4. Set up a preventive maintenance schedule
Machines that break down in the middle of production add unnecessary delays in your manufacturing process and additional operating expenses in the form of repairs.
As they say, prevention is better than cure. So, a preventive maintenance schedule that allows you to perform regular maintenance activities can prevent the unexpected breakdown of your machinery — ensuring that your production process continues uninterrupted.
5. Optimize your shop floor
Imagine your shop floor not knowing about the modifications to the order that your customer requested.
In the worst case, this could mean that the product ends up in the trash, and you have to make a new one all over again. A paper-based communication system could lead to mistakes and waste like these. Or imagine a technician having to walk around the shop floor looking for a specific tool to complete a job.
This delays order fulfillment and frustrates your workforce, leading to higher attrition rates.
Having effective and fast communication on the shop floor can unlock value and prevent waste.
With the Katana Shop Floor App, you can add notes to manufacturing orders and track time spent on tasks to optimize the shop floor processes.
6. Reduce packaging
Revisiting how you pack and ship your products could lead you to reduce waste significantly as well.
For example, Apple decided to ship only a cable but not the adapter with its iPhones, starting with the iPhone 12. This allowed it to pack the new iPhones in smaller boxes. This controversial move reduced packaging waste significantly and reportedly increased Apple’s profits by a whopping $6.5 billion.
This shows that at large volumes, even small changes could lead to immense gains in terms of profit and sustainability. So, simple tweaks like switching to recyclable materials or reducing packaging can go a long way.
7. Perform a professional waste audit
A waste audit allows you to analyze your waste streams and find different ways in which you can reduce waste.
Although you can do it yourself, an external audit can set you on a path toward obtaining green certification. So, hiring a professional waste auditing firm might be a worthwhile investment if you get green certification.
8. Invest in processes that can bring about a circular economy
There is a growing movement toward designing eco-friendly products and processes with a large focus on reuse, repair, refurbishing, and recycling. This ensures that your products have a long lifecycle, at the end of which they can be repurposed — preventing them from ending up in a landfill.
You could aim high and invest in production processes that produce zero waste and promote this idea of a circular economy.
9. Get creative
Some byproducts of your manufacturing process that you might deem a waste are probably still valuable. There could be an opportunity to repurpose waste — let’s take a look at an example.
The dairy and cheese industry used to consider whey to be a waste product up until the 1950s. Often large dairy processing plants would pay to dispose of the excess whey. Then along came whey protein, the boom of weight-lifting as a sport, and large-scale market adoption. So, what was earlier considered a waste product is now the raw material for a multi-billion dollar protein supplement industry.
And watch out for holiday wastage
While considering the nine items in our list above, it’s also crucial to consider moments in the year when your business is most at risk of higher wastage – the holidays. These are the big sale events where you’ll see rapidly increasing orders and sky-high demand for faster service at a cheaper price. If you’ve got your waste management in order, you’ll be off to a good start, but if you’re not well-prepared, the sales might hurt your bottom line instead of helping it. Let’s look at the different phases of the year when the holidays come along.
Early year holidays
Beyond potential New Year sales, Valentine’s Day, and days related to your parents, there aren’t so many big banner sale moments in the first part of the year. For some businesses, these won’t even make a dent in day to day life, but if you’re making greetings cards or novelty gifts, they’re big moments.
Make sure you have waste goals set, and look at trends from previous years to help predict your requirements for stock and production so you don’t over-do it, but you’re not hit by a dreaded stock-out either.
It comes a month before perhaps the biggest shopping event of the year, but Black Friday is starting to give Christmas a run for its money. With huge sales across nearly every industry, Black Friday is a moment that shoppers wait for with anticipation. It’s a moment when items hit a great price, and people are ready to yell “Shut up and take my money!” But for manufacturers, Black Friday is a big waste risk.