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School hosts inaugural ‘lean and green’ conference

9 February 2016

Cardiff Business School’s Postgraduate Teaching Centre hosted the first annual iLEGO (Innovation in Lean Enterprise and Green Operations) conference on Tuesday 26 January 2016.

The conference was organised by Dr Maneesh Kumar and Dr Vasco Sanchez Rodrigues of the Logistics and Operations Management Section.

The ambition for iLEGO was to bring together delegates from different sectors to share best practice and discuss the challenges faced in creating innovation capability within the workplace and supply chain through Lean and Green initiatives.

Professor Martin Kitchener, Dean of Cardiff Business School, opened proceedings for the first iLEGO conference highlighting how it aligned with the School’s Public Value strategy. The School recognises that it has a responsibility to deliver economic value, but is also committed to delivering social value. Its research is directed to address the grand challenges of contemporary society, such as climate change and the need for environmental sustainability.

More than 40 delegates from multiple business sectors, attended the session held in the Executive Education suite. Presentations were delivered by representatives from organisations including Procter & Gamble, Innocent, GE Healthcare and Costain, while workshops and a panel discussion closed the day.

  • Dr Paul Michael and Dr Mike Cooper, from GE Healthcare discussed how they drive innovation within their product development process by adopting a lean start up approach.
  • Sergio Barbarino, a Research Fellow from Procter and Gamble, spoke about a revolutionary way to collaborate within supply chains through the modularisation of goods which travel by road and train. Modularisation has been hugely successful within shipping and application within road and train logistics could save energy and help protect the environment
  • Innocent’s Charlotte Cawthorne and Roslyn Cameron, demonstrated how their work has delivered significant cost savings for the food producers that supply the company whilst also delivering major environmental benefits. Innocent’s work in Spain’s Donana National Park, to reduce the water demands of Strawberry farming, and also work in India to help mango farmers increase their yields by 25% in the face of climate change, were presented to the delegates.
  • Andy Fielding, Performance Manager at Costain, delivered a presentation on the importance of collaborative working within Factory Thinking, which has helped the company to improve communication with sub-contractors and finish projects on time.
  • Neil Trivedi, from The Perfect Process Company, provided insight from the book The Green Factory that maturity in Lean implementation helps in achieving Green metrics and target.

Dr Maneesh Kumar and Dr Vasco Sanchez Rodrigues used the conference to inform their future research agenda. They conducted a workshop which looked at how an organisation can balance its lean and green journey, and what role innovation plays in aligning green and lean initiatives in an organisation and its supply chain.

Dr Kumar said of the event: “This was a great start to what we expect to become an annual event in the lean and green arena. I’d like to thank the many delegates who attended and the speakers who shared their expertise, insight and experience with us. What the day has proved is that there are diverse ways in which to implement innovation, lean enterprise and green initiatives within an organisation and its supply chain but that regardless of the method, the results are the same. Improved efficiency and a positive environmental impact. I would also like to thank the Executive Education team for supporting this event and helping to deliver it so successfully.”

The conference culminated in a lively Q&A which followed up on many of the day’s major themes. Delegates responded well to the diversity of the presentations and real life cases of lean and green implementation in different sectors.

iLEGO will be an annual conference while the iLEGO project plans to undertake applied research initiatives in the future, which include co-funded company-based PhD and Knowledge Transfer Projects and summer internships for graduates.