Lean Energy: Turning Continuous Improvements Into Sustainable Development
Conference contribution, 2018
The potentials of combining Lean and sustainability initiatives have been recognized in earlier research. It has further been argued that there is a need to focus on how this combination should be implemented, and to acknowledge the criticality of developing individuals’ competencies to support the integration of improvement initiatives and sustainability. This paper focuses on energy efficiency initiatives and emanates from an educational program with a combined focus on Lean and energy efficiency. The purpose of this paper is to explore the integration of Lean and energy efficiency practices, and practical examples of such integration.
This study is of an explorative nature and based on a qualitative research approach. Primary evidence was collected through an interview study of 19 participants in a Lean Energy education. Secondary evidence was collected on the development and evaluation of the education program.
By operationalizing sustainability of operations through energy efficiency and combining with principles of Lean and Quality Management, organizations can turn continuous improvement efforts into sustainable development. Whilst professional education enables individual learning, a wider scale-up requires the organization itself to use this to discover new talents, to encourage use of principles and tools to identify and remove energy waste, and to move from local practices to shared experience.
This paper focuses professional education as a component for integration of improvement initiatives and sustainable development in general. Moreover, organization-wide efforts to follow up on the educational program is recognized as critical to scale-up the application of Lean energy.