Green lean operationalisation of the circular economy concept on production shop floor level
Journal article, 2021
Addressing today's general requirements on sustainability, as captured by for example the UN sustainability goals, is a necessity within production operations. It means that production managers need to find and manage new working procedures and methods on the shop floor to increase resource efficiency and overall sustainability. Utilizing a green lean environmental improvement tool called Green Performance Map in manufacturing and pharma industry has proven successful results in engaging shop floor managers and operators in green kaizen and demonstrated the value of integrating the waste hierarchy model, hence operationalising the concept of circular economy. This paper presents results of eight industrial cases of pilot trials of the Green Performance Map, demonstrating how the waste hierarchy model was used as an operationalisation mechanism for increasing the circularity on the shop floor. This was made by prioritizing and executing environmental improvements identified by the shop floor team that implied moving up one or more steps in the waste hierarchy. By this action, resource efficiency was improved as well as the overall environmental behaviour. The research presented contributes to the green lean theory and its integration with circular economy in a production context. On managerial level, the research demonstrates a concrete way of how the circularity could be improved on the shop floor.