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Validation of Sustainability Benchmarking Tool in the Context of Value-Added Wood Products Manufacturing Activities

Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
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Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2361; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082361
Received: 6 March 2019 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 15 April 2019 / Published: 19 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Intelligent Manufacturing Systems)

Abstract

The primary objective of this study was to validate the sustainability benchmarking tool (SBT) framework proposed by the authors in a previous study. The SBT framework is focused on benchmarking triple bottom line (TBL) sustainability through exhaustive use of lean, six-sigma, and life cycle assessment (LCA). During the validation, sustainability performance of a value-added wood products’ production line was assessed and improved through deployment of the SBT framework. Strengths and weaknesses of the system were identified within the scope of the bronze frontier maturity level of the framework and tackled through a six-step analytical and quantitative reasoning methodology. The secondary objective of the study was to document how value-added wood products industries can take advantage of natural properties of wood to become frontiers of sustainability innovation. In the end, true sustainability performance of the target facility was improved by 2.37 base points, while economic and environmental performance was increased from being a system weakness to achieving an acceptable index score benchmark of 8.41 and system strength level of 9.31, respectively. The social sustainability score increased by 2.02 base points as a function of a better gender bias ratio. The financial performance of the system improved from a 33% loss to 46.23% profit in the post-improvement state. Reductions in CO2 emissions (55.16%), energy consumption (50.31%), solid waste generation (72.03%), non-value-added-time (89.30%), and cost performance (64.77%) were other significant achievements of the study. In the end, the SBT framework was successfully validated at the facility level, and the target facility evolved into a leaner, cleaner, and more responsible version of itself. This study empirically documents how synergies between lean, sustainability, six-sigma and life cycle assessment concepts outweigh their divergences and demonstrates the viability of the SBT framework. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability benchmarking; sustainable development; lean management; six-sigma; life cycle assessment sustainability benchmarking; sustainable development; lean management; six-sigma; life cycle assessment
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Tasdemir, C.; Gazo, R. Validation of Sustainability Benchmarking Tool in the Context of Value-Added Wood Products Manufacturing Activities. Sustainability 2019, 11, 2361.

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