When we hear green or sustainable business practices mentioned, the phrase calls to mind environmentally friendly materials and new business process implementations. Lesser known, but quickly gaining ground, is the idea that implementing a particular software system can promote greener business operations. The “green” software initiative has been popping up within a variety of business software segments, and the manufacturing niche is merely the latest to join the club.
Dubbed green or sustainable manufacturing, the trend to improve design and production processes is gaining momentum in part because it benefits the business owner as much as, if not more than, the environment.
Green, or sustainable, manufacturing is similar to the lean manufacturing movement — the key difference being the end objective. Lean manufacturing is implemented through the central goal of eliminating wasteful practices and better serving the customer. Green manufacturing, alternatively, is put into effect with the intent to make the business more sustainable and less imposing on the environment.
Despite a prevailing belief in the manufacturing community that green manufacturing is frivolous, the implementation of such software can significantly impact your business for the better (not to mention that environmentally friendly processes will always bolster public opinion of a company). And it’s no secret that the manufacturing industry is notorious for being environmentally unfriendly. But even if going green isn’t a top priority, sustainable manufacturing will ultimately lower your operating costs and make your business model more durable.
There are 3 key ways in which a green manufacturing solution can improve your overall business model and help reduce costs: energy consumption metrics, KPI tracking and sustainability optimization features.
1. You’re more aware of your energy consumption.
One of the key facets of a green manufacturing solution is its ability to monitor and track any and all data relative to your business operations. Access to this metric tool will allow you to review and analyze how much energy you’re using at different points along the production line, and what it’s costing you.
2. You can see the weak links of your design and production processes.
Yet another benefit to a comprehensive metrics tool is that you can measure any and all KPIs (key performance indicators), with the potential to locate components of your production process that are costing you time and money you could be spending elsewhere. For example, the analytics feature might show that one of your materials shipment cycles delays your entire production process, allowing you the opportunity to reassess that element.
3. You have features specifically designed to implement more sustainable business actions.
Modules that optimize supply chain management, production scheduling, and maintenance resources seek to streamline your business practices in a way that’s as environmentally friendly as possible. Although typical manufacturing solutions employ similar techniques to gain better control over production cycles and systems, a green manufacturing solution gives you the added benefit of tools specifically designed to reduce your company’s environmental impact.
At this point you might be thinking that your current software system(s) is already maximizing output and reducing business costs. But keep in mind that energy and production costs are incredibly large expenses for manufacturing companies. You’ll never know how much you could be saving unless you use a platform that tracks and then employs that information.
Though sustainable software products are less common in the manufacturing segment, there are a few standout vendors to consider — and the list will surely expand as more companies hop on the green manufacturing bandwagon. Tuppas Corporation and Sustainable Solutions Corporation both offer green manufacturing platforms for companies interested in reducing their carbon footprint. A number of larger software vendors, including SAP and Oracle, also provide solutions that incorporate sustainability features.
If you already have an incredibly effective ERP manufacturing solution but still want a way to monitor your energy consumption, consider a sustainability metric application. This platform measures various energy consumption and cost data to help businesses better gauge the need for greener equipment, production processes, and software options. GE offers one called Proficy for Sustainability Metrics, while two similar platforms are Intelex Environmental Sustainability Metrics and that by Sustainable Minds. We imagine the number of software vendors with products devoted to sustainability metrics and green manufacturing will only continue to grow, so stay tuned if you’re still on the fence about these new environmentally friendly solutions.
Looking for more information on manufacturing software? Browse additional blog posts, product reviews, top-rated content picks and more on our manufacturing resource page. You can also compare some of the top solutions in the industry on our Top 15 Manufacturing Software report.