in ,

Lean Manufacturing is Green Manufacturing!

One way in which today’s corporation is becoming enlightened to the fact that green manufacturing CAN equal more profitable manufacturing is through a new concept called “lean manufacturing“.   In the 1980’s, JIT, or just-in-time techniques became all the rage in management circles as they shaved costs from production by eliminating the need for high levels of inventories by focusing on using just what was needed, when it was needed.

Lean manufacturing takes this one step further and focuses on the elimination of ALL wastes in the production process.  This results in higher value to the customer, less raw materials waste, less wasted worker effort, and an overall greener AND more profitable company!

The shining example of this new way of thought is Toyota Motor Company – which arguably is the most successful automotive manufacturer on the planet today.  These concepts were also drawn from the original work of Henry Ford, however, Mr.  Ford didn’t anticipate the dynamic environment most companies face today.  Much of the original work by Ford Motor Company worked well in a closed system, but not one in which things change as dramatically as they now can. 

Lean manufacturing identifies wastes as coming from three sources; “muri” wastes which occur during the planning process and result in unnecessary process steps or work, “mura” wastes which are due to inconsistencies in the processes themselves, and “muda” wastes which occur during the actual production process itself.

Any waste creates inefficiency and erodes the sustainability of the enterprise – whether it be waste of human talent, effort, or the transportation of unnecessary materials. 

[Photo Credit Motionblur under a Creative Commons license]


Written by Brenda Keener


Leave a Reply
  1. Companies who engage in the practice of continuous improvement have always been at the forefront of reducing environmental waste. This takes many forms: eliminating air leaks, oil leaks, water leaks is a simple approach to reduce thousands of dollars per year of cost and reduce the impact on the environmental load. By working with suppliers and customers, businesses have long sought out ways to reduce corrugate, cardboard, plastic and paper waste, savings consumers millions and reducing the volumes sent to landfill. These acts also divert the resources to other businesses for more efficient and effective use, which means more productive economic growth, jobs and better standard of living for millions.

    All of this effort requires skill. Please visit my website, for the fundamental improvement skills taught world wide to employees of Toyota Motor Co., the creators of Lean manufacturing. The skills are decades old, and the manuals are free to download under the terms of fair use law. You do not need to provide an email address or sign up for any newsletter. Just browse, enjoy the simplicity of the continunous improvement and learn about something “new!”

    Bryan Lund

  2. Green results are an inevitable outcome of truly Lean activities. The Womack and Jones classic “Lean Thinking” did not focus on Green, but if you re-read this classic with Green in mind you will find countless examples of Lean activities that had Green outcomes. For example, replacing batch and queue manufacturing with single piece flow can virtually eliminate the need for ERP software and the energy-guzzling data centers that ERP software requires.

    For those attending Pack Expo in Las Vegas October 5, 2009, my presentation “Lean Manufacturing’s Unexpected Windfall: A Lower Carbon Footprint” will cover this topic. Details at

3 Pings & Trackbacks

  1. Pingback:

  2. Pingback:

  3. Pingback:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Solar: When Will It Achieve Grid Parity?

Mobilizing Change