Contributions of Lean Thinking Principles to Foster Industry 4.0 and Sustainable Development Goals

  • Victor BittencourtEmail author
  • Felipe Saldanha
  • Anabela Carvalho Alves
  • Celina Pinto Leão


Have you ever noticed that during a production process, unecessary waste occurs, or excessive time is spent in particular areas? Or have you ever encountered a situation in your work environment where a machine could be performing manual labor, while human time would be better spent in other situations? These questions are related to two current chains of thoughts: (1) Lean Thinking and (2) The Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0. The first question has been answered by the Lean Thinking philosophy, which has been used since the 1940s by Toyota factories in Japan. Lean Thinking is a form of thinking that seeks to reduce what is called waste in a value stream. The Fourth Industrial Revolution assists in answering the second question since it is based on the automation of production and the integration of sectors of an industry, among several other purposes. This chapter aims to clarify the integration of both chains and, at the same time, to demystify any emerging doubts such as: Would Industry 4.0 be responsible for the end of Lean, or would Lean mentality be the key for companies to succeed in this new industrial revolution? To answer these questions a systematic literature review has been developed. Some findings indicate that the integration of both concepts has resulted in a synergetic relationship benefiting companies and contributing directly to three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 8—Decent Work and Economic Growth, Goal 9—Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, and Goal 12—Responsible Consumption and Production.



This work has been supported by COMPETE: POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007043 and FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia within the Project Scope: UID/CEC/00319/2013.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1. Department of Production and Systems, School of Engineering, ALGORITMI R&D CenterUniversity of MinhoGuimarãesPortugal

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