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A Case Study on Lean Manufacturing Strategies

Over the past several years U.S. EPA’s Office of Reinvention has been involved in a number of “regulatory responsiveness” initiatives. These include the Common Sense Initiative, Project XL, and Pollution Prevention in Permitting Program (P4). In working with a variety of businesses in the context of these initiatives, certain project participants noted that corporate manufacturing strategies and initiatives often produced substantial resource productivity enhancements.

At the same time, the responsiveness and continuous improvement aspects of these strategies were driving on-going modifications to operating equipment and operating parameters that could be subject to new environmental permitting and/or modifications to existing permits. This meant that desired changes could be subject to regulatory bottlenecks (in terms of time, uncertainty, and administrative costs) that could constrain responsiveness, continuous improvement, and, ultimately resource productivity gains. Click here to read more…

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A Case Study for Lean Manufacturing Strategies

A Case Study about Lean Manufacturing Strategies Pollution Prevention, and Environmental Regulatory Management Implications

Background: In working with regulated industries over the past eight years, many EPA regulatory reinvention initiatives have recognized an emerging and very real redefinition of the manufacturing landscape. Largely, this movement has arisen in the context of today’s increasingly competitive “immediate” global market, requiring companies to conceive and deliver products faster, at lower cost, and of better quality than their competitors. Lean manufacturing is a leading manufacturing paradigm of this fast-paced market economy, with a fundamental focus on the systematic elimination of waste that holds the potential to produce meaningful environmental results.

Lean Manufacturing is the systematic elimination of waste by focusing on production costs, product quality and delivery, and worker involvement. In the 1950s, Taiichi Ohno, developer of the Toyota “just-in-time” Production System, created the modern intellectual and cultural framework for Lean Manufacturing and waste elimination. Ohno defined waste as “any human activity which absorbs resources but creates no value.” Largely, Lean Manufacturing represents a fundamental paradigm shift from traditional “batch and queue” mass production to production systems based on product aligned “single-piece flow, pull production.” Whereas “batch and queue” involves mass-production of large inventories of products in advance based on potential or predicted customer demands

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