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Sustainable Operations and Closed-Loop Supply Chains by Gilvan C. Souza

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Chapter 3

The First Step Towards Sustainability: Lean and Six-Sigma

The Lean Management Philosophy: Types of Waste

Lean and six-sigma are two mainstream process improvement methodologies. Several books have been written about these two methodologies; as a result this chapter will only summarize some main points. Although some purists may not agree completely, “lean manufacturing,” “Toyota Production System (TPS),” and “Big Just-in-Time” are three different names referring to the same thing. In a nutshell, the objective of lean is to reduce waste (muda, in Japanese) in all aspects of a firm’s production activities: human relations, vendor relations, technology, and the management of materials and inventory. There are seven forms of waste:

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