Impact of Lean Six Sigma on Sustainability: Relationships and framework for their integration.

University essay from Lunds universitet/Produktionsekonomi

Abstract: Problem definition Nowadays society is very concerned with sustainability. Companies try their best to meet sustainability customers’ expectations and regulations. The adoption of Lean and Six Sigma could bring sustainability improvements, but it is not clear how these three areas are combined and how they are currently addressed by companies. Purpose Explore the relationship between Lean, Six Sigma and Sustainability, and how the deployment of the first two support the overall sustainability of an organization. Moreover, to develop a framework for Lean Six Sigma and Sustainability integration, providing a general guide for a wide scope of companies of different industries. Methodology The research approach of this thesis is both exploratory and descriptive. It is based in a qualitative mean, done by 4 interviews to relevant companies and a literature study. A further explanatory study to understand the relationships between the concepts is used. This is used for making a framework for LSS and Sustainability integration. Results and conclusion Nowadays, more than ever, companies have an interest and intent in sustainability, with a focus on the environment and on social aspects such as health and safety. Lean Six Sigma can support that with a structure, which is a solid foundation and a good start for a sustainable business. LSS improves use of resources, reduces waste and improves safety, ethics and leadership. But that alone is not enough for sustainability excellence. LSS doesn’t affect material extraction, product use, product disposal or recycling. Therefore, sustainability initiatives are needed to move a company to an excellence spot. Those can be obtained by benchmark and is possible to combine them with Lean Six Sigma through the integrated framework presented in this Master thesis.

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