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Materials Management for a Lean Green Enterprise - Download our Fact Sheet


Lean operations and waste management go hand-in-hand in a sustainable business. Lean operations have evolved over the past few decades to be a mainstay of current business practice. Adding waste management opens up new revenue sources while mitigating the costs of environmental compliance. Waste Management Company is an interesting leader in sustainability dealing with recycling to divert waste from landfills into reuse.  The WM COO discovers how things really work in the bowels of the organization as discussed in a Time review of the reality show ‘Undercover Boss’. The pursuit of continuous improvement has to uncover and balance the often hidden tensions between profits, lean operations, and employee satisfaction.

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Materials Management for a Lean Green Enterprise

Lean Green thinking is the process through which an enterprise continuously and simultaneously eliminates waste and creates value.

Lean green thinking is the new imperative to reduce waste, operate in a more environmentally responsible way, and take a company beyond regulatory compliance by embedding sustainability as a core business strategy. Lean green thinking combines the ‘time’ centric focus of lean with the ‘resources’ centric of green. Creating a lean green enterprise drives innovation and competitive advantage while capturing cost savings and reducing regulatory risk through the relentless reduction of all types of waste and conservation of natural resources.

The first step in the lean green process is to map the value stream and clearly identify the customer’s perception of value and the critical steps in the process that add to this value.




Value stream mapping effectively identifies areas to eliminate waste and maximize flow to create a streamlined process. The U.S. economy is incredibly inefficient with only 6% of materials ending up in product. This level of waste represents a huge opportunity, and is not sustainable in a world where resources are finite and business is vigorously price competitive.

Lean green is a continuous evolutionary process of change driven by internal stakeholders. The key assumption for lean green is that all materials and steps in a process must be necessary to produce or enhance the outcome, and the application of lean logic improves those processes. Identification of waste in processes, production and services as well as the supply chain, waste stream and behaviors is the first step towards a lean green enterprise.

Sustainametrics approaches lean from the lens of sustainability. We link existing efforts to green initiatives that encourage a holistic way of analyzing your value stream. Sustainability is a natural extension of lean that focuses on the triple bottom line. The ultimate benefits derived from a lean green strategy are reduced waste and risk, improved profitability, streamlined processes and engaged employees.

To learn more about our approach, please download The Materials Management Fact Sheet. To learn more about our specific competencies, explore our Services page or contact us.