Exploring the compatibility of lean manufacturing methods and circular economy practices

Project summary

Lean manufacturing has been widely implemented by manufacturing organisations to achieve operational excellence, and in this way meet organisational objectives that include profitability, efficiency, responsiveness, quality and customer satisfaction. Lean methods that enable the achievement of these objectives include just-in-time (JIT), total productive maintenance (TPM), autonomation, value stream mapping (VSM), kaizen/continuous improvement (CI), among others.

However, the rise of concerns for the environment has forced organisations to not only aim at achieving operational excellence but also to rethink how their operations and processes can become more environmentally sustainable. The circular economy (CE) concept is gaining increasing attention as a solution to address the environmental challenges posed by the operations of companies.

CE is an economic framework which is based on the circular flows of products and materials, which promotes the replacement of the traditional linear flow of materials ending up into the landfill, with a new flow where waste becomes food. To enable this, CE relies on different practices that include recycle, refurbish/remanufacture, reuse/distribute, etc. The objective of this research is to conduct an empirical-exploratory study that investigates:

Based on the results, recommendations or a conceptual framework for the effective integration or parallel utilisation of lean and CE will be proposed.

Research cluster

Centre for Supply Chain Improvement

Entry requirements

For our PhD programmes, we normally expect you to have a First or Upper-Second (2:1) honours degree and preferably a masters degree from a UK university or qualifications that we consider to be equivalent.

International students may also need to meet our English language requirements. Find out more about our entry requirements for international students.

Project-specific requirements must align with the University’s standard requirements

How to apply

Please contact Professor Jose Arturo Garza-Reyes (J.Reyes@derby.ac.uk) in the first instance.

The University has four starting points each year for MPhil/PhD programmes (September, January, March and June). Applications should be made at least three months before you would want to start your programme. Please note that if you require a visa additional time will be required.


Self-funded by student. There is a range of options that may be available to you to help you fund your PhD.


Simon's profile pic

Simon is a Lecturer at the University of Derby. He has earned his PhD from the University of Derby, UK; an Executive MBA from Preston University; and an MBA from American University of Central Asia and is now pursing his PhD with focus on Circular Economy. As a growing researcher, he has published in scientific journals, international conferences and a book chapter.