In order to be able to adequately

In order to be able to adequatelycompare or contrast lean and green systems we need to have a baselinedefinition of what each of them mean.

 Especially when looking at “green” – this descriptor is used for so manyprocesses and items it can easily be misinterpreted or misconstrued.Our book defines Lean Systems as “Operationssystems that maximize the value added by each of a company’s activities byremoving waste and delays from them.”  Thewaste in this example is not “refuse” but excess waste in processing.

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These areknown as the “8 Wastes of Lean” and are “Defects, Overproduction, Waiting,Non-Utilized Talent, Transportation, Inventory, Motion, and Extra-Processing.” Leanoperations are considered primary focus factors in business processimprovement.The textbook also provides a definitionof “green” as related to Green Purchasing – “The process of identifying,assessing and managing the flow of environmental waste and finding ways toreduce it and minimize its impact on the environment.” Overall for the purposesof this discussion, green refers to any process whose aim is to improve theenvironment. The main differences between lean andgreen can be seen in how businesses plan in the following Manufacturing Areas:(adapted from Johansson) Area of Manufacturing Lean Manufacturing Green Manufacturing Business Focus Improve competitiveness by focusing on quality, waste and delivery times to improve customer satisfaction Merge improved environmental and industrial processes to yield less pollution, waste by-products, and risk to living creatures Business Principles Relates to how the business looks to the future, interacts with people, and addresses their business problems Relates to areas specific to reducing or preventing pollution, eliminating use of toxic substances and creating a plan for environmental impact Product or Process Focused Focus is primarily on improving the process but there is an understanding that the product influences how much the process can be changed Focuses equally on improving processes and products and their impact on the environment Methods or Tools Used Methods and tools are chosen to improve processes Methods and tools are chosen for their environmental impact improvement on processes and products Employee Involvement Employees are crucial to completing continuous improvement processes Employees are crucial for applying environmentally sound processes and creating environmentally safe products Supply Chain Involvement Continuous improvement is not possible without the involvement of all parts of the supply chain; from suppliers to customers Upstream involvement of suppliers is crucial for developing environmentally sound performance which spans the divisions between companies  This table reinforces the idea thatwhen a company makes the business decision to go “green” that becomes thedriving force behind their decisions. Green decisions are given the same weight (or in some cases higherweight) than business process decisions.

 While some consumers will choose to purchase from particular companies becauseof their green policy, some companies will elect to lose a portion of their customerbase if the benefits to the environment are significant.

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