On the path to creating a greener plant, you will come to the realization that waste is a problem that also must be addressed. It isn’t just waste as in trash, but waste (as a verb) occurring throughout the plant in several ways. Fortunately, these areas are easy to pinpoint, once you know what you’re looking for. They are also easy to remedy.
Inventory and Spare Parts
Every plant needs a spare parts inventory, and maintains a product inventory is just a good business practice. Doing so reduces the costs involves with acquisition when the object is needed. It also reduces the wait time in getting another part delivered or another unit produced. Inventory can also save orders in a pinch as you can pluck units out of inventory and save production time.
However, this excess inventory is sitting around, occupying space that could be used in other ways. Other supply chain sustainability services also posit that the inventory amounts to packaging wasted, by sitting in your inventory room instead of being recycled. Remedy this waste issue by reevaluating your inventory and spare parts supplies. You’re likely to find items that can be returned to the supplier, or inventory that can be placed with other orders, instead of wasting space in the storage room.
Another waste in many plants is due to waiting. Waiting as equipment is repaired, parts are delivered, machines are setup or broken down can be a source of tremendous waste. The time, employee production effort, and money spent on labor that is sitting idle is a serious issue once you add it up. Reevaluation is needed here, to remedy the waste. Schedule setup, maintenance and breakdown services between shifts or during line breaks. If your production is going at a rate that it needs restocking in the midst of a shift, prepare more materials before the shift begins to prevent waiting waste in the middle of production.
Defects, broken units, inspections samples and others are production pieces that come off the line, but never make it to or stay in circulation. The plant receives them back. They are either stored or disposed of—which is a waste in two ways. Some companies have remedied this problem by designating a reconditioning line. The units are refurbished and then sent to discount retailers or sold directly through the company website.
Of course, scraps are the most noticeable of the waste as it most closely resembles trash. Even if the scraps are recycled, they are costing the company in materials bought and unused. Reevaluate the scrap production periodically to determine ways to reduce the amount of scrap. This could be by ordering smaller material pieces, by laying patterns in a more space efficient manner or looking into another supplier.
Waste (verb) inside the plant is a barrier to becoming green. Some of it may not be that big of a harm to the environment, but green manufacturing goes beyond that; It is also a moniker for plants that are efficient in their use of all resources.
Eagle Technologies Group is an industry leader in the design and installation of factory automation systems worldwide.