Operations Strategy for Lean and Sustainable Systems

In the present era of globalisation and circular economy, sustainable development is considered a universal goal for every business organisation. For being sustainable, organisations need to improve their performance in terms of economic, social and environmental measures. Maintaining balance among these measures is a big challenge for most of the organisations today. Despite this tension, some organisations such as 3M, Walmart, GE, IBM, the Hyatt Regency, and Scandic hotels, among others, have been able to turn their environmental concerns into a competitive edge. While these organisations have overcome this traditional trade-off, there is no shared understanding nor strategic guidance on how to achieve sustainable and cost-effective business operations without compromising productivity, the quality of goods and/or services, and the environment. Furthermore, if we consider the three dimensions of sustainability, where social responsibility is added to economic and environmental concerns, a holistic analysis approach seems to be missing. Embracing the three dimensions of sustainability into the upstream process pipelines and in initiatives to continuously improve operations requires a deep understanding of key internal interactions within the company and key external interactions across the value chain. This understanding, however, still appears to be at a stage of infancy. On the one side, limited perspectives for sustainable development have been considered, on the other, recent studies still identify the prevailing need to enhance our understanding of the link between sustainability, lean and performance. 

Among the operational improvement initiatives that seem to have an explicit connection to sustainability are those based on lean thinking. Fortunately, the existence of lean has offered a way to sustain operations. In lean, a company focuses on producing high quality products in the most efficient and economical way while incorporating less human effort, less inventory, less time to develop products, and less space and yet highly responsive to customer demands. Elimination of material waste directly meets the sustainability objectives. By cutting down unnecessary wastes in all resources, organisations will have more reserves of these resources to be used in the future prolonging sustainability. There are also several real cases of organisations that have embraced lean methods in order to maintain competitiveness in the global market. Companies such as Honda and Toyota have successfully sustained their operations through the lean approach.


Despite successful “lean” applications in many organisations, the journey to implement lean is not easy and is bound to encounter various challenges. These challenges include uncertainty in demand, pressure from customers and top management, shortening product life cycle, non-effective method, knowledge and information transfer, and training. Moreover, human integration poses a great challenge and has become the top priority for lean-adopting companies to sustain their operations. To tackle such kind of challenges, each individual needs to be trained about concept of lean and sustainable systems. Knowledge of such systems will help organisations or professionals to adopt a strategic approach for sustainable development. Therefore, this programme is designed with following broad objectives:

  • To develop understanding of key challenges in managing lean and sustainable systems across different sectors
  • To develop appropriate operations strategies for making production systems lean and sustainable to be globally competitive
  • To understand application of multicriteria decision-making tools and optimisation techniques in the context of lean and sustainable systems


  • Introduction and principles of Lean/Agility/Sustainability/Circular Economy
  • Concepts of 5S and kaizen
  • Process mapping and value stream mapping
  • Tools of Lean, kanban, batch sizes, set-up times, standard work, jidoka, heijunka
  • Secondary tools in lean manufacturing: radar chart, poka yoke, SMED etc.
  • Lean inventory, flow, line balancing, machine cells
  • Lean manufacturing through Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)
  • Supplier involvement and support 
  • Quality management tools and Six Sigma concepts
  • Hoshin Planning, continuous improvement, waste elimination
  • Green supply chains and reverse logistic strategies
  • Triple bottom line approach for sustainable operations
  • Industry 4.0 technologies for Lean systems
  • Challenges for organisations in Circular Economy

Who can participate

This programme will be useful for executives and professionals involved in managing different value adding operations in their respective organisations across different sectors. It will be helpful for participants in making production systems more efficient and responsive to dynamic market requirements.

Registration and Fees

Participants should be nominated by their organisations. The enclosed nomination form should be completed and returned with all the details. The fee of the programme is Rs. 37,500 (rupees thirty-seven thousand five hundred only) per participant which includes a professional fee, all charges for lodging and boarding, and supply of course materials. GST as applicable will be charged extra in addition to the programme fee. Payment should be made by cheque/NEFT/RTGS.