Ask the Expert: Lean energy
What are the trade-offs between energy costs and lean manufacturing?
Lean manufacturing is the holistic consideration of all issues related to manufacturing to eliminate waste.
In terms of trade-offs, after considering the entire value stream, you should decide which options to accept. Hence, if attempting to eliminate waste in a process increases energy costs, the entire process needs to be evaluated holistically to the more acceptable alternative. Usually, the benefits realized through the implementation of lean principles far outweigh the additional cost in energy that might have to be borne when increased power is needed.
Merwan Mehta, Ph.D.