Lean and Green

Lean focuses on eliminating non-value-added activities from manufacturing and/or administrative processes while streamlining value-added activities. It’s a people-oriented approach that empowers teams to achieve improvements.

Lean concepts emphasize waste elimination while delivering quality products at low cost, and it revolves around customer needs and expectations.

There are three objectives in a lean environment:

  • Reducing inventories
  • Increasing manufacturing flexibility and flow
  • Improving quality by eliminating defects

Lean methods create a continual improvement-based, waste elimination culture that involves workers at all levels. There are a variety of lean methods, including Kaizen rapid improvement events, 5S, value-stream mapping, cellular production and Six Sigma.

What is Green?

There are many concepts and opinions as to what exactly constitutes "Green".

You may think of it in terms of the "3 Rs"- recycle, reuse, or reduce.

How can we "3R"our waste streams - liquid, solid, or gas?

Or, how can we 3R our oil, energy, and raw material (including packaging) that we use?

How are Lean and Green Related?

There are several opportunities for enhancing environmental performance through lean initiatives.

Some ideas:

  • Lean typically results in less material use, less scrap, reduced water and energy use, and decreased number and amount of chemicals used.
  • Lean provides an excellent platform for broadening the definition of "waste" to include environmental risk.
  • Regulatory issues may be encountered when applying lean to environmentally sensitive processes. This may result in a great opportunity through kaizen events or longer term Six Sigma projects to make improvements.

Green and ISO

The ISO 14001:2000 approach requires the organization to take a look at all areas where its activities have an environmental impact, and to commit to continual improvement.

Improving environmental performance encourages companies to cut costs through better management of energy, water, waste and resources, and because the standard requires continuous improvement, the company continues to make savings.

This may also provide increased opportunities for current and new business.

It's Not Easy Being Green!

May not be easy, but certainly worth it. We have a trained and experienced staff that can help you implement Lean and Green. Contact us at tapmep@purdue.edu for details.

Meanwhile, good luck on your Lean and Green journey!