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SME Speaks: Total Lean and Green Eco-Advantage 'Integrated' Strategy

Isidro Galicia





The world is facing tremendous change as well as a global economic crisis. As a result, businesses are facing unprecedented challenges unlike any in recent memory. Today, the market life for many products and services is becoming significantly shorter or, in many cases, obsolete. In an effort to keep up with the speed of change and survival, most organizations are searching for ways to reduce their internal operating costs and increase the velocity of their product development cycles, while greatly improving their quality in an effort to meet their customer's ever-growing and rapidly changing needs.

In addition, environmentally conscious customers demand that their suppliers reduce their environmental footprint, meet international quality and environmental standards, and significantly reduce lead times if they wish to export products and services and remain competitive.

Although these hurdles may be steep, organizations must be able to demonstrate resilience, agility, and courage, while accelerating efforts to deploy and integrate lean and green strategies as a method of total waste elimination, not abandon it altogether. The impact of a "boarding up the windows" and "program cutting" strategy during these difficult economic times may be extremely devastating, and detrimental to an organization's culture. In addition, this approach may send a message of abandonment when most organizations desperately need a message of vision, strength, and unity.

As these challenges have become significantly more complex with less time to comply, the unfortunate reality is that many organizations have succumbed to rapid "cost-cutting" solutions, and total abandonment of the very lean and green initiatives that have helped them to develop a culture of problem solving and continuous improvement. This reactive approach has negatively impacted organizations from an operational, organizational, and, most importantly, cultural perspective.

In contrast, the smartest and most forward-thinking organizations in the world are accelerating and expanding their efforts to eliminate waste company-wide through a total lean and green ecoadvantage "integrated" strategy. They are utilizing this sxtrategy as a mechanism to eliminate waste throughout their entire enterprise, while building an engaged and knowledge-based workforce focused on problem solving, innovation, and world-class quality and customer satisfaction.

These organizations understand that "economic survival" and "lean and green" strategies are not mutually exclusive, in fact, quite the contrary. Only lean-enterprise transformation has demonstrated the ability and power to meet the challenges of these demanding times, and has helped many organizations remain, agile, dynamic, and successful as demands grow more complex. Combine a lean enterprise with a total green ecoadvantage strategy, and you will begin to solidify a total culture of problem solving, waste elimination, and energy-consumption management.

World-class organizations are using a total lean and green ecoadvantage strategy as a mechanism to prepare and emerge from the economic downturn quicker and stronger than their competitors. It is literally a "race to the starting line." They understand that the integration of lean and green is a growth strategy, that creates value to the end market, and positions your organization as the premier provider of choice. These organizations recognize that as they continue to teach, transform, and continuously improve, they will begin to eliminate waste in all aspects of their business, allowing them to transcend well beyond the confines of existing products and services. In addition, their organization will begin to avoid accidents, mitigate risks, and deflect regulatory issues—all while building goodwill with employees, customers, communities, and society.

How do these organizations achieve this total lean and green ecoadvantage strategy?

The fundamental success of a true lean and green enterprise transformation does not stem from any one given element, tool, or technique, yet is the product of a collective system and vision that integrates the strategic utilization of these tools practiced each day, by everyone consistently over time. An integrated lean and green enterprise consists of an end-to-end methodology that integrates the concepts of waste elimination through total team member involvement, supported by a culture of problem solving, and the relentless pursuit of perfection. To build an overall lean enterprise and eco-advantage, we must be focused on the integration of a true lean enterprise and "eco-mindset" through effective vision-setting and forward thinking.

All facets of the enterprise must become players on the field of change to truly establish and internalize a total lean and green eco-advantage strategy. Companies must begin to change their views and develop a new vision surrounding waste elimination and eco-advantage. They must not abandon the essence of continuous improvement that has sustained their success thus far. Finally, they must begin to focus on six critical success factors, which include:

  1. Vision Setting—Establish true north, execute Hoshin-Kanri/policy deployment session.
  2. Integration—Integrate lean and green as a total holistic philosophy through aligned processes.
  3. Knowledge-Based Workforce—Develop and deploy skills required to make change.
  4. Embrace Your Burning Platform—Develop and deploy the reason to believe and dream the impossible.
  5. People Are the Center—Focus on an inspired, engaged, and knowledge-based workforce.
  6. Visual and Shared Roadmap—Develop a strategy, "step-by-step walk the thousand mile road."

When these six critical success factors are achieved, you will be able to meet the challenges of these demanding times, and emerge from this monumental economic downturn quicker and stronger than you imagined. Eventually, you will win the "race to the starting line" through a total lean and green eco-advantage strategy.

Interested in learning more on the integration of lean and green? Please join us at SME's Lean to Green Manufacturing Conference in Austin, TX, September 28–30. Visit to learn more.


