The manufacturing industry is changing and new trends are shifting the way manufacturing companies operate their facilities. In addition, manufacturing companies are looking to become more sustainable in their operations. There are a variety of ways that the inventory manufacturing industry can welcome sustainability, for example looking at their production workflow and deciding if there are any inputs that can be reduced. Their warehouse and inventory manufacturing facilities can also be more sustainable through improved efficiency, and look to create products that are environmentally friendly.
Sustainability can be a big task. If an inventory manufacturing company wants to put in sustainability efforts, it may be hard to know where to start. It’s important to realise that sustainability doesn’t need to be an overwhelming journey. Companies big and small can make initiatives of any size that contribute towards sustainability. When looking to make a change, it’s necessary to step back and analyse where you can make improvements.
Analyse production inputs
By taking a closer look at what is going into your products, you can analyse materials to see if there are more sustainable alternatives. If the business is using materials that doesn’t break down easily or are toxic to the environment, look for alternative options. Making sure your employees are not exposed to hazardous chemicals is extremely important. These chemicals can have long term impacts on your staff, your company and your consumers. Moreover, using sustainable materials will benefit the environment in the long run too!
Reduce production waste
Companies can also look to reduce their amount of waste during production. Design and manufacturing engineers can further optimise how a product is cut so minimal material is left after the assembly process. If possible, look to recycle or reuse off cuts of material. See if they can be broken down, melted, or composted. You can also reduce waste by only using as much of something as needed. For instance, if you overestimate how much paint you need, you will end up spending more on materials and being wasteful as well. Fine-tune your production so that material use is carefully managed.
Look at renewable energy options
Just like investing in a great inventory management system, investing in sustainability will have a great return on investment. One of the biggest sustainability efforts a manufacturing company can make is a switch to renewable energy option. Of course this switch will be better for the environment, but it can be a costly undertaking to get there. Although there is a substantial up-front cost, it is an investment into the company’s future and the environment’s future.
Depending on where the company is based, there might be subsidies, low-interest loans or tax refund schemes for companies who invest in renewable energy. Don’t be discouraged by the up-front costs as renewable energy has the potential to pay off in the long run. For instance, the cost of implementing solar energy is becoming more affordable every year. Not only is it great for the environment, but it is good for your long-term savings as a company.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.