Manufacturing Sustainable Growth

January 25, 2017 1:43 pm
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posted within Continuous Improvement, Supply Chain Development, Sustainability

Manufacturing Sustainable Growth

Sustainability is often defined as the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.  In manufacturing, sustainability typically focuses on finding the best way to produce products while simultaneously limiting the creation of waste and ensuring the viability of the business for the future.  Manufacturing sustainable growth is the where these two concepts merge.

Manufacturing companies who take the time to evaluate their current processes frequently discover new opportunities for strategic sustainability improvements.  Most often the result is a more streamlined processes which creates a domino effect of cost reduction, improving the safety of employees, better meeting the needs of customers, driving positive engagement with communities and an increase in sales.

Even if you are a B2B manufacturer, it is important to be strategic in your planning.  By staying in tune with how your products are used all of the way through the supply chain to the end consumer product, will provide the foresight to improve products and processes early and increase your competitive ability in the future.

Since Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is important to most consumers, manufacturing companies should pay close attention.  Today’s consumers want to support companies who operate responsibly.  They like companies who work to tackle social and environmental issues.

In fact, the 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study found that 87% of U.S. consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit.  “Americans say when a company supports social or environmental issues, they have a more positive image (91%), more trust (87%) and more loyalty (87%) toward that business.”  The survey also showed that 84% of respondents said that they seek out responsible products whenever possible.  And, 90% of consumers say that they would boycott a company if they learned of irresponsible or deceptive business practices.

Three steps to begin manufacturing sustainable growth:

  1. Supply Chain Standards

Start by reviewing your supply chain.  Understanding your suppliers, their practices and where your supplies originate are critical.  Confirm all of your suppliers and the products you purchase meet the appropriate standards.

  1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Cost reduction is a priority in manufacturing.  Many manufacturers are surprised to find the waste that exists in their current processes that can be eliminated.  They are also equally surprised to find out that the supplier down the street is cheaper than their distant supplier.  Buying local can not only reduce shipping expenses but, can also reduce the environmental costs by reducing the pollution created when shipping products long distances.

  1. Impact your Reputation

Attracting new customers is often one of the biggest challenges manufacturers face.  Focusing on growing the company’s reputation within your region is typically much more cost effective and advantageous for smaller companies.  By purchasing materials from a local suppliers you can grow your reputation locally.  You can also express your values and communicate support of social and environmental issues to your community.  The result will be a positive impact to your reputation and your profits.