Business Process Improvement

Lean Manufacturing and your Carbon Footprint

The company spokesman described their actions as a “win-win” – they reduce emissions and save money at the same time. Simple and effective.

So how does Lean Manufacturing principles and your Carbon Footprint relate to each other?

Lean Manufacturing principles are all about eliminating WASTE in your business. Waste whether it is transport from one factory to another, inventory of finished goods, product rejects, electric lights being left on or simply duplication of electonic copies with paper copies.

All waste consumes energy, energy has a CO2 equivalent rating and contributes to your carbon footprint. Those companies in Victoria are applying LEAN THINKING to their business. They are analysing where they can be more efficent and use less for the same level of production.

Lean Potato Chips?

A great example of Lean Manufacturing and energy consumption is how a Potato Chip manufacturer in the UK reduced their consumption of gas significantly. Their main supplier, Potatos Farmers, were paid on the weight of their spuds so to ensure that the best price was achieved the farmer kept his produce hydrated during transport to the chip factory. The chip makers in turn had to use more gas to drive the moisture off the sliced spuds, thus using more energy. Using Lean Manufacturing methods the chip maker identified this grower practice as a non-value add activity resulting in a significant waste of gas.

Solution? Change the purchase contracts to be based on weight and moisture content – result – the growers use less water, the manufacturer uses less gas and less energy is consumed. Winners all round.

Lean Manufacturing eliminates waste, focussed on the what the customer is prepared to pay for and the end result is less energy use. This is good business practice that should be simply the way we do business.