How Sustainability is Enhancing Lean Business Processes

Blog by Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner at Taiga Company
Jan 5, 2011 3:34 PM ET

Taiga Company blog by Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner at Taiga Compa…

In the 1980’s, lean concepts popularized the ‘supply chain’ and took procurement and operations to a new level of supply chain management understanding.  Characterized by the efficient movement of materials with minimal work in process and inventory, these integrated process flows were dependent on aligned supplier/customer incentives.  But in 2008 when times became tough and cost cutting became the focus, lean took on a whole new definition.  

Empty warehouses, broken supply flows, and strained buyer/supplier relations took lean to the extreme.  Curiously, going forward, will the lessons learned and integrated sustainability concepts in the supply chain open the door for an improved lean/green supply chain?   In 2008 and 2009, many procurement organizations were instructed to take drastic measures to address the financial pressures their companies were facing in the turbulent economic times.  Driven by true survival necessity, these businesses took action which may have altered the direction of their supply chains.  However, our professional consulting views the financial recovery as a new platform for sustainable supply chain management.    Described in Lean, Green Manufacturing Intersects with Sustainable Supply Chain Management, Creates Value, this article explores the enhancements of ‘Lean’ in the context of an applied business sustainability mindset.  Citing an example from Subaru:   •    Profits come by increasing efficiency and reducing waste—but they don’t always come immediately.   •    Management’s leadership is vital in setting goals and getting departments to cooperate.   •    The front line workers have to be engaged to spot opportunities to reduce, reuse, recycle, and find other ways to create efficiencies.  Click here to continue reading.  

Home to one third of the earth's trees, the Taiga is the largest land-based biosphere and encircles the globe. Its immense oxygen production literally changes the atmosphere and refreshes the planet. It is this continuous renewal that has shaped Taiga Company's vision to drive similar change in the business world. Taiga Company seeks to be the "oxygen for your business".