These days, all things green are occupying a most important place in the public consciousness, and those same core issues manufacturers have been dealing with eternally; pollution prevention, energy use and waste reduction, supply chain management and environmental compliance reporting have been given a green makeover. Now everybody, from your most valued suppliers to your major customers down to your employees, shareholders and consumers, is demanding that you decrease your global footprint and that’s not even taking into account the footprint looming government regulation may leave on your income statement.
In the manufacturing world, it is advantageous to focus on both green and sustainability. While targeted improvements can be beneficial to the company, looking at the “better picture” maximizes the perks of an environmental focus.
Here are five critical ways to embrace sustainability and continuous improvement approach for progress in green manufacturing journey:
1. Attract New Customers and Increase Sales
Green and sustainable practices can make your company more marketable. Consumers are more conscious of the environment, and making improvements will strengthen your reputation. Whether you’re an OEM or a supplier, highlighting your initiatives to the public will help you attract a whole new base of clients, resulting in increased and better sales. This is important to manufacturers seeking government contracts where green manufacturing standards are often an aspect.
Technology and social media have enabled buyers to easily as well as publicly promote or even criticize companies for their green practices, or lack thereof.
2. Reduce Energy-Related Costs
Energy and water costs are a prime concern for manufacturers. Focusing on improvements can reduce these expenses. Often, these improvements are realized as annual savings as opposed to quicker, short-term cost reductions. Switching to energy-efficient lighting and adjusting lighting levels in accordance with your production schedule will reduce your long-term electrical costs. Regular equipment inspections will also prove beneficial. For example, air compressor leaks can be a waste of energy and increase expenses. Changing how you package your products and supplies can provide cost reductions and free up space at your facility. Solar and wind energy, along with energy efficient equipment and machinery, will greatly reduce monthly utility bills. Implementing strategies such as recycling and going paperless will also save on supply costs. Sustainability can improve your bottom-line.
3. Tax Incentives
There are a variety of tax credits and rebates on both the federal and state level for manufacturers who proactively implement more sustainable improvements. There may be incentives available to your business.
4. Boost Workforce Morale and Innovations
Sustainability improvements are a collaborative effort. When employees work together to identify and implement green and sustainable initiatives, it fosters a culture of teamwork and continuous improvement. Employees work harder when they are engaged and have a sense of pride in their company. By internally communicating the importance of changes and the impact they are having on the business and environment, manufacturers will positively influence their corporate culture.
Sustainability can also ignite innovation. For example, if you challenge your engineers and machinists to reduce material scraps or recycle more waste during the manufacturing process, it often leads to additional ideas for operational improvements.
5. Societal Impact In addition to helping your company’s profitability, your actions can make a real difference. By implementing changes, you will have a smaller carbon footprint and reduce the number of toxins released into the atmosphere. The Future generations ultimately benefit from improved air and water quality, fewer landfills and more renewable energy sources.