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Integrating environmental concerns into the design process: the gap between theory and practice

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4 Author(s)
Handfield, R.B. ; Coll. of Bus. Manage., North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC, USA ; Melnyk, S.A. ; Calantone, R.J. ; Curkovic, S.

This paper focuses on the product design process and integration of environmental performance criteria during this critical stage. Specifically, the authors explore environmentally responsible manufacturing (ERM) as perceived and acted on by two critical groups within this design process. The first consists of the champions and supporters of ERM, who either formally or informally act as advocates of ERM within the organization. The second consists of the users of design for environment (DfE) tools and procedures. Typically, these people consist of product designers and design engineers. The authors study these two groups through in-depth interviews with managers and engineers in a sample of ten firms drawn from the “best-in-class” environmental leaders. They found that a large gap exists between the ERM supporters and the users of ERM tools in terms of expectations, perceptions and orientations toward ERM principles, practices and tools. To overcome some of the many obstacles preventing effective integration of environmental criteria into the design process, they conclude with a process map that proposes the following steps: (1) enlisting support of a corporate champion; (2) defining environmental goals; (3) selecting a pilot project; (4) setting product launch goals and evaluation system; (5) enlisting support of team members; (6) providing DfE tools and training; (7) monitoring the project; and (8) celebrating successes

Published in:

Engineering Management, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 2 )