Lean and green manufacturing

We have discussed the relationship between lean manufacturing and green initiatives earlier in this blog. For the past few weeks there were some news items popping up in my inbox about lean and green initiatives. It is very interesting to see people looking at lean for help in protecting environment apart from the productivity improvement and related advantages.

By its very concept of eliminating waste lean provides the best platform for any manufacturer who is looking to be green in their manufacturing. No waste means less consumption of resources and less waste as output. So it is very handy not only in limiting the usage of natural resources but also in less pollution due to low waste outputs.

In one of the posts on environmentalleader.com, they discus about the concept of “lean and green purchasing strategy”, its opportunities, challenges and benefits. There are some staggering figures in savings for those who participated in the exercise. But more than anything else I found it is interesting to see that most of the manufacturers using their efforts and results as a marketing initiative. This goes to show the need for green manufactured product in the market and the marketing opportunities comes with it. This will help long term sustainability of the system.

In much more specific case, one of the retail giants “M&S” and one of the state of the art apparel manufacturer MAS holdings in Sri Lanka opened a green manufacturing facility in Sri Lanka. In their website MAS Holdings say “MAS Intimates Thurulie will also become the world’s first lean and green manufacturing facility, designed for MAS’ lean manufacturing standard. Based on the renowned Toyota Production System, the MAS Operating System (MOS) is geared towards the elimination of waste both in material and process in order to achieve higher efficiencies. MAS Chairman Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean declared that “We have always excelled in ethical business practices and MAS Intimates Thurulie brings in the environmental focus to complement our excellent work in social sustainability. Today MAS has set a tough global benchmark to show what the future of manufacturing will be – ethical, efficient and sustainable.”

I am very pleased to see words like sustainability, ethics and efficiency are related with lean (or Toyota Production System) apart from common goal of elimination of waste.

With these initiatives I believe lean is achieving new heights. It has evolved from manufacturing, to the entire supply chain to the environment and community. As it has always been this goes to show that lean concepts are universal.

One thought on “Lean and green manufacturing

  1. BlueMap

    The MAS Operating System is fantastic example for where US industry should be heading. Lean and green techniques can save our moribund industries billions of dollars and develop the kind of innovative thinking we need to solve the economic and environmental crises. Let’s hope more manufacturing leaders will see this as an opportunity instead of resiting change.

    - Sustainability Researcher, BlueMap, Inc.

    Reply

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