Analyzing sustainable manufacturing practices: A case study in Indian context

Madan Shankar, Devika Kannan, P Udhaya Kumar

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Rising advancements in manufacturing sectors force manufacturers to rethink and redesign their existing systems in order to cope with the challenges that emerged with globalization and environmental concerns. An increase in customer awareness and pressures from stakeholders shifted manufacturers' focus; no longer were financial benefits the primary concern in the contemporary business environment. As a result, many innovative strategies were brought into the realm of manufacturing systems, such as lean, green, agile, and sustainable manufacturing practices. Sustainable manufacturing has been praised in recent years for its significant benefits directed at triple bottom line factors (social, environmental, and financial), but the majority of manufacturing strategies remain limited to either one or two factors. No reliable guidelines exist to guarantee the successful implementation of sustainable manufacturing; available literature fails to explore such a complex research topic. Minding this gap, this study takes the opportunity to analyze and identify effective sustainable manufacturing practices that may help in a specific domain. This study proposes a framework to achieve the research aim in an Indian context, where sustainability issues are especially relevant. Initially, the common sustainable manufacturing practices are collected from literature resources and validated with focus groups. Then, the collected practices are compared with one another with the assistance of case industry decision makers. To analyze the practices, a multi-criteria decision making methodology was adopted, specifically DEMATEL. From the case results, we determine that among 22 common sustainable manufacturing practices, promoting 6R (reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, redesign, and remanufacture) concepts reveals the greatest influence on implementation. Clearly, focusing on 6R concepts will effectively improve sustainable manufacturing implementation in the organization. Finally, this study sheds some light on the future opportunities hidden in this research area by providing contributions towards both scientific and social means.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Pages (from-to)1332-1343
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Indian context
  • MCDM
  • Sustainable manufacturing practices


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