ENTREPRENEURSHIP / JAN. 29, 2015
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5 Strategies for Manufacturing Companies to Gain an Eco-Advantage

Today, manufacturing companies and the world are facing many environmental challenges. It’s essential for each manufacturing company to create a strategic eco-advantage in order to distinguish themselves in the market and increase their share of an environmentally friendly and sustainable planet. The real case studies of world-renowned companies like DuPont, Timberland, and IBM show how the top manufacturing companies devised the key environmental strategies to create competitive advantage in the industry.

Here are the 5 environmental strategies based on real case studies that will change the entire manufacturing approach of new manufacturing companies.

1. Rethinking and Replacing the Hazardous/Toxic Process with an Eco-Friendly Process

DuPont reduced its share in global warming by improving just a single procedure of producing adipic acid. Similarly, Chipmaker AMD improved its wet processing equipment to reduce the number of chemicals and quantity of water used to clean silicon wafers. Previously, the same procedure was consuming 18 gallons of water