You are on page 1of 1

E3: Lean and Green

Energized by receiving training in lean manufacturing methodologies, an engineer forms an internal team
to map the value stream of her company’s key product line or processes, revealing cost and time saving
opportunities. Feeding on the enthusiasm of her team, recommendations are made to management about
the path to move forward. Management encourages the engineer to focus on eliminating traditional wastes
such as time spent waiting, inventory, and excess material or component transportation. Meanwhile,
some obvious environmental and energy wastes are ignored, and along with them, the opportunities for
significant savings.
E3: Energy, Environment, Economy is an emerging concept in continuous improvement that balances the
efficiencies of a company’s processes with development of sustainable operating practices. The bottom
line is that you can realize even larger savings through an optimized look at all of your key processes. By
implementing process changes consistent with the E:3 foundation, you can address the following challenges:

Inability to identify less expensive, non-landfill options for waste
Stringent regulations for alternative waste solutions.
Inability to separate waste streams
Material waste caused by ineffective processes
Balancing production demands with energy demands
Creating a culture that looks at all waste in the facility

When embarking on a lean continuous improvement, a company will almost always indirectly eliminate greenrelated wastes. For example, by reducing inventory, a company will inherently save on materials Or, when
reducing batch sizes per a standard lean recommendation, material wastes may also be reduced because
extra materials are no longer needed during changeover.
However, combining Lean (Economy) with Green (Energy and Environment), through specific waste elimination
metrics, will ensure that continuous improvement programs do not ignore environmental wastes such as
excess electricity, discarded materials, overuse of water, etc. Also, making green a part of continuous
improvement and lean is needed to ensure that it is not thought of as some separate program or “flavor of the
day.” Creating green improvements will result in improved efficiencies and significant savings and will enhance
a company’s sustainability program. This ensures that the company’s machine resources, people resources,
capital resources and environmental resources are utilized as effectively as possible, with minimal impact on
the earth.
Beyond the environmental benefits and cost savings, the consequences of not dealing with theses wastes
include increased disposal costs, regulatory paperwork and fines, and increased costs assigned to waste
A Lean & Green approach will give manufacturers the ability to:

Identify recycling and reuse options.
Improve the quality of the waste stream so it can be reused internally or by another manufacturer as input.
Develop efficient systems that will enable reuse or recycling waste.
Aid in product design that can minimize the use of materials, resulting in less waste.
Focus efforts on how best to manage energy usage

If you’re company is not running lean and green and you wish to
reduce costs associated with your manufacturing processes,
please call IMEC at 888-806-4632 for a free assessment.