More manufacturers are engaging in sustainable manufacturing, which is the “creation of manufactured products through economically-sound processes that minimize negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and natural resources.”
Put another way, sustainable manufacturing is minimizing waste as a result of the manufacturing process through eco-efficient practices. It also encourages adopting emerging environmental technologies. Such “green technology” includes equipment and machines that are more energy efficient and have limited toxic emissions.
The Case of “Going Green”
In the United States in 2018, manufacturers consumed 32 percent of the nation’s energy, or 32.3 quadrillion Btu of energy. To cut utility costs and to improve their social responsibility initiatives, many manufacturers have turned to more energy efficient equipment, machines, and production practices to reduce their overall energy consumption.
Alongside saving money, sustainable branding is important for engaging a new eco-aware consumer base. According to a report by the Shelton Group, 86 percent of consumers support corporate activism and 64 percent are likely to buy from activist companies. Nielsen reported that 66 percent of consumers would spend more money on a product from a sustainable company. A whopping 73 percent of millennials (born 1981-1996) feel the same way.
In efforts to improve throughput, many companies have adopted lean manufacturing, which aims to make all processes more efficient. The strategy is based on continuously improving operations and cutting all redundancies and excess. This approach to manufacturing can reduce waste and save money, such as having a well-organized inventory management system to prevent lost product.
Training and Sustainability
Additionally, improving operational efficiency can boost a facility’s sustainability because it keeps production running smoothly. If a production line goes down unintentionally, thousands of tons of inventory or production material could be lost. Around 80 percent of companies cannot accurately calculate the cost of unplanned downtime, which makes it difficult to know how much is actually being lost.
When a piece of equipment or machine goes down, having a well-trained maintenance staff is crucial. Fast and effective troubleshooters can pinpoint the problem and get the lines running quickly. Less downtime means less inventory and production time is lost, which reduces the amount of manufacturing waste to save money and resources.
Training a capable maintenance professional doesn’t have to be a lengthy process. Using 3D simulation training software gives trainees electrical troubleshooting training in a safe and engaging simulated environment. A well-developed innovative training software is flexible, scalable, and offers a variety of challenges for different skill levels. It provides trainees a multitude of scenarios to learn about in a no-risk environment. Trainees can fail, learn, and try again without any real-world consequences.
The Holistic Benefits of Going Green
Engaging in sustainable manufacturing processes reduces energy consumption and waste for cost savings as well as marketing and branding benefits. Adopting lean manufacturing is an important methodology to use to begin this journey, but having a well-trained staff is key to smooth operations. Therefore, incorporating training into an overall continuous improvement strategy is a must for overall productivity.
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