VW: Sustainable Production an Advantage

Prof.

Prof. Werner Neubauer, member of the Volkswagen Board of Management with responsibility for Components: “Sustainable, efficient production is a clear competitive advantage.”

Sure, everyone knows that “efficient production” is advantageous—why all of the development of “[fill in the blank] Production Systems” otherwise?—but “sustainable”?

Think about it. The Toyota Production System is against muda—waste. And sustainable operations, in part, are addressing waste in various forms.

Volkswagen has announced that by 2018 the environmental impact of all of its plants will be reduced by 25%.

This means energy consumption. Waste volumes. Air-borne emissions. Water consumption. And carbon dioxide emissions.

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VW Assembly Plant in Chattanooga: So Green Its Platinum

It is calling its initiative “Think Blue. Factory.”

“Think Blue” is a marketing initiative that VW rolled out mid-2011 for its fuel-efficient lineup of vehicles. It is to echo the “Think Small” campaign of the 1960s. But “Blue” signifies “environment.”

Now it is taking that thinking to the production operations.

And it is showing progress. Its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the Passat is being built, is the first factory in the world to receive platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.