Lean through Green
The central point of Lean Manufacturing is eliminating waste in manufacturing systems. The elimination of wastes could be achieved in a variety of ways such as reducing manufacturing process time and wait time, implementing proper inventory controls and reducing of defects.
Green Manufacturing is a concept in manufacturing that is used to produce products by having minimal environmental impact. It could be achieved by minimizing waste, recycling, conserving energy use, controlling pollution.
The central point of both Lean and Green Manufacturing is the elimination of waste. So, we can achieve a Lean Manufacturing environment by going Green. For start-ups and small manufacturing organizations it could be better to create its manufacturing systems by adapting the philosophy from Green Manufacturing.
Green Manufacturing is a relatively newer concept. Start-ups and smaller manufacturing organizations might think, that it may not be meaningful to go green because their environmental impact could be very small. Is it possible to be competitive by implementing Green concepts during the early stages of the development of an organization? This could be answered by the design of manufacturing systems that are geared towards Green Manufacturing Systems and the belief system of the founders / owners of the organizations. Is Green Manufacturing worth the investment? There is one goal common in both Lean Manufacturing and Green Manufacturing is eliminating of waste. So eliminating waste from the system could be great starting point to be efficient and competitive in a Green Manufacturing environment. It is also easier and less costly to grow and maintain a Green Manufacturing environment system than converting a non-green company to a green company because the employees are properly trained and a system is already in place. A Green Manufacturing System should be designed with a long term vision.
It is ultimately the responsibility of the founders of start-ups and the owners of small manufacturing companies’ owners to decide to be Green or not. Green Manufacturing could a good business practice. It will save our environment and it is possible to stay competitive at the same time. It could meet the expectation of the society as a responsible manufacturing organization.