• June 6th, 2014
  • Posted by LEP Weekly

Lean Manufacturing can make your company “greener”


A: Lean manufacturing is closely related to green programs because they both focus on eradicating waste. Waste, from the business standpoint, is defined as any unnecessary, unusable material or byproduct that takes up space and can be used to no avail or profit. Waste does not add any real value to the product or service.  By incorporating Lean Manufacturing in to standard business practices, not only are waste levels minimalized but an increase in ROI is seen over a period of time.

The seven money-spending wastes in manufacturing, also known as MUDA, coined by Toyota, are: overproduction, inventory, motion, transportation, defects, over-processing and waiting. All seven have a direct effect on the environment if left unattended:

OVERPRODUCTION: More raw materials, more energy used putting together unnecessary product, unnecessary hazardous materials used result in emissions, waste disposal, worker exposure, etc.

Ways to change that are also eco-friendly: Eliminating overproduction is a primary focus of lean. It requires you to produce only what is needed, when it is needed. By reducing overproduction, you use less energy and fewer raw materials to operate, therefore making your company greener.

INVENTORY: Too many materials in-house, waste is caused by damage or deterioration, more energy is used to heat/cool/light the inventory space, contributing directly to DAMAGING the environment.

Ways to change that are also eco-friendly: Less inventory lying around equals more plant space and less waste. You are able to use your space more efficiently, in turn saving heat, cooling and lighting costs.

MOTION: Unnecessary motions are those movements of man or machine which are not as small or as easy to achieve as possible.  This could mean bending down to retrieve a heavy object at floor level when they could be fed at waist level to reduce stress and time to retrieve.  Excessive travel between work stations, excessive machine movements from start point to work start point are all examples of waste of motion.

TRANSPORTATION: Unnecessary energy and emissions derive from transportation, more space required for moving the product resulting in (again) increasing energy consumption and a direct demand for lighting, heating and cooling.

Ways to change that are also eco-friendly: Design the production area in such a way to reduce the amount of walking and driving required to move product around. An efficient layout reduces heating, cooling and lighting demands. It also reduces the time required to produce a product, eliminating energy requirements.

DEFECTS: Materials and energy used in making defective product, more space required for repair, defective products require recycling or disposal

Ways to change that are also eco-friendly: When you improve your process to minimize defective product, you use fewer raw materials, less plant space, labor, systems and equipment. Less energy consumption!

OVER PROCESSING: Unnecessary processing increases wastes, energy use and emissions

Ways to change that are also eco-friendly: Every step of the production process SHOULD add value to the customer. By improving your process to only do only what is needed at the time, you will cut down on waste and make your company greener.

WAITING: Material/product spoilage or component damage produces waste. Wasted energy from heating, cooling, and lighting during production downtime.

Ways to change that are also eco-friendly: Syncing your processes to reduce waiting time cuts down on production time using less energy.

Waste can be eliminated by implementing a lean process – eradicating many of environmental disturbances. Lean processes are green because they eliminate wasteful resources and processes in a business. Lean protocol strips companies of inconsistencies and “bloated” approaches that contribute to over-expenditures and lack of efficiency. What is left is enhanced, sustainable productivity and performance. The biggest bonus is that this is good for everyone and for the future of our planet.


A: First, and most importantly, is the cost savings. This includes savings on energy, productivity and materials. Another asset of being lean and green are the value creation opportunities, which are actions that increase the worth of goods and services for consumers. Second, it improves public image and gives you an edge over your competition that may not be environmentally conscious. Third, when you produce what you need when you need it, you eliminate waste and improve your environmental footprint.


A: Lean Enterprise Partners applies the Lean Methodology holistically. This means we work with our partners to make improvements in three key areas. The first is operational. We evaluate the essential functions and address the constraints and capacities. Second is financial. We generated payback directly from profit and loss. The final key area is organizational. We work to tie in the business objectives from top down. This approach allows companies to sustain and develop improvements through a system of management, while impacting the bottom line immediately.

Lean Enterprise Partners is working to help companies be the most efficient they can be, and preserve our precious natural resources (fuel, energy, labor and materials)

President and founder, David Buggan, believes, “It’s only a natural progression that the next generation of Lean would be in the green collar sector.” Our mission is to identify value, eliminate waste and increase flow – an integral part of being Green.


A private consulting firm focusing on lean manufacturing. What makes Lean Enterpirse Partners different than other private consulting firms? Our guaranteed 3:1 ROI. Contact us to discuss how you can go green with Lean today!

A private consulting firm focusing on lean manufacturing. What makes Lean Enterpirse Partners different than other private consulting firms? Our guaranteed 3:1 ROI. Contact us to discuss how you can go green with Lean today!

David Buggan, President

Lean Enterprise Partners

(724) 485 – 2577

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