Green Manufacturing: Ensure the Survival of Your Business
It’s time to get serious for a second.
Doesn’t it feel like the world is turning crazy?
Every time you turn on the news, all you hear about is how polarized politics is dividing countries across the planet.
And if your country doesn’t succumb to the turmoil and hysteria that seems to have gripped everyone, you're more than likely going to experience the wrath of global warming instead.
Jeez, this is depressing. Is there any hope in sight?
Luckily for us, it isn’t all doom and gloom, at least when it comes to tackling a rising climate anyway.
Green manufacturing is a process all manufacturers can adopt to do their part in curbing the effects felt by man-made environmental disasters.
Green manufacturing also referred to as green production, is when manufacturing companies (regardless of scale) look to upgrade any outdated forms of production and opt for more environmental manufacturing solutions which reduce the amount of waste they produce instead.
Instantly, manufacturing has connotations of big factories pouring chemicals into our rivers and shooting plumes of soot into the air.
You’re even possibly scoffing, “Pfft, I make handmade leather handbags, it’s the big corporations who need to clean up!”
However, if you produce waste, even if it's just a few strips of leather, when you finish a product, where do you think the leftovers go?
According to a CBS poll, 70% of Americans believe human activity contributes to climate change, and 56% believe we should act now to tackle it.
Meaning it’s not just good for the environment, but good for your business to go green manufacturing as consumers are increasingly only shopping with businesses who practice responsible manufacturing.
If you want to be a part of the solution, then read on to learn more about the process of green production, how you can start eco-friendly manufacturing, and how to implement it into your business.
PRO TIP: If you want to expedite your journey on the road to becoming a green manufacturing company, then you can get a head start by learning how to calculate raw materials to see if you can reduce the amount of waste you stock.
So, without further ado, let’s get mean and green!
What Is Green Manufacturing?
Green manufacturing defined is the process of establishing eco-friendly manufacturing production practices into your business and taking advantage of renewable resources to build your products.
According to current manufacturing trends and predictions, it’s a practice that’s growing in popularity among product-making businesses and consumers, with business partners and shoppers turning their backs on manufacturers who aren’t refining their processes for the good of the environment.
The main goals of becoming a green manufacturing company are to:
— Use fewer natural resources;
— Reduce pollution and waste;
— Recycle and reuse materials; and
— Moderate their emissions during production.
This requires anyone wanting to go green manufacturing to research, develop, or implement smart technologies to help them determine the best practices to lower their impact on the environment.
However, for the big powerhouses who can generate their own electricity, heat, or fuel from within their factories (this could be from wind, biomass, geothermal, solar, ocean, hydropower, landfill gases, and municipal solid waste).
Then the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that workers at these green energy manufacturing businesses must have specific training to handle these processes.
So quickly, for this article, we’ll focus on the scaling manufacturers.
But, you’re probably curious...
How Will Green Manufacturing Benefit My Business?
Well, other than the sense of pride you’ll feel from saving the planet and keeping it habitable for all living things, there are also smart financial rewards to reap when you go green manufacturing, you’ll be happy to know.
If you follow the green manufacturing definition properly, you can expect to see:
— Lower material costs;
— Decreased overhead expenses;
— Increased employee morale;
— Reduced downtime; and
— Job creation (admittedly, this last point is circumstantial to how your business adapts to a green production model).
But not only that, if you publicly declare your commitment to protecting the environment, you can expect to see your brand become a trusted manufacturer and bring in ethically conscious shoppers.
Sounds great right? But slow down, don’t run into your factory floor and start rearranging everything just yet, let’s take a moment to see how we can take our understanding of the green manufacturing definition and put it into practice.
How to Get Started with Green Manufacturing
There are numerous tangible steps you can take to begin your green production journey.
You can begin by starting your analysis of your manufacturing workflow:
— Are your processes wasteful?
— Can your supply chain be improved?
— Can your customer base help you go green manufacturing?
Whichever area of your business you decide to improve first you need to be looking into how you can produce sustainable eco-friendly materials, decarbonize energy, perform a PLCM on your products to extend its life cycle and take advantage of technology that can help you handle your manufacturing inventory management to achieve a “zero waste to landfill” framework.
