There is a growing push across many industries and businesses to provide a more environmentally sustainable way of working. Consumers are looking for eco-friendly products and prefer organisations that work in ways that have lower environmental impacts on our planet.
This is especially true for the furniture industry, which has long been associated with exotic materials and intensive manufacturing processes. Buyers actively look for eco-friendly products for their homes and working environments. The shift towards a more sustainable way of working has grown in significance, as a result of governmental action such as the target of achieving net zero by 2050.
Let’s explore how innovations like eco-design and environmental management systems are helping furniture manufacturers deliver net zero, becoming more aware and adopting sustainable work processes.
How to make your manufacturing process more eco-friendly?
The manufacturing operations of your business are at the forefront of sustainable changes, from streamlining daily tasks to complying with new environmental legislations. There are many tools available for the manufacturing industry to improve and maximise sustainability efforts, but the most powerful tool may be the environmental management systems (EMS).
What is an EMS?
An environmental management system, or EMS, is a framework that you can use to monitor and track your environmental performance. Those that adopt a framework of this type are likely to work in a more sustainable and lean way, as well as taking advantage of a number of benefits such as:
- Helps you design environmental responsibilities for team members
- Identifies areas where waste can be reduced, such as raw materials and waste disposal costs
- Lowers wastage and increases profits
- Creates a transparent framework for auditing
- Lowers the risk of fines due to non-compliance with environmental regulations
- Records and monitors environmental performance
- Certification shows customers that you are committed to environmental sustainability
Additional environmental approaches to consider
Although EMS provide an excellent foundation to build a more sustainable focus in your furniture manufacturing business, there are a few other methods you could consider
- Eco-design: both a principal and an approach that enables you to assess your environmental impact. It allows you to look at your processes and identify areas to eliminate wastage, such as using sustainable materials wherever possible
- Regular inspections: monitoring workplace processes to make sure there is minimum waste can also help. Little changes can often make the biggest impacts, compounding over time, so consider the how in your processes, for example, the how behind the way you cut certain components, and highlight whether or not there are more efficient ways to doing this activity
- Responsible sourcing: with a reputation for using exotic materials, this could go against sustainable practices. Making sure your materials are responsibly sourced can help you to grow customer trust, attract new buyers from groups you might not have considered before and ensures your business is doing all it can to be sustainable
- Remanufacturing and recycling: assess the scope to build in remanufacturing practices to your organisation and understand the impact this has on your wider carbon footprint, are the energy costs lower when compared to new furniture manufacture? It has been shown that recycling can be around 85 to 95% less energy-intensive than the manufacturing processes involved in the creation of new furniture. Moreover, any leftover scraps can be reused, which also improves sustainability efforts
It is understandable that making changes to your workplace operations can seem like a challenge, particularly if you rely on manual processes. This is where a fully integrated ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning, system can help you to not only digitalise and modernise your operations, but the whole process gives you the opportunity to reassess and build new workflows into your existing processes. It can also help you with product configurators, tracking the cost of recycled materials, creating an audit trail that helps you to document and deliver your environmental strategies and optimise processes to maximise raw components and reduce waste.
If your business is in need of a solution that will give you the confidence to achieve future success, if you believe you could benefit from a business review, or if you would simply like to learn more about the integrated end-to-end ERP solutions delivered by WinMan ERP, contact us today for more information
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