What is Green Manufacturing?
Green manufacturing is an approach to manufacturing that takes into account environmental sustainability and aims to minimize the negative effect that manufacturing processes can have on the planet.
By definition, manufacturing means taking raw materials and processing them to make them into a finished end product. There will always be some level of waste in this process, but those companies that adopt green manufacturing principles look for ways to update their systems and processes in order to be more eco-friendly and reduce the amount of waste and pollution they produce.
Benefits of Green Manufacturing
In addition to the obvious benefit of protecting the planet, there are also business and financial benefits that factories that go green are likely to enjoy. These benefits include:
One way to reduce waste is to reduce the amount of raw materials and resources that go into production – by carefully tracking and purchasing only what’s necessary and minimizing scrap parts, costs will be lowered. Implementing energy-saving plans or recycling initiatives, for example, can also reduce costs by lowering electricity bills and spending less on raw materials.
Today’s consumers vote with their wallets and make it clear that environmentally-conscious companies are preferable. Many are willing to pay more for an eco-friendly product, which can also lead to increased profits.
It’s not just consumers that care about a company’s values, but employees as well. In a time of increasing competition for the best talent, going green can help manufacturers attract skilled employees who will remain engaged and committed to the organization for the long term.
The constant push to be better and do better for the environment will lead to the discovery of new ways to improve processes. These innovations, in turn, will result in better productivity, shorter lead times, higher quality goods, and more.
All of the above – cost savings, customer loyalty, employee retention, and increased innovation – will lead to every company’s goal of increased profits.
How to Go Green?
The idea of going green can be overwhelming and leaves many manufacturers unsure of where to begin. It is not a matter of an immediate total overhaul of every process, but there are certain easy steps to take that can have a large impact.
The first step is to analyze the existing workflow to identify the low-hanging fruit and the areas for easy improvement. For example, a thorough analysis of each step in the manufacturing process can reveal where there is waste, whether and where improvements can be made to the supply chain, which machines expend the most energy, and more.
The best way to gather this information is by using a tool like Matics that can collect data from across the production line and provide information on usage, downtime, and more. Customized reports can help managers look for trends and identify the areas where resources can be saved, energy can be reduced, and other steps can be taken to reduce the environmental impact.