Manufacturing businesses must address environmental challenges if they are to survive. Here are a few important issues they need to tackle.
All businesses have a responsibility to reduce their impact on the environment, but this is easier in some industries than it is in others. For some businesses, going green means changing the packaging that they use for their products and making an effort to cut energy usage around the office, which isn’t that difficult. But for businesses in the manufacturing industry, there are much larger problems that need to be overcome. In many cases, manufacturing businesses need to completely restructure their operation and make large scale changes to a lot of their processes. Although this is likely to be expensive, it is important that your business modernizes and keeps up with green initiatives because consumers are increasingly interested in the environmental responsibility of businesses that they deal with. If you do not make an effort to reduce your impact on the environment, this will have a big impact on sales.
These are some of the most important environmental issues that manufacturing businesses need to tackle.
Energy usage is an issue for all businesses, but manufacturing companies use a huge amount of electricity compared with a smaller business that operates out of an office. Simple initiatives are not enough to reduce your energy usage in a meaningful way because the majority of the energy is used by manufacturing equipment. One of the best ways to cut energy usage is to upgrade your equipment. Just like the appliances in your home, modern manufacturing equipment is far more energy-efficient than old equipment and it will use a lot less electricity. Although upgrading is a big expense, it will make your business a lot greener and you will save money on your energy bills in the long term. Newer equipment also has better safety features so you can improve health and safety in the business as well.
As well as upgrading your equipment, you should also conduct an energy audit of your manufacturing operation to help you identify waste. This will help you to determine areas where you could be more efficient with your energy usage. This should be done on a regular basis so you can make continuous changes and ensure that you are always being as energy efficient as possible.
Unfortunately, regardless of how many changes you make, manufacturing businesses will always use a lot of energy and there is no way to get around that. Reducing your energy usage as much as possible is important, but you also need to consider how you source your energy. There are a lot of energy providers that get all of their electricity from renewable sources so you should consider switching. If you can power your manufacturing business on renewable energy alone, that goes a long way to reducing your impact on the environment. This is a good thing to feature in your marketing campaigns as well because it will play well with consumers.
Shipping finished products to clients poses a big environmental issue as well. Heavy duty trucks that run on petrol or diesel create a lot of carbon emissions, and this can offset all of the good work that you are doing by reducing energy usage in your manufacturing operation. If you want to go green, you need to make some big changes to your shipping operation as well. Investing in electric vehicles may be an option but this is a big expense and the technology is still developing. In a decade, when electric vehicle technology is more advanced, this is more feasible, but for now, you may want to consider other methods.
Shortening the routes that your drivers take can cut fuel consumption and reduce carbon emissions in a big way. If you are not already using it, you should invest in route planning software. This will analyze the routes that your drivers are currently taking and find more efficient routes for them. This means that you can get shipments out to your clients faster and you will save money on fuel, all while reducing your impact on the environment.
You should also consider the type of fuel that you are using and see whether you can switch to a greener alternative. Biodiesel is a sustainable form of fuel made from plant and animal matter which can be used in any diesel engine. If you are looking for a simple way to make your shipping operation greener, switching to biodiesel is a great option.
Many manufacturing processes require the use of chemicals that can be harmful to the environment and it is important that you manage these substances in the right way. If possible, you should look to see if there are any alternatives that do not cause damage to the environment, but that is not always an option. When you are using harmful chemicals, it is important that you use good quality chemical pumps to move them, so there is no risk of leakage. If dangerous chemicals leak out, they can have a detrimental effect on the surrounding environment and, in some cases, you may be subject to fines as a result. There are also guidelines in place for disposing of chemicals safely, so they do not damage the environment. It is important that you follow these guidelines to the letter and always check the law to make sure that you are following the most up to date rules.
In the last few years, there has been a big push to reduce the amount of plastic that we use. Levels of plastic in the oceans are dangerously high and all of the plastic in landfill will take thousands of years to degrade. Many consumers are now basing their purchasing decisions on the materials that are used to manufacture and package products, and they are leaning away from plastic. A lot of people are actually willing to pay more for a product if it is made using sustainable materials. While this is a positive change, it does pose a problem for manufacturing companies that produce plastic products. In the coming years, demand for plastic is going to drop considerably while demand for sustainable alternatives will increase. If the majority of the products that you manufacture are made from plastic, this will lead to a significant drop in sales.
If your business is going to survive long term, it is important that you start diversifying now. Look into sustainable alternatives to plastic and start investing in equipment so you can manufacture environmentally friendly materials alongside plastics. This will offer you protection as demand for plastic drops and demand for sustainable materials increases.
Inventory management is important for manufacturing businesses but people often don’t realize that it is an environmental issue. If you overorder materials and stockpile them, this can contribute to waste in a big way. The problem is also made worse if those materials are produced by a company that is not environmentally friendly. Many businesses prefer to overorder instead of underorder, but in the future, that practice may need to change. Manufacturing businesses need to improve their inventory management and be more accurate with their ordering to reduce waste if they want to be more environmentally friendly. It is also important to consider the companies that you source your raw materials from and how environmentally friendly they are.
Manufacturing businesses must adapt to a changing business climate if they are to survive. Unless you can face these big environmental challenges in the coming years, your business is likely to struggle a lot.