What is sustainable manufacturing? Put simply, it defines processes that minimise a plant’s overall environmental impact. Once regarded as rather niche, sustainable practices are becoming widely adopted. Here are five reasons why embracing sustainable manufacturing is growing in popularity:
1. It can create a Unique Selling Point
Climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions continue to dominate the environmental agenda: sustainability is here to stay. Did you know that millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, makes up most of today’s workforce? They are also the generation that is most committed to implementing sustainable goals, according to Forbes research. Becoming a sustainable manufacturer could therefore give you an edge in attracting new customers in this highly competitive industry.
2. It can reduce energy costs
The manufacturing industry is not only highly competitive it’s also energy intensive. By embracing sustainable manufacturing you are consciously taking steps to improve your efficiency and reduce waste, which over time will save you cold hard cash. One way of achieving this is by doing an energy audit.
By defining your plant’s unique energy footprint you’ll be able to take steps towards to minimise energy consumption. Whether it be switching your lightbulbs to more energy-efficient ones or training staff in energy best practices, it will help improve your efficiency efforts for years to come.
3. It can improve productivity
The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the manufacturing sector to evolve operations faster than ever before, in the process creating new levels of digital insights. It’s therefore the perfect time to improve your plant’s capabilities by leveraging this data. This will help make processes more sustainable by enabling you to optimise system utilisation, enhancing manufacturing resilience and flexibility.
4. It can attract governmental funding
Sometimes the barriers to upgrading processes to become more sustainable comes down to one thing: funding. Governments around the world understand this; that’s why many offer incentives in the form of tax breaks, rebates and grants. In addition to saving you costs, deciding to become more sustainable could mean a cash injection for our business.
5. It can boost staff retention and well-being
Manufacturing plants have a large turnover, costing them hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars. It is no secret that happy workers feel more loyal to their businesses and will tend to contribute more innovative ideas, so the feelgood component of working for a company that makes a difference should not be overlooked. Becoming sustainable could not only save you thousands in recruitment, it could improve productivity, too.
As you can see, sustainability in manufacturing is a multi-step process – from reduced energy consumption to enhanced employee engagement. However, if done right the investment involved can yield multiple returns. And in an increasingly competitive business environment those gains cannot be overlooked.