The purpose of this paper is to critically review the green lean approach and highlight its limitations; examine the compatibility of the green, lean and Six Sigma concepts; and propose Six Sigma, and specially its problem-solving methodology DMAIC, as an approach to help enhancing the effectiveness of green lean initiatives. Historically, profitability and efficiency, and more recently customer satisfaction, quality and responsiveness objectives have been the prevailing interest for organisations. However, the move towards greener operations and products has forced companies to seek alternatives to combine these with green objectives and initiatives. Green lean is the result of this combination. Thus, the paper conceptually proposes Green Lean Six Sigma.
To do this, a systematic literature review (SLR) of the subjects under investigation was conducted.
The SLR indicated that the green lean integration may have inherited the same limitations as the individual green and lean approaches, but these may be overcome through the integration of Six Sigma. It also identified the similarities of some of the main attributes of green, lean and Six Sigma, which suggest their compatibility to be unified as an integrated approach.
The paper allows scholars to develop a deeper and richer knowledge on the simultaneous deployment of green and operational improvement initiatives and help practitioners in formulating more effective strategies for their deployment.
The paper is one of the very first researches that investigate the potential benefits of integrating green lean and Six Sigma.
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