Sustainability is becoming crucial in manufacturing due to the massive scale of industrial processes. Long viewed as a zero-sum contest between economic viability and environmental consideration, sustainable manufacturing needs to align both environmental and financial goals. There are five key areas where manufacturing analytics can help you develop sustainable practices and drive significant improvements in your supply chain:
- Better product design and engineering to reduce costs and waste.
- Selection and sourcing of sustainable materials
- Improved operational efficiency, intelligent technologies, and green energy can build future factories
- Supply chain reconfiguration and smarter transportation to reduce emissions
- Change how products are designed, produced, sold, used, and disposed of to build a circular economy
Manufacturing analytics enables safer, cheaper, and more environmentally conscious operational decision-making. Manufacturers can use analytics to drive sustainable practices while saving costs and improving safety in their operations. Here are some of the benefits of manufacturing data analytics across the value chain:
5 Ways to Improve Sustainability using Manufacturing Analytics
1. Identify Bottlenecks
Manufacturers benefit significantly more than others from identifying overproduction, poor distribution, and manufacturing excess. Manufacturing data analytics can help suppliers determine what stores produce the most waste by using inventory data to examine sales patterns at varying distribution points. They can optimize inventory levels for individual locations and adjust production levels for future distribution based on past trends and data-driven forecasting.
2. Optimize Manufacturing Processes
Most manufacturers would prefer to use more data analytics and automation in their processes. Without the need to maintain a large workforce, they’ll be able to focus more on meeting customer demands. Manufacturing analytics can enable factories to operate more efficiently and reduce waste in several areas, not just in terms of overall supply.
3. Optimize Energy and Resource Consumption
Manufacturing analytics can help you drive new levels of agility, safety, and sustainability by optimizing your energy consumption. Reduce water consumption and wastage of materials by designing for sustainability throughout the product and services lifecycles and with better forecasting. You can also improve equipment efficiency and reduce downtime with predictive maintenance.
4. Design Sustainable Products
Sustainability must begin at the product design stage. Manufacturing analytics is used to drive high-value initiatives, such as rapid prototyping, additive manufacturing, and research and development. Manufacturing data analytics can help reduce the reliance on toxic or hazardous materials, save fuel and energy, reduce human health hazards, and minimize wastage, ensuring sustainable manufacturing practices that yield substantial environmental benefits.
5. Streamline Transportation and Logistics
Transportation and logistics can significantly impact your ability to realize sustainable development goals, particularly given the manufacturing industry’s heavy reliance on shipping and road freight. Manufacturing data analytics can help you analyze and optimize various aspects of transportation and logistics, such as distance traveled, geographic coverage, and the predictability and repeatability of your routes.
6. Support a Circular Economy
Sustainable manufacturing involves the entire product lifecycle, which also includes what happens to a product after it reaches the consumer. Manufacturing data analytics can help you analyze product and consumer data to measure and reduce product lifecycle emissions. It includes all the emissions associated with the production and use of a specific product, from the cradle to the grave, including emissions from raw materials, manufacturing, transport, storage, sale, usage, and disposal.