BRIEF DESCRIPTION / BACKGROUND
The APO, in collaboration with the JPC, the NPO of Japan, had organized the Training Course on Management Consultancy for Green Productivity (GP) as one of its core training courses for SMEs. GP is a strategy for enhancing productivity and environmental performance for overall socioeconomic development. It involves the application of appropriate productivity and environmental management tools, techniques, and technologies to reduce the environmental impact of an organization’s activities, goods, and services. The APO has been in the forefront in promoting this strategy in member countries for more than a decade.
The emphasis of the training course is focused on the framework of management consultancy and GP applications, particularly how to utilize raw materials and other resources effectively and to minimize wastes from the process. It also aimed to enhance the competency of consultants of NPOs or similar institutions in the area of management consultancy by focusing on GP applications. At the end of the training course, participants were expected to have acquired the:
1. Knowledge and skills necessary to help them GP in their consultancy process;
2. Ability to identify operational deficiencies and prioritize opportunities for improvement to help client formulate improvement plans; and
3. Ability to develop and implement practical, cost-effective solutions to enhance profitability and ultimately sustainable growth.
The participants were required to prepare a consultancy plan for their client/company with the focus on efficient, effective resource management. They gathered baseline information including the vision and mission, objectives, performance indicators, areas for productivity improvement, and environmental impact issues. Participants presented their plans in the first week of the course. The plans were refined and improved by integrating GP applications during the course. The finalized plans were presented at the end of the course.
OBJECTIVES FOR PARTICIPATION
Green Productivity (GP), as defined by literature, is a strategy for enhancing a business’ productivity and environmental performance for overall socio-economic development. It is the application of appropriate techniques, technologies, and management systems to produce environmentally compatible goods and services.
GP is very much aligned with the current thrust of the Center for Sustainable Human Development (CSHD) as the DAP’s technical resource center on sustainable development to promote effective, efficient and innovative solutions on environmental management and community development, including energy efficiency, climate change resiliency and health equity.
The training was timely and relevant for Ms. Tejol as one of the senior technical staff of CHSD who is involved in the Center’s projects as technical resource and consultant to small scale enterprises. First, the GP training updated and enhanced her knowledge and skills on green productivity that would enable her to effectively conceptualize and implement future programs and projects that are GP-focused. At the same time, the training was also an opportunity to hone her professional skills and be able to support the Center’s milestones and programs more effectively and efficiently. Lastly, the training also serves as an opportunity to establish her network with other GP practitioners in the region, which could lead to future collaboration and partnerships.
A total of 18 participants attended the training course. Participants were from 15 countries, namely: Cambodia (1); Taiwan (1); Fiji (1); India (1); Indonesia (1); South Korea (1); Lao PDR (1); Malaysia (1); Mongolia (1); Nepal (1); Pakistan (2); Philippines (1); Sri Lanka (1); Thailand (2); and Vietnam (1).
In terms of organizational affiliation, fifteen (83%) of the participants work for the National Productivity Organizations (NPOs) while the lone participant of South Korea works for a government entity (assessing carbon emissions). Two participants (Thailand and Cambodia) are from the private sector (manufacturing) and civil society organization (on ecolabeling). The trainees have also a good mix of professional background in government and private sectors as SME management and production consultants, green productivity trainers, environmental engineers and teachers, managers, project officers, research officers, etc.
There is only one trainee from the Philippines and she is a senior technical staff (Project Officer 1) of the Development Academy of the Philippines’ Center for Sustainable Human Development. It is one of the centers of the DAP that is engaged to provide management consultancy services on environmental management solutions and technologies.
