Industry Trends

Manufacturing of the Future: How to Go Green in a Traditional Facility


Manufacturers across the industry are doing what they can to adopt a green business model and reduce their carbon footprint. New emerging technologies are making it easier for manufacturers to go green and reduce waste throughout their processes. From automation and smarter devices to new data collection methods, the technology of the future is designed with sustainability in mind.

While going green seems to be the new norm, many companies are still left wondering where to start. Here’s how you can kick off sustainability in your company and get on board with the future of manufacturing.

Embrace the circular supply chain.

One of the easiest ways to reduce waste is by following the motto, “reduce, reuse, recycle.” The circular supply chain model focuses on repurposing waste and returned products into something that can be reused or recycled. In inventory management, companies may find that they occasionally order too many materials that they ultimately don’t need. Instead of piling up wasted resources, manufacturers should shift their focus to recycling and finding ways to repurpose this material into something useful. 

Companies can invest in transportation and inventory management systems to help track orders and customer returns. This will allow companies to understand exactly where returns and excess materials are coming from to avoid wasted resources. 

Utilize alternate energy sources.

Sustainable energy technology has become more accessible than ever before. Manufacturing will always require energy, but it doesn’t have to require fossil fuels. Solar, wind, hydroelectricity and geothermal are all examples of sustainable energy sources that manufacturers can adopt into their facilities. 

While it may not be possible to eliminate the use of fossil fuels completely, incorporating sustainable energy wherever it fits can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

Take on digital innovation.

Automation and smart devices can have a significant impact on waste reduction in multiple ways. Smart technology that promotes connectivity often provides important data that can be used to track waste levels and identify areas of improvement. These connected devices offer real-time data, so efficiency issues can be addressed immediately to avoid lost resources or waste. 

Incorporating automation into the factory floor can also save companies a lot of wasted products. Robots are great for taking on tedious tasks or positions that may be risky or too difficult for humans to accomplish on their own. For example, Apple Rubber uses automated robots during quality control testing to ensure every piece is precisely analyzed for imperfections. This process is far too tedious for human eyes to handle and would ultimately result in faulty parts and waste. Automation will eliminate the risk of human error and cut down the potential for wasted materials. 

Automated technology is becoming increasingly more accessible, so companies should consider adopting smart devices and robots to improve productivity and decrease their carbon footprint. 

Going green doesn’t have to be complicated.

There are many ways manufacturers can incorporate sustainable practices into their work without making huge, industry-altering changes. Whether you decide to invest in new connective technology or identify recycling opportunities in your supply chain, every small step towards sustainability will have an impact on the environment and your company. 


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