While Lean tools and green methodologies are very different, these business strategies can be integrated simultaneously to maximize performance, as the Grand Rapids Chair Company discovered.
The furniture manufacturer chalks this up to the fact that both Lean and green processes are implemented through Plan-Do-Check-Assess (PDCA) cycles. Both Lean and sustainability initiatives need to be planned, enacted and then evaluated on a continual basis to ensure they are resulting in meaningful changes. Because they are so similar, they can be integrated simultaneously to great effect.
“The implementation of Lean and sustainable manufacturing was aided by the use of discrete event simulation and optimization to overcome deficits in Lean’s traditional implementation strategies,” the case study added. “Lean and green manufacturing can have a more significant, positive impact on multiple measures of operational performance when implemented concurrently rather than separately.”
Businesses aiming to reduce environmental waste while also improving efficiency need to consider integrating Lean manufacturing and sustainability initiatives simultaneously, rather than separately.