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Lean and Green: Rucker Applies Lean Practices to Electric Bill

RALEIGH, NC -- (Marketwire) -- 12/14/10 -- Getting lean can often mean going green. As energy costs continue to rise, company decision makers are searching for ways to make their organizations much more efficient. Rucker & Associates President, David Rucker, said Lean Six Sigma strategies usually applied to quality and productivity processes in manufacturing organizations can also be used when considering the electric or nitrogen bill.

"Utility costs can have a significant financial impact on a company's bottom line," said Rucker. "For example, a single compressed air leak can cost $12,000 a year -- and many companies find up to 50 percent of their compressed air lost through leaks."

"One of our clients, Performance Fibers, saved more than $200,000 just by stopping steam leaks," said Rucker, who has been teaching Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma efficiency solutions to companies for more than 30 years. "More often these days, we're showing companies that not all Lean solutions involve high technology."

In an article entitled, "Energy Efficiency How-Tos," Rucker observed that motors account for 60 percent of industrial electric use. Industry managers are starting to realize that revamping motor and starter maintenance procedures can yield up to 20 percent in energy savings.

The information, which recently appeared in APICS Magazine, is more applicable as time passes and costs rise, he said, and more managers are paying attention. According to a survey of 250 senior executives, 68 percent said they were focusing on socially responsible approaches to saving money.

"You don't have to go out and spend millions of dollars on new technology to reduce your energy costs," he said. "There is some low-hanging fruit to help your business become leaner as energy costs rise."

About Rucker & Associates
Rucker & Associates is a high-performance consultancy dedicated to helping companies discover dramatic new efficiencies using Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma improvement methodologies. Rucker's hands-on mentoring process with clients produces dramatic results -- training teams to accelerate change and implement continuous improvement. Every Rucker project features an unconditional guarantee.

The Association for Operations Management publishes APICS Magazine (Advancing Productivity, Innovation, and Competitive Success) on a bi-monthly basis. The award-winning publication features innovative ideas and real-world strategies for: inventory, materials, production, supply chain management, planning and scheduling, purchasing, logistics, warehousing, and e-business solutions.

Scott Misner
(919) 235-0940

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