SCOPE, CONTENT AND METHODOLOGY
The management consultancy training on Green Productivity was comprehensive in design. It covered several modules such as follows:
1. Overall framework of management consultancy;
2. Concept of GP and its implementation;
3. Consulting skills in business management, production management, and quality management;
4. Application of material flow cost accounting to minimize resources and wastes in the processes;
5. Observation site visits to learn best practices in GP-related applications; and
6. Individual action plans for management consultancy with focus on GP.
Trainees also had the opportunity to observe good GP practices in four (4) production sites in Osaka, and highlights of the visits are discussed below.
a. Yamada Manufacturing. This is a small enterprise manufacturing business engaged in the production of industrial machine parts, design and production of labor-saving machinery. This company has exemplary 3S practices. With properly labeled machines, equipment and tools, work for employees is fast and efficient. Work overload is also avoided with the help of their “monitoring board”, which they use to track their personnel workload vis-à-vis their target production schedule. Sorting also helps the company re-use and recycle their wastes. For their successful 3S in the workplace, pride and honor is given back to their company as they become one of the model sites for green productivity educational trips in Japan.
b. Saraya Company (Iga Plant). Saraya is a medium-sized business producing health and hygiene products and services. This company exemplifies an eco-friendly supply chain. The company only patronizes those suppliers that produce raw materials using ecofriendly practices.
c. Toyo Seikan Kaisha (Ibaraki Plant). Another medium-sized business engaged in packaging container (steel) production for domestic and foreign consumption. This company’s innovation on GP rests on the reduction of steel as raw material by means of weight saving. Clean and safety procedures/measures are also observed in the workplace.
d. Panasonic Center (Osaka). Eco-friendly lifestyle and home electronic products are showcased for domestic use by Panasonic Center. They produce aesthetically-and-structurally-made energy-efficient but very expensive household products. These ecofriendly products are Panasonic’s response to environment conservation. Such technology and environment innovation may work in Japan but may not be feasible in developing countries in Asia like the Philippines.
The Philippine paper discussed a cottage-industry business engaged in the production of handicrafts such as designer bags and shoes made out of water lily. These handicrafts are sold out locally and abroad and have several competitors in the industry. The business is a solution to the massive growth of water lilies in water tributaries of Laguna Lake. Production is scattered in several households in different communities. The business is encountering problems on waste reduction, quality management and business management and viability. Consulting intervention included initial assessment/diagnosis in terms of business management, quality management and productivity improvement.
After the training, the trainee will revise the MFCA assessment of the business by obtaining more data from management, come up with a recommendation package for business management (including marketing) and productivity improvement plan.
OUTCOMES AND EVALUATION
The grantee was able to benefit from participating in the GP training in terms of increasing her knowledge, updating her business management skills, and expanding her networking throughout the region given the comprehensive lectures and rich discussions among GP experts and practitioners.
a) Knowledge – With the training, the grantee has received a first formal training on green productivity and has updated her knowledge in consulting business, especially in areas of business management and productivity management. The MFCA principles and tools, 5S, 7 Wastes are important concepts that she can use in conceptualization, implementation, and evaluation of solutions (or projects) on environment conservation and productivity improvement.
b) Skills – The training was an opportunity for the grantee to expand and update her management consulting skills on green productivity, business management and productivity management. Consultancy management frameworks (Japan Productivity Center) and tools such as the MFCA are additional productivity management techniques that can help the grantee hone her skills in management consulting for SMEs and LGUs.
c) Network – With 15 countries represented in the training, the grantee was able to expand her network on management consulting for green productivity, quality management and productivity improvement. Aside from the network, sharing of experiences among the 15 countries was also a great opportunity to intensify and strengthen the GP movement in the region.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTION STEPS
The Green Productivity Movement has been there for several decades. Japan made a breakthrough in promoting GP to a significant number of their small and medium-sized enterprises but other APO member countries are lagging behind. This challenge was posed to all training participants from 15 countries.
Participants acknowledged the need to strengthen the advocacy for GP, especially for countries in the region where government support is lacking. One strategy that could be effective was the conceptualization and development of GP certification system by the Asian Productivity Organization (being the prime mover of GP). Both public and private sectors must view GP as a very helpful approach in improving productivity, quality and environmental sustainability. The MFCA, which is a tool that diagnoses production wastes, is believed to be the heart of GP should be cascaded to SMEs. This can be the entry point for GP, especially among businesses whose main concern is profitability.
MS. MELONIE TEJOL
Center for Sustainable Human Development
Development Academy of the Philippines