How Do Business Processes Impact Waste Management?

22 Oct
Biotech Manufacturing


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Biotechnology Focus

When it comes to digging deeper into your waste management efforts, it’s important to step back from the waste itself and consider how waste fits into operations—and how it may impact your overall business. What’s coming in? What’s going out? And what risks does this present to the business?

In this Q&A with KTL Principal Lisa Langdon, we discuss how a comprehensive review of operations is the foundation to effectively managing waste.

What does a comprehensive review of operations look like?

Companies who want to proactively manage their waste need to first go through the process of understanding:

  1. What waste streams you have;
  2. Where your waste fits into your business processes; and
  3. What you need to do with your waste and operations to minimize risk, reduce costs, and ensure compliance.

The first step in understanding how waste fits into the business is to thoroughly review and map all business processes, keeping focus on the entire production process. This can start with a facility layout diagram, followed by more specific process and sub-process flow diagrams.

Most biotech operations will have their processes mapped in a fair amount of detail, but perhaps not smaller or startup operations. For example, existing diagrams might be found as part of the documents managed under a quality management systems (QMS) (e.g., ISO 9001) or as part of air permitting or other compliance documents.

As an outside consultant, Kestrel reviews and builds off whatever process flows have already been developed internally to ensure they are comprehensive. The review and process flows should reflect production-related activities, including raw materials receiving, raw material entry and processing in production, product finishing, packaging, and shipping. Capability, capacity, programs, and processes to comply are examined as part of this review.

How does this help a company understand and improve waste management?

Defining, understanding, and improving the material and waste flow within major processes, programs, and projects can be challenging. Through in-depth interviews, data analysis, application of disciplined process improvement methods, and facilitation, we are able to demonstrate how all areas interrelate and impact the way an organization functions—as well as the associated business risks.

Having this all mapped out helps companies improve the interconnected set of processes, sub-processes, activities, and tasks that allow the business to manage waste most effectively. With a comprehensive understanding of a process, program or project, it then becomes possible to make changes that reduce variation and remove activities that contribute no value to the end product or service.

What is the goal on a waste management project like this?

Ultimately, our goal is to help companies decide on priorities for change, and then implement efficient business processes to improve operations and waste management practices that our clients can manage on their own. We maintain our focus on increasing efficiency and reliability without sacrificing quality, capacity, safety, or environmental responsibility.

Kestrel’s forte lies in translating strategy into execution, using process as the critical link to help organizations realize measurable results. By providing an objective perspective, we assist company leaders in analyzing, documenting, operationalizing, and sustaining process, program, and project improvements over the long term.

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