Can lean manufacturing, as exemplified by the renowned Toyota Production System, be a path to greener manufacturing? It would make sense, as both concepts can involve stripping out the waste from operations. A leaner operation will likely consume less energy and fewer resources, resulting in lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and less waste to the landfill.
A lower carbon footprint can be an “unexpected windfall” of lean manufacturing, according to a presentation in March at ABB Automation & Power World 2013 by Charles Cohon, CEO of Prime Devices Corp. of Glenview, Ill. “Consider the waste of over-production,” Cohon urged in his speech, quoting legendary Toyota engineer Taiichi Ohno, “It is not an exaggeration to say that in a low-growth period such waste is a crime against society more than a business loss.”
Reading about Cohon’s presentation and knowing something about lean thinking, I thought it was an important insight that lean can also be green. In a number of ways, stripping out inefficiencies should also be able to help a company reduce its environmental impacts. So I reached out to Cohon to find out more about the thinking behind his presentation at the ABB event. Read more
ThomasNet, publisher of IMT Career Journal, on April 1 launched the ThomasNet North American Manufacturing Scholarship program to actively help the manufacturing sector close the STEM skills gap, providing up to 30 scholarships of $1,000 each to high-achieving students pursue their dreams in engineering, skilled trades, and supply chain management/business operations. Students have until July 1 to apply.