6 ways manufacturers can reduce production waste

Posted by Jonathan Davies on 26 Mar


There is a growing movement towards minimising waste and enhancing environmental credentials. Companies are increasingly showcasing how they are ‘going green’, and marketing themselves as operations that care about the planet, want to do things ‘better’, are worthy of the trust and praise of their customers and – therefore – are superior to their competitors.

So, with that in mind, what can manufacturers do to minimise their environmental impact? How can they reduce production waste while, at the same time, ensuring that business remains strong and profits remain high?

Reduce packaging

One way that businesses can reduce the amount of waste they produce is by minimising the materials used in packaging for the finished products. This could involve a packaging redesign to reduce the materials used or sourcing more environmentally friendly packaging or suppliers.

Embrace the circular economy

If you want to reduce waste over the long-term then embracing the circular economy is crucial. The circular economy is a system that is designed with sustainability at its core. It is all about crafting products, processes and logistical methods that reduce – as far as is possible – waste and pollution. Ensuring that items and materials can be used numerous times and helps to regenerate and refresh the natural environment. Such a circular approach is going to become more necessary as resources become scarcer, so by embracing it as soon as possible, your company can be well ahead of the game.

Label and organise correctly

If everything you have is logged accurately and can be found quickly, you will be able to save time and ensure that your overall operation becomes smoother. Being fully aware of what products you have in stock will not only ensure that you will be fully aware of when you need to refresh your supplies, but it will ensure that should a customer make a purchase, you send them the right thing the first time promptly.

Take a closed-loop approach

If you are already embracing the idea of a circular economy, then the next step is to adopt a closed-loop mindset. This means the business works towards minimising waste and for any unavoidable waste think of ways it can be utilised differently, either as packaging, a fuel source or combined with other materials to create a new product. Such an approach requires smart thinking and a lot of planning, but when done correctly it will not only cut waste but could save a lot of money.

Minimise water usage

Cutting out unnecessary water use is one of the easiest ways to increase a business’ ability to embrace sustainable manufacturing and reduce their carbon footprint. Take the time to figure out exactly how much water is required for certain processes and ensure that you aren’t using too much. Also, by encouraging members of staff to refill water bottles rather than buy single-use plastics, you can help the environment and cut down your wider business’ environmental impact.

Assess your whole supply chain

Is your supply chain as efficient as it could be? Are the delivery vehicles full when they go out or are, they half empty? Are we taking the optimal delivery routes? Could you source suppliers that are geographically closer to your premises to reduce emissions within the supply chain? Are you been sent products that come with too much packaging? Could you introduce paperless manufacturing? Looking at all areas of your supply chain can massively enhance your ability to cut waste and reduce emissions. It will take time and lots of effort, but the impact could not only help the environment but, could help improve profits too.

Topics: Manufacturing, Lean Manufacturing, Business Efficiency, Productivity

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