Development of the Life Cycle Management Capability Maturity Model

The life cycle management capability maturity model (LCM CMM) was based on a model developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to guide enterprises implementing lean production practices (Nightingale and Mize 2002). Researchers, academics, consultants and business managers had developed a broad vision of the values, behaviors and practices that constituted a lean enterprise (Womak and Jones 2003). However, practitioners were faced with a confusing array of principles, tools and practices, but no help on the order or precedence to implementing various best practices in a cohesive management system. These same considerations describe the current challenge of deploying sustainability across global supply chains.

The LCM CMM was structured into three broad categories. Leadership processes set the direction for the organization and determine if there is sufficient motivation and organizational support to successfully achieve the stated goals. Life cycle processes provide operational excellence to design, build, deliver and support product offerings in a safe, clean, equitable and profitable manner. Enabling infrastructure assures resources are in place over the long-term to successfully implement the defined strategy. The intent is to accelerate learning by defining a logical sequence of skill-building improvement projects that gradually build robust decision-making processes necessary for effective implementation of LCM. The model is summarized in Table 17.1.

The LCM CMM framework simply expands the concept of customer to include other interested stakeholders and the 'voice of the environment' and looks beyond the immediate financial and efficiency goals to continually assess how the value chain is meeting the broader needs of civil society and preserving its resiliency to adapt to external disruptions (Hart and Milstein 2003). Building on lean concepts

Table 17.1 Life cycle management capability maturity model (LCM CMM)

Maturity level


of concern


Appropriate projects


Project or facility

Binary yes-no compliance; wastes

Basic work procedures/skills, unit process improvements, waste minimization



Process inputs/outputs; eco-efficiency

Interconnected processes, pollution prevention, process redesign, collaboration with key supplier

or customer


Value chain

LCA; cradle-to-grave

Eco-design, enterprise-wide initiative, value chain collaborations



Sustainability, resiliency indices

Public-private partnerships, community development outreach, public policy reform

was also intended to leverage any previous investments in lean methods and to ally with the quality function within the company. A questionnaire [1] was developed that provided diagnostic questions for key processes, along with example practices that described the various maturity levels.

In May 2013, the initiative announced a call for proposals from companies “interested in implementing a project which adopts life cycle thinking in their business management and operation”. The proposal application required companies to conduct a maturity self-assessment and propose improvement projects to advance both life cycle and business objectives. Applicant companies identified a “LCM CMM coach” to help with the maturity assessment and the eventual implementation of identified projects. There was no requirement that coaches had previous training in the LCM CMM, and training materials that were developed in earlier phases of the LCI were made available to support their preparation of proposals (Swarr et al. 2011). In addition, UNEP/SETAC contracted a “mentor” to provide remote technical support to the coaches. Eight projects were selected from 22 applications and were awarded small grants to help implement the life cycle based improvement projects (UNEP/SETAC 2013b).

  • [1] A copy of the questionnaire and an accompanying workbook are available at pe/media/2360/20130211-4 cmm_workbook_ilcm2012_s valdivia.pdf (Accessed 24 Feb 2015)
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