Why should Lean be Green?
Every company owner knows that their business won’t survive if it doesn’t generate profit. Many of them also know that to lead a successful company they should look for ways to increase profit margins. That is why lean management is fastly becoming a part of many companies across Europe.
Another, very important trend that is becoming an important issue is the protection of the natural environment. There is no doubt that human activity often destroys natural habitat and according to WWF from 200 to 2 000 species become extinct each year. Since we are as much of inhabitants of planet Earth as animals and plants that exceed our existence by thousand of years, we should take responsibility for our actions. That’s why we would like to talk a bit about green lean.
What is a Green Lean?
Lean and green management was created as a way to actively reduce a carbon footprint of companies during their activity. The goal of green marketing is not only to reduce CO2 – emission but at the same time reduce the cost of the company. There are three main branches of this management system of logistics and transportation: Lean and Green Logistics, Lean and Green Personal Mobility and Lean and Green Barge. However, new branches constantly appear, such as Lean and Green Manufacturing. Although they regard different spheres of company activity their goal is common: protecting the natural environment while reducing the cost of companies operations.
Does green lean positively affect the environment?
If applied correctly, yes. We must remember that main core of lean management is to optimise company operation by reducing unnecessary actions and increasing productivity. During production and logistic process there are areas where resources are wasted. However companies not always pay attention to the waste as, in some cases, they don’t generate as much cost. Often we can see a manufacturer to waste water, air or energy. An environment wastes are also byproducts of manufacturing process such as dangerous chemicals of solid waste.
Areas of work of Green Lean
Researchers distinguish seven main areas that companies generate waste that can be reduced and by doing so, the companies can increase their “greenness”. Overproduction and inventory are two first areas. When corporations overproduce the products not only they use resources that otherwise wouldn’t be spent. They also create overstock that, until the product is sold, has to be stored. That generates cost in cooling, heating or lighting the inventory space. Not to mention usage of packaging.
Transportation and excessive motion is another area prone to waste. It’s easy to imagine the consumption of fuel, CO2 emission and damage of products during shipping. Of course, there might be other costs associated with transportation, i.e. wages for drivers.
Another three waste areas are defects, over-processing and waiting. Defects are produced products that aren’t suitable for sale. In most cases, they require disposal, which generates the cost. In other cases, business owners decide to store such products. That also creates extra costs.
Over processing is an over usage of material used for producing goods and waiting generates cost when stock is waiting for shipment. In such cases, a delicate product might be prone to spoiling.
Be Green with Lean
If you already use Lean Management in your company or thinking of implementing this management style, think about Green Lean. Not only it will save unnecessary costs in our company, but you will also be saving the planet for future generations.