Business Sustainability: What is the Lean of It?

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. Today, lean is going back to its root.

In a recent post, It’s Time to Wage an All-Out War on Waste, the HBR Blog Network explores the topic of waste reduction through lean business principles. What began as a manufacturing floor set of guidelines to reduce process waste, lean has now expanded to a broader business sustainability concept. The current innovation mindset perfectly aligns with this forward progress.

“Today, lean concepts have moved beyond the factory floor to become an organizing set of principles and practices applicable to all business operations and activities, including entrepreneurial start-ups. Every idea in your company can benefit from a lean approach, be it a product, process, service, or strategy.”

As we move forward into a new age of expanded eco awareness, our sustainability consulting finds that the business practices of the past continue to evolve to meet shifting global expectations of the future. This forward business sustainability progress can be most easily seen in the continuously evolving sustainable supply chain, and we believe the success of these efforts relies heavily on the effective engagement of the company’s internal and external business stakeholders.

Article by Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner at Taiga Company; appearing courtesy 3BL Media.

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