Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Industrial Engineering

Major Professor

Paul McCright, Ph.D.


Environmentally conscious manufacturing, Continuous improvement, Waste minimization, Sustainable development, Shingo Prize


Scientific evidence of human impact on the natural environment, such as global warming, continues to mount. Green manufacturing systems that focus on minimizing environmental impact of manufacturing processes and products are ever more important to our sustainable future. Green manufacturing systems are slow to gain acceptance as manufacturers are focused on implementing Lean manufacturing systems, generally considered the most competitive manufacturing systems in the world.

In recent years, researchers and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have sought to "build a bridge" between Lean and Green manufacturing systems, in hopes that the rapid expanse of Lean can serve as a catalyst to the implementation of Green manufacturing systems.This study contributes to this growing body of knowledge by determining if leading Lean manufacturers are transcending beyond the traditional limits of Lean and implementing Green manufacturing systems as part of their overallwaste reduction strategy. In this work Lean manufacturing plants that have been evaluated by a panel of experts from the Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing are surveyed on the diffusion of Green manufacturing system practices throughout their operation. A full system correlation analysis is performed utilizing forty-eight measures of Lean and Green manufacturing systems under the categories of management system, waste reducing techniques, and results.

Data analysis indicates that known Lean manufacturers are significantly Greener than the general population of manufacturers in twenty-five of twenty-six measures of Green manufacturing. Lean manufacturers who implement Green manufacturing systems have the strongest results in both Lean and Green result areas, particularly cost reduction, indicating synergy between Lean and Green manufacturing systems. Manufacturing plants that choose to vertically integrate versus horizontally integrate their Lean systems transcend to Green manufacturing. Mexican plants in the study practice significantly higher levels of material resource efficiency and are more inclined to develop industrial partnerships to resolve environmental issues. The study also identifies a critical need for integrating Lean and Green management systems to drive synergistic waste reducing techniques throughout the operation.

An integrated Lean and Green manufacturing system model, dubbed "Zero Waste Manufacturing", is proposed as a solution for economically and environmentally sustainable manufacturing.