Factories and the environment: How to make it work

Your factory’s profitability and environmental impact are linked like never before.

Since the Paris Agreement of 2015, the international community has been focused on hitting carbon reduction targets, including achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

As we’ll explain, this has significant ramifications for manufacturing. 

And, we’ll show you that a more eco-friendly factory can not only mean a cleaner environment, but a higher profit margin, too.

In this blog, we’ll cover:

Let’s get started!

How do factories impact the environment?

It’s probably no surprise that manufacturing has traditionally been one of the most harmful to the environment.

In fact, it’s the industry with the second highest carbon footprint in the EU, behind energy. So reducing this, without damaging the economy, has been a top priority of global leaders.

Regulation and proactive efforts mean that much of manufacturing’s impact on the environment has been mitigated over the past decades.

However, accidents and waste still cause significant harm to the environment, with a lot of waste arising from production itself.

Discarded inventory, continued reliance on single-use materials, inefficient supply chain management, and more, all contribute to environmental damage.

This waste not only impacts the world around us, but it affects your factory’s profitability, too.

How does waste impact factories?

New EU legislation means that companies and their representatives face tougher sanctions and punishments for environmental crimes and negligence. 

Under this legislation, higher-ups within polluting companies can be found criminally liable and face fines and imprisonment for serious breaches.

If your factory is environmentally negligent, these penalties will have obvious consequences for your profitability, reputation, and viability as a business.

But even if you don’t fall foul of these regulations, cleaning up your act is still a smart move.

No business owner sets out to create needless waste; if your factory produces it, it’s probably a sign that your processes need some work.

As we mentioned in a previous blog, 20% of overall manufacturing spend is wasted. This waste is not only represented by numbers on a spreadsheet but also through lost material and increased carbon emissions.

So the effort to reduce this cost and the effort to become more ecologically responsible are closely related.

Because in manufacturing, as we’ll now explain, lean is clean.

How can factories have a more positive impact on the environment?

The goal of any industrial operation is to make a profit. In the same vein, a sub-goal of any factory is to reduce costs.

The easiest way to have a better impact on the environment is to view waste and excess consumption as a cost to reduce.

Lean manufacturing is designed to help you do this. 

By increasing efficiency throughout your plant, waste reduction comes as a matter of course.

Relatively simple initiatives like digitalising your paper-based work will save you money, time, and environmental costs to boot.

More complex measures, such as reducing water consumption through your lines or transitioning away from disposable plastic, will require time investment. 

But crucially, and this can’t be stressed enough, adopting a goal like this will force you to take a detailed look at your whole production process. And it’s this kind of activity that will help you make improvements that drive profitability, too.

Consider the impact a 5% energy efficiency saving might have on your bottom line, for example.

Ultimately, the less you consume while producing your product, the greater the profit margin.

Plus, if you take the right steps now, you’ll be creating a more sustainable business for the future.

Getting your house in order requires some help. And digital tools are available to get you started.

mlean and the environment

Without a system to access and analyse data from across your plant, making wholesale improvements is costly and difficult.

Without a tool for standardising processes, your factory will lack the consistency needed to make reductions last.

And without a means to manage shop floor operations, audits, and maintenance, you risk missing opportunities to spot and solve issues before they set in.

The mlean Production System (mPS) helps with all these functions and more in one comprehensive tool.

Soon, you’ll have a complete toolkit for making incremental improvements throughout your factory, from shop floor to office.

By reducing waste and increasing your efficiency, you can get lean and clean in one effort!

To learn more about our mPS, book a free demo today.

Book your free demo here!

Seeing is believing

Book a demo to see the full power of the mPS.