Want to Lessen Manufacturing Waste?
Updated: Jul 28
The manufacturing industry constantly shifts and adapts to technological and societal changes worldwide. Different trends and topics of interest are dictated by what individuals and the public deem as having the utmost importance.
One of the most common conversations in recent years is about climate change. This topic has risen in importance, specifically in the manufacturing industry. Finding ways to sustainably produce goods without leaving a carbon footprint is crucial for the safety of our planet, future generations, and ourselves.
How can the manufacturing industry continue to cater to high demand for certain goods while listening to the call to be more environmentally friendly? Manufacturing is one of the most significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Producing without leaving behind an extensive amount of waste is almost impossible. Being eco-friendly, as mentioned above, could limit the lasting effects this waste will have.
Although it is difficult to eliminate waste, there are still some opportunities to reduce the impact.
The world adapts and reacts to the climate crisis in many different ways.
To be more conscious about the earth and how your company’s waste can negatively affect it, you might consider reducing the amount of trash or litter coming out of the process.
One way to reduce waste on the factory floor and in the supply chain is through a process referred to as Lean Manufacturing. The steps that make up Lean Manufacturing are Value, Value Stream, Flow, Pull, and Perfection. Each will be further explained below. This system was first introduced after World War II for the purpose of cost and waste reduction (tandfonline.com).
Value is the amount customers are inclined to spend on your products or services (kanbanize.com). It can be mapped out to understand the value that people could receive. This is called Value Stream Mapping. You visualize the entire production process, up to the point of shipping (lean.org). The next part of lean manufacturing is called Flow. The previous part was all about visualization. This next part takes that one step further by ensuring the process “flows” seamlessly. You should be able to move through each part of the process quicker while lessening any issues along the way (which could include loss of profit and more). Each of these principles plays off of one another. This includes Pull, which is about demand. If you don’t have evidence of a need for your product, it probably isn’t a good idea to produce a lot or any product. The final part of this method is Perfection, which pertains to analyzing the process to ensure value.
Energy is another resource that can be wasted. According to Reuters, the Energy Information Administration predicted that the amount of energy sold would go up by 1,022 percent in the industrial setting in 2022. Even with this increase, many companies will have trouble switching to a substitute energy source.
Sustainability is something that is a struggle for many companies, not just due to waste reduction.
It costs a lot of money, and older factories may not have been built with sustainability as a goal. Making changes to them to be more efficient could be difficult. This is similar to implementing any new technology in older facilities; there is a learning curve, and many changes need to be made for the adoption to go smoothly. Manufacturers need to be open to large-scale change for real strides toward
sustainability to be made.
The focus on climate change and its effects on our planet has led to this need for more sustainable manufacturing methods.
Another way that some factories attempt to lessen this waste and increase sustainability is by changing the product. For example, a company that produces plastic containers could change the type of materials they use. They were known for making only plastic items but now use recycled or biodegradable materials.
Multiple examples of manufacturers known to use or are planning to use green practices. This includes the car manufacturer BMW. They plan to change the material they use for their wheels and use energy that is better for the planet during the production process. This conversation is set to take place in 2024 (manufacturingdigital.com).
Another problem many companies face regarding sustainability is the loss of productivity. One way to overcome the challenge is by using renewable energy sources. This switch can help to reduce emissions and save money in the long run.
Artificial Intelligence can be used to make progress in your journey to lessening waste. What improvements need to be made? Can any changes be made to your production process? This can all be figured out through the technology we create at CPNET. It allows you to look at your data and decide based on that information. If you are interested in finding out more, feel free to visit our website and reach out if you are interested. We hope you learned sorting about sustainability in this blog post. There is still a lot to learn and discuss related to this topic, which we hope to cover down the line.
Adams, H. S. (2022, April 19). Top 10 Sustainable Manufacturers. Manufacturingdigital.Com. Retrieved July 26, 2022, from https://manufacturingdigital.com/procurement-and-supply-chain/top-10-sustainable-manufacturers
Alefari, M., Almanei, M., & Salonitis, K. (2020, June 3). Lean Manufacturing, Leadership and Employees:The Case of UAE SME Manufacturing Companies. Tandfonline.Com. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/epub/10.1080/21693277.2020.1781704?needAccess=true
What is Value in Lean? (n.d.). Kanbanize.Com. Retrieved July 21, 2022, from https://kanbanize.com/lean-management/value-waste/what-is-value-lean#:~:text=Value%20%E2%80%93%20the%20definition%20of%20value,is%20willing%20to%20pay%20for.
Hermann, C., Schmidt, C., Kurle, D., Blume, S., & Thiede, S. (2022, July 16). Sustainability in Manufacturing and Factories of the Future. Link.Springer.Com. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s40684-014-0034-z.pdf
Reuters. (2022, March 12). U.S. Power Use to Rise in 2022 as Economy Continues to Grow - EIA. Reuters.Com. https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/us-power-use-rise-2022-economy-continues-grow-eia-2022-04-12/#:~:text=EIA%20projected%202022%20power%20sales,1%2C022%20billion%20kWh%20for%20industrials.
2018 Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey. (n.d.). Eia.Gov. https://www.eia.gov/consumption/manufacturing/pdf/MECS%202018%20Results%20Flipbook.pdf
Sustainable Manufacturing. (n.d.). Epa.Gov. https://www.epa.gov/sustainability/sustainable-manufacturing
Principles of Lean Manufacturing. (n.d.). Ascm.Org. https://www.ascm.org/lp/principles-of-lean-manufacturing/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=nb+all+dsa&gclid=CjwKCAjwq5-WBhB7EiwAl-HEkkGRXrVD_7T7eKmZFDOErzBzanUjn-XdwXNR363HWHl5OrHwZi-3exoCq54QAvD_BwE