Current industrial production is driven by increasing globalization, which has led to a steady increase in production volumes and complexity of products aimed at the pursuit of meeting the needs of customers. In this context, one of the main tools in the management
[...] Read more.
Current industrial production is driven by increasing globalization, which has led to a steady increase in production volumes and complexity of products aimed at the pursuit of meeting the needs of customers. In this context, one of the main tools in the management of customer value is Lean Manufacturing or Production, though it is considered primarily as a set of tools to reduce the total cost of the resources needed to achieve such needs. This philosophy has recently been enriched in the literature with case studies that link Lean Management (LM) with the improvement of environmental sustainability. The consequence is an expansion of the Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM); indeed, CIM, currently, combining and integrating the key business functions (e.g., business, engineering, manufacturing, and information management) with a view of the life cycle, does not highlight the strategic role of the environmental aspects. In order to deal with the increasingly rapid environmental degradation that is reflected in society, in terms of both economy and quality of life, Industrial Ecology (IE) introduced a new paradigm of principles and instruments of analysis and decision support (e.g., Life Cycle Assessment—LCA, Social Life Cycle Assessment -SLCA, Material Flow Account—MFA, etc.
) that can be considered as the main basis for integrating the environmental aspects in each strategy, design, production, final product, and end of life management, through the re-engineering of processes and activities towards the development of an eco-industrial system. This paper presents the preliminary observations based on a analysis of both theories (LM-IE) and provides a possible assessment of the key factors relevant to their integration in a “lean environmental management”, highlighting both positives (lights) and possible barriers (shadows).