Congratulations SME's 2009 Class of Fellows

This fall, nine manufacturing leaders will be elected to the SME College of Fellows. An SME Fellow is a member recognized by the manufacturing community as a contributor to the social, technological, and educational aspects of the profession. This prestigious honor can only be earned through at least 20 years of dedication and service to manufacturing engineering by SME members in good standing. Since 1986, the Society has recognized nearly 300 individuals. This year's Class of Fellows includes:


David ColeDavid Cole, PhD, is chairman of the Center for Automotive Research (Ann Arbor, MI). Cole's recent research has focused on issues related to the restructuring of the North American auto industry and trends in globalization, technology, market factors, and human resource requirements. He has spoken to more than 1000 different groups on automotive issues, and has been actively involved in the startup of five different Ann Arbor-based companies. Cole has been an SME member since 1994. He received a BSME, an MSME, and a PhD from the University of Michigan.

Jerry Y. H. FuhJerry Y.H. Fuh, PhD, CMfgE, PE, is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the National University of Singapore. He has devoted himself to teaching manufacturing and design for nearly 20 years. He is the author of more than 180 journal papers, 160 conference papers, and two monographs, and holds six patents. Additionally, he holds six patents related to rapid prototyping and material. His research findings and expertise have been sought at many conferences and universities throughout Asia and the US. An SME member since 1986, Fuh is an active member of Singapore No. 219, where he has held various leadership roles.

Chia-Hsiang MenqChia-Hsiang Menq, PhD, is professor and Ralph W. Kurtz Chair in Mechanical Engineering at The Ohio State University (Columbus). As a researcher, he has accomplished new findings in such areas as coordinate metrology, precision engineering and control, and nanotechnology. His work has garnered support from the National Science Foundation, the US Air Force, NASA, and the US Navy. Some of Menq's previous honors include OSU's 2003 Clara M. and Peter L. Scott Faculty Award for Excellence in Engineering Education, the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, and the OSU College of Engineering Lumley Research Awards. He joined SME in 2008.

Sudhakar M. PanditSudhakar M. Pandit, PhD, is a professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at Michigan Technological University. There, he has made many technical contributions affecting industry. Pandit is the author of two books and author or coauthor of more than 150 peer-reviewed papers. His main contribution has been the development of a new methodology called data dependent systems (DDS) and its applications to design and manufacturing. An SME member since 1981, Pandit has, among other efforts, reviewed manuscripts and proposals for SME's North American Manufacturing Research Institute (NAMRI/SME), co-organized the 23rd North American Manufacturing Research Conference (NAMRC 23), and served on the NAMRI/SME Scientific Committee from 1995–2000.

Albert J. ShihAlbert J. Shih, PhD, is a professor of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering, co-director of the S.M. Wu Manufacturing Research Center, and associate director of the Medical Innovation Center at the University of Michigan. He holds five patents and has authored more than 200 publications. Currently, his research and teaching focus are in biomedical design and manufacturing—the application of advanced design and manufacturing technology to advance medical device, healthcare operations, and patient safety. An SME member since 2002, Shih has served on the NAMRI/SME Scientific Committee, and contributes regularly to the Transactions of NAMRI/SME.

David A. StephensonDavid A. Stephenson, PhD, is a research scientist at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where he leads machining research activities on the National Institute of Standards and Technology 2 Micron Machining TIP project. He also works on environmentally conscious machining technologies as a contract project engineer at the Ford Advanced Manufacturing Technology Development Department. A Society member since 1994, Stephenson has served as editor of SME's Journal of Manufacturing Processes, and is currently a member of the SME Journals Committee.

Albert J. WaveringAlbert J. Wavering III is the acting deputy director of National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory. There, he is responsible for laboratory operations, and assists the director in establishing its strategic direction. Over the course of his 24-year career at NIST, Wavering has made significant technical and leadership contributions to performance metrics, test methods, and standards for advanced manufacturing. His accomplishments over the years have helped advance such technologies as state-of-the-art sensor-based robot control and manufacturing-equipment interoperability. Wavering, who joined SME in 1984, is currently a member of the SME Education Foundation's Board of Directors. In 1996, he was awarded SME's Philip R. Marsilius Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award.

Kazuo YamazakiKazuo Yamazaki, PhD, is a professor and director of the IMS-Mechatronics Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering at the University of California, Davis. There, his work has focused not only on mechatronics, but also on such areas as manufacturing process design, control, and manufacturing-automation software. The author of more than 200 journal and conference papers, Yamazaki is also an inventor who holds 31 registered patents. He joined SME in 1984 and recently received the 2009 SME Frederick W. Taylor Research Medal.

John C. ZiegertJohn C. Ziegert, PhD, is the Timken chair of automotive design and development and professor of mechanical engineering at Clemson University. In addition, he is the cofounder of Tetra Precision Inc., a precision metrology systems supplier. Ziegert started his career as a project engineer at General Motors, and later held various academic appointments at such schools as Brown University and the California Institute of Technology. His current research interests include designing systems and instruments for precision manufacturing and metrology. The author of more than 100 technical papers, he also holds four patents. A Society member since 1994, Ziegert has served as co-chair of the organizing committee for the 2001 and 2009 North American Manufacturing Research Conference (NAMRC).



This article was first published in the September 2009 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. 

Published Date : 9/1/2009

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