supportive by facilitating the group processes and coaching individuals.

Of course, the change cannot be implied without people's involvement. People in the organization are the principal enablers of change, it is important to recognize that successful change is achieved through the changing behavior of individuals and groups within the organization. It is essential to control people's emotions, motivations and behaviors for change, possibly from every individual and use the right emotions and behaviors of some people to influence others, or to influence people by organizational vision and leader setting as a role model. By and large, to deal with the resistances, the key is involvement, that people are given a real opportunity to develop their own understanding of what it means to them.

Normally in an organization, improve performance in one part ultimately has a negative effect on another part of business. For example sales team's performance improvement often conflicts against benefit of production department, purchasing department changes the nature of supply without considering the goods-inwards, and planning department improve its planning goals without considering needs of the users. So, Six Sigma is able to consider an entire process of business, lead the organization away from sub-optimization, towards looking at the whole picture and will bring a focus on the needs of the customers.

To have the process changing, choosing the right tool(s) to imply the change in the organization is crucial for a successful change. Firstly, before choosing tools, it is important to have a careful examination of the nature of situation. Using analysis tools such as Process Mapping, Culture Mapping, Allocating Cost or Benchmarking etc. to have answers to "what are the objectives" and "What are the obstacles". Once we have done this we can choose correct tools for implementation of changing.

Effective communication process is needed for overcome the resistance of change by spreading understanding and meaning. Organization must build relationships based on trust and fluent communication process to have mutual understanding about the changing. Use communication skills to effectively pass the message to people and make them accept.

In turns of the most suitable organisational structure for the changing approaches and actions it is better to havefluent communication process, flat structure with less hierarchy, and for innovative culture, which related to lessons of OPP. 

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