9.17.2015

Painting the Factory Green with Lean Thinking

Last month, a book titled The Green Factory: Creating Lean and Sustainable Manufacturing authored by Andrea Pampanelli, Neil Trivedi, and Pauline Found was published. This book proposes a new model, the Lean and Green Business Model (L&GBM), where the environmental aspect of sustainability is integrated with Lean thinking to create a way of thinking that contributes to and balances the three sustainability dimensions of people, profit, and planet. 

I spoke with Andrea Pampanelli about the book and asked her: "How does combining your Lean business model with a green initiative actually result in environmental benefits and higher profits?" Here is his answer: 

We know that walls, or organizational structure, cannot stop the flow of ideas but it does not mean that they are able to flow through quickly and easily. Lean and green thinking are rooted in differently, have different meanings, and occupy different spaces inside the business world. The environmental benefits and cost savings discussed in the book come from the integration of both by taking the powerful Lean culture already implemented in one organization and using it, not merely for eliminating the seven classic wastes (transportation, inventory, motion, waiting, over-processing, over-production, and defects) but in this case, for increasing the performance of the manufacturing mass and energy flows -- the important supporting flows for production. These two different ways of thinking will meet during the crucial Kaizen events and Lean thinking will dramatically increase environmental benefits and profits. 

What are your thoughts in regarding to combining Lean and green initiatives? Do you have experience
deploying Lean and Green in a manner that resulted in environmental and cost benefits?

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