How ESG became the center of a KAIZEN™ transformation at San Benedetto
For almost 10 years, Kaizen Institute Italy (KIIT) consulted San Benedetto, a beverage company based in Italy. With Carlo Ratto and Roberto Mannanici as project leaders, the results that San Benedetto achieved were strictly related to ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), although it wasn’t the top priority. Alessio Vignato, Senior KAIZEN™ Trainer of KIIT, said, “We did not start from the ESG perspective. It was a positive effect and now it’s the center of the project.” In this first article of a trilogy, Mr. Vignato shares how the San Benedetto project’s focus turned to ESG and the challenges of this journey.
How is the San Benedetto project linked to ESG?
We were in contact with them because we had a strong sponsorship from the owner and president of the San Benedetto holding. We worked with San Benedetto in the global transformation program for almost 10 years. The areas that we worked in gave us opportunities to work on ESG. In one case, it was to save an expensive and rare material on the market; a specific plastic used for both bottles and corks. Another was with energy targets within the 5S system. Involving people in the improvement road map saved energy, which was important for the company because this business is really energy consuming: water energy, power supply, electricity and so on. But the main goal was not to improve sustainability.
The ESG perspective was useful for involving everyone in improvement instead of only people in mechanical tools or standard 5S improvement. The aim of management was to involve people in taking care of the company and the environment. San Benedetto is in the beverage industry, so you can go there and see that something is always related to respecting nature. But we got there through normal saving projects, like costs, materials, and energy; we did not start from the ESG perspective. It was a positive effect and now it's the center of the project. Time has changed and the market and people are more conscious about ESG.
“The ESG perspective was useful for involving everyone in improvement instead of only people in mechanical tools or standard 5S improvement.”
When San Benedetto first asked about ESG specific tasks, how did you and your team prepare?
We prepared on our own. I remembered that there was a ‘Lean is Green’ project in Kaizen Institute India from an annual leadership meeting maybe five or six years ago. We saw what they did with the value stream and a lot of other tools. So, we showed the project to San Benedetto. The main point was that we could use the tools we already knew from a new perspective; use standard tools to achieve ESG improvement. Everything we learned was already a tool found within Kaizen Institute.
The value stream and the 5S are not only for energy, as an example. Our technical project was mainly directed by the koralage matrix. We had one component that was very costly and rare with many supplier concerns, and the project was to create a cost saving through reducing the material’s weight for each unit. So, the new bottle with the new stopper was a technical project for cost saving. The 5S project was more based on involvement and I saw it was related more to ESG from the first step.
What challenges did you face at the beginning of the ESG part of the project?
The first part of our ESG journey with San Benedetto was to create an agenda and adapt the tools, but it was pretty easy. The challenging part was to link all the ESG improvement to business. My major concern, and the management team’s concern, was to either take a path that was far from the business’ needs or a path that would conflict with business choices. So we needed to overlap the business’ choices with the ESG choices.
Interested in learning how the KAIZEN™ Spirit helped San Benedetto achieve results? Keep an eye out for the next blog post to be published on Tuesday, August 2nd!