The Need for Sustainability in Manufacturing
Consumption of natural resources is set to double by 2050 despite already consuming an equivalent of 1.7 planets. This puts tremendous pressure on governments and policy makers to ensure sustainability in both business and non-business settings. Manufacturers play a huge role in global consumption and are continuing to feel the pressure and demand for sustainability across the industry.
Introducing the Circular Economy
The circular economy is a concept that redefines the traditional approach to manufacturing of take, make and waste to a more sustainable approach of make, use and recycle which not only protects our planet but also maintains profitability for manufacturers in the process. Poor waste management has contributed to huge profit losses for manufacturers, but the circular economy aims to limit this waste, ultimately to zero.
How Can Manufacturers Achieve a Circular Economy?
There are many technologies and software applications which encourage sustainability when implemented correctly.
Intelligent Devices (IoT Internet of Things)
Data that was once unavailable is now accessible through intelligent devices that track, measure and record countless amounts of information to enhance operations and industry knowhow.
For example, manufacturers can monitor conditions within their storage spaces to ensure the longevity and lifespan of stock. Particularly useful in medicine and food production, managing storage conditions reduces the waste produced from temperature-sensitive and controlled-environment products and materials - ultimately reducing revenue losses sustained from lack of visibility in the warehouse. Material accountability is fast becoming one of the main drivers to responsible sustainability. Waste of resources can now be managed through waste management software to provide an accurate view of all waste being produced by the company. By identifying and rectifying manufacturing inefficiencies, management software not only reduces a manufacturers carbon footprint but establishes financial capacity and sustainability for the business.
Big Data and Insights
Accessibility to large volumes of data – also known as Big Data – has enabled manufacturers to gain crucial insight into their day-to-day operations and business. Big Data can also be key to improving resource management practices as it establishes where money and resources are being wasted and at which stage of the production process.
Without Big Data, manufacturers are unable to identify areas of improvement which makes it infinitely more difficult when trying to establish a circular economy to reduce carbon emissions.
Manufacturers can use this data to discover inefficiencies within their business, for example:
- Wasted materials/products
- Production waste
- Energy consumption
- Waste from packaging
- Delivery/logistical consumption
Specific business applications provide manufacturers with a purpose-built system designed to save money, resources and time across the manufacturing process.
Materials Requirements Planning
Referred to as MRP, Materials Requirements Planning, determines exactly how much raw material is required, ensuring minimal waste. MRP can also sync supply with demand to reduce inventories, meaning less materials purchased.
Supply Chain Management
Automation and online transaction capability improves collaboration and visibility with suppliers. Production teams can change a BOM to include recycled and reused materials and new orders will be delivered with the updated requirements.
Bill of Materials
BOM is the first point of call for establishing an eco-friendlier production line. Bill of Materials gives manufacturers complete control of the type of materials purchased. Information can then be utilised to track the amount of recycled materials used in the final product.
Looking to improve the sustainability of your business?
An increasing necessity for a circular economy may mean you need to update certain production processes within your business. Combined with the latest technology, Syscom have a dedicated team of industry-leading experts on hand to support your journey to sustainability.