Often referred to as cradle to cradle.
If you use the term cradle to cradle, you just simply need to imagine what happens to your product from its creation to the moment it doesn’t provide any more value.
For instance, we mentioned earlier that one of the areas you could improve is your customer base, and you may have titled your head like, “How can they make me greener?”
Well, it could be as simple as incorporating green packaging, for example, wheat straw packaging – something which can lead to saving 40% in energy and a 90% reduction in water.
Or perhaps you can initiate an arrangement with your customers in which if they, unfortunately, want to part with your products, they can send it back to you so you can repurpose the components.
Take, for example, Keap - a candle manufacturer, featured in the 10 Best Shopify Stores – they’ve purposefully designed the glass that encases the candles to be repurposed as drinking glasses so their customers can keep a hold of them or send them back so the company can use the glass in production again.
Manufacturing always makes use of raw materials, and for a lot of processes, not all the parts of raw materials are needed. Most manufacturers only need some of the raw material they have in stock, and the rest is thrown away.
And unfortunately, the discarded raw material can be harmful to the environment. If you want to go green manufacturing, make use of leftovers, and dispose of them appropriately or consider finding a greener alternative.
Can you recycle or reuse your raw material? And if not, are there any other companies that can take advantage of your waste? Such as how peanut butter manufacturers ship their discarded waste to farms for animal feed, as explained in our article on continuous manufacturing.
Once you determine what you can improve to achieve green manufacturing, then you need to find a tool that can help you reach your targets when reducing waste.
PRO TIP: We’ve mostly talked about raw material usage, but another way of reducing your impact on the environment is to refine your production processes. Which it’s why it’s important to find a smart tool which can help you schedule and monitor your production planning for a greener workflow.
Smart Manufacturing Software for Green Manufacturing
We tend to underestimate how far we’ve come from the industrial revolution, and we think finding a system that can help our factories become green will only be capable of future green technology.
Yes, maybe eventually our future green technology will come in the form of AI that has surpassed human intelligence... gulp.
But, until then, there are tools on the market that can help you track your inventory and production to easily understand what your company needs to do to transform into a green manufacturing company.
And that’s where Katana comes into play, the smart manufacturing software designed by manufacturers, for manufacturers.
Katana allows you to centralize your entire business, from sales to production, onto one ridiculously easy to read, visual dashboard. Meaning you can quickly identify the most wasteful elements along your manufacturing process and make the appropriate arrangements to improve those processes.
Katana can effortlessly help you convert your factory over to a green production with its:
Smart Auto-Booking Engine
The auto-booking engine is a must for any business looking to become a green manufacturing company. Quite simply, Katana will autonomously take any available stock, and automatically allocate them to open orders. If a product is not available, Katana will show you what materials needed to create that product are missing.
Raw Materials and Finished Goods Inventory Management
The bane of every manufacturer, green or not, is raw material management. Therefore, you want a tool with the capabilities of tracking your inventories movements, which will help you in identifying any potential dead stock so you can remove it from your inventory.
Also, you can use it to figure out which material is being used the most, set reorder points, so you don’t run out of stock during a rush and develop a plan to make the most out of any leftovers.
Priority-Based Production Planning
Finally, our nifty drag-and-drop feature allows green manufacturers to easily reorganize their schedule. Just by simply changing the order in which you tackle projects, Katana will calculate and show you the new predicted completion times.
Better still, Katana will redistribute your inventory to fit the new schedule, so you can fulfill orders as soon as possible, as efficiently as possible.
Check out the short video below for a better understanding of how Katana can serve any business wanting to go green manufacturing.
Regardless of how you feel about eco-friendly manufacturing, you’re going to need to eventually consider investing in future green technology.
Even if you don’t believe global warming affects you, your customers certainly do!
If customers find out you’re not trying to reduce your company's impact on the environment, it will damage your reputation, turning potential customers away, and finally compromise your businesses chance of making a sale.
So, why not see what you can do to attempt green manufacturing? Even if it’s just taking better care of your raw materials! Katana offers a 14-day trial so you can see for yourself in which areas your business can be improved.
We hope you found this article useful and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
And until next time, happy manufacturing.