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Lean Six Sigma for Manufacturing Sustainability: Present Innovation and Future Prospects

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2022) | Viewed by 4269

Special Issue Editors

College of Business, Law and Social Sciences, The University of Derby, Kedleston Road Campus, Derby DE22 1GB, UK
Interests: green lean; sustainable, green and circular supply chains; circular economy; sustainable, green and circular operations
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
1. Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
2. School of Social Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Scotland, UK
Interests: operations excellence; Industry 4.0; sustainable performance; supply chain resilience
National Institute of Technology, Kurkshetra, Haryana 136119, India
Interests: lean six sigma; Industry 4.0; quality engineering; production management; clean technologies
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Industrial, Manufacturing, & Systems Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA
Interests: organizational assessment; performance management; improvement sustainability; lean; Six Sigma; teams
College of Science and Engineering, National University of Ireland, H91 TK33 Galway, Ireland
Interests: Lean Six Sigma; Industry 4.0; Quality 4.0; operational excellence; quality management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Despite a record drop in global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) this year due to the COVID pandemic, worldwide, far from adequate progress is being made, which means GHGs are not in significant decline (Tanaka, Azar et al. 2021). Governments have the capability and the accountability to take decisive actions to accelerate clean energy transitions and put the world on a path to reaching our climate goals, including net-zero emissions. A significant part of those efforts would have to focus on reducing emissions from existing energy infrastructure, such as coal plants, steel mills, and manufacturing industries (IEA 2020). Industries are the one of major contributors to global GHG emissions (nearly one third) that disrupt harmony among the triple bottom line of sustainability (Fragkos 2020). Furthermore, industries are still struggling to integrate sustainability into their businesses, a theme of the Paris pact (Kyoto Protocol) (Henriques and Catarino 2016). Sustainability regularly provides an optimistic balance between social, ecological, and economic prerequisites in the current world. So, the increased interest in cultivating sustainability and environmental conservancy, without compromising profitability and efficiency, has encouraged businesses to implement methods that lead to organizational sustainable development (Mikhno, Koval et al. 2021) Therefore, for the betterment of economic, social, and ecological balance, manufacturing industries are focusing on sustainable growth. Several efforts have been made to integrate sustainability in core business operations due to several international regulations, social responsibilities, or increasing customer interest (Cherrafi, Elfezazi et al. 2016, Salem and Deif 2017). The existence of modern industries depends upon their capability to change with the external environment. Manufacturing organizations have the ability to espouse sustainable methodologies in their core operations (Yacob, Wong et al. 2019).

Meanwhile, Lean Six Sigma (LSS) is a commendable operational excellence approach that has proven its ability well in manufacturing industries since its inception (Laureani and Antony 2021). LSS’s successful implementation provides fewer defects, faster production runs, optimized material handling, improved employee satisfaction, less waste, low rework, and many more advantages (George 2010, Chaurasia, Garg et al. 2019). It is also capable of achieving sustainable products and processes through the simultaneous inclusion of Lean and Green tools (Singh, Rathi et al. 2021). If the goals of LSS are compared with sustainability, a significant overlap is observed (Erdil, Aktas et al. 2018).

In the literature, some efforts have been made toward developing interaction among Lean, Six Sigma and Green metrics towards the sustainable development of organizations. Additionally, some tool sets have been proposed that mitigate negative environmental impacts, carbon foot prints, and advance social dynamics, etc. to improve the sustainable performance of organizations (Kaswan and Rathi 2020). Currently, efforts to achieve sustainability excellence are required in all dimensions of business to stay competitive in the market. This can be achieved by embedding sustainability goals into operational excellence approaches such as LSS. It can be rooted in ongoing LSS continuous improvement programs such as defects reduction, quality improvement, downtime reduction, cost reduction, cycle time reduction, and employee satisfaction. By including one or more sustainability aspect in every improvement project, the adoption of sustainability principles will increase (Garza-Reyes 2015). Consequently, the present Special Issue on ‘Lean Six Sigma for manufacturing sustainability’ aims for a better understanding of LSS implementation from the prospective of the sustainable development of manufacturing firms.

Potential research topics for this Special Issue include, but are not limited to:

  • The effect of LSS implementation on sustainable development;
  • LSS case studies pertaining to sustainable manufacturing;
  • Challenges in the adoption of LSS in the sustainable development context;
  • Readiness for LSS implementation towards manufacturing sustainability;
  • Leadership in sustainable LSS implementation;
  • The effects of LSS implementation on manufacturing performance;
  • The effect of LSS on business environmental sustainability;
  • LSS in zero carbon industries;
  • Implementation measures and a framework of LSS and sustainability;
  • Integration of life cycle thinking with LSS for operational excellence;
  • Novel organizational structures and systems to support LSS and industrial sustainability;
  • Sustainable technology innovation to support operation excellence through LSS interaction;
  • Nexus of LSS and social aspects of sustainability;
  • Strategy for policy making to mitigate emissions through the deployment of sustainable LSS;

Key Dates:
Scholar One opens for submissions 01 Sept 2021
Manuscript Submission Deadline: 28 Feb 2022


Chaurasia, B., et al. (2019). "Lean Six Sigma approach: a strategy to enhance performance of first through time and scrap reduction in an automotive industry."  17(1): 42-57.          

Cherrafi, A., et al. (2016). "The integration of lean manufacturing, Six Sigma and sustainability: A literature review and future research directions for developing a specific model."  139: 828-846.         

Erdil, N. O., et al. (2018). "Embedding sustainability in lean six sigma efforts."  198: 520-529.          

Fragkos, P. J. E. T. (2020). "Global Energy System Transformations to 1.5 C: The Impact of Revised Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Carbon Budgets."  8(9): 2000395.          

Garza-Reyes, J. A. (2015). "Green lean and the need for Six Sigma." International Journal of Lean Six Sigma 6(3): 226-248.          

George, M. O. (2010). The lean six sigma guide to doing more with less: cut costs, reduce waste, and lower your overhead, John Wiley & Sons.          

Henriques, J. and J. J. J. o. C. P. Catarino (2016). "Motivating towards energy efficiency in small and medium enterprises."  139: 42-50.          

IEA (2020). World Energy Outlook.          

Kaswan, M. S. and R. J. E. i. a. r. Rathi (2020). "Green Lean Six Sigma for sustainable development: Integration and framework."  83: 106396.          

Laureani, A. and J. Antony (2021). Leading Lean Six Sigma: Research on Leadership for Operational Excellence Deployment, Emerald Group Publishing.          

Mikhno, I., et al. (2021). "Green economy in sustainable development and improvement of resource efficiency."  10(1): 99-113.          

Salem, A. H. and A. M. J. J. o. C. P. Deif (2017). "Developing a Greenometer for green manufacturing assessment."  154: 413-423.          

Singh, M., et al. (2021). "Analysis and prioritization of Lean Six Sigma enablers with environmental facets using best worst method: A case of Indian MSMEs."  279: 123592.          

Tanaka, K., et al. (2021). "Paris Agreement requires substantial, broad, and sustained engagements beyond COVID-19 recovery packages."          

Yacob, P., et al. (2019). "An empirical investigation of green initiatives and environmental sustainability for manufacturing SMEs." Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management 30(1): 2-25.          

Prof. Dr. Jose Arturo Garza-Reyes
Prof. Dr. Jiju Antony
Dr. Rajeev Rathi
Dr. Jennifer Cross
Dr. Olivia McDermott
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • sustainability
  • LSS
  • future LSS sustainability

Published Papers (1 paper)

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24 pages, 1526 KiB  
Prioritizing Indicators for Sustainability Assessment in Manufacturing Process: An Integrated Approach
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3264; - 10 Mar 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2825
Sustainable manufacturing has renewed attention among researchers to address various sustainability challenges in manufacturing industries. Sustainability assessments of manufacturing organizations help minimize the negative environmental impact and enhance reputation among public and regulatory agencies. To assess the sustainability of the manufacturing process; it [...] Read more.
Sustainable manufacturing has renewed attention among researchers to address various sustainability challenges in manufacturing industries. Sustainability assessments of manufacturing organizations help minimize the negative environmental impact and enhance reputation among public and regulatory agencies. To assess the sustainability of the manufacturing process; it is indispensable to investigate the structured set of triple bottom line (3BL) indicators. Moreover, there is no comprehensive and structured set of 3BL indicators that can effectively assess the sustainability of any organization’s manufacturing process. This research aims to identify and prioritize experts’ consensus structured set of 3BL indicators. The 3BL indicators were identified through an open-ended questionnaire. The prioritization was performed through the Best-Worst Scaling (BWS) approach. Further, Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) method was utilized to draw the consensus ranking of sustainability indicators in manufacturing. The findings indicated that the release of greenhouse/harmful gas is the best indicator in the perspective of environmental criteria followed by the rate of contribution to society and operational cost are the most important critical indicator in the case of social and economic sustainability criteria. The outcome of the present study will facilitate researchers and practitioners in developing suitable readiness and operational plans for the sustainability assessment of the manufacturing process. Full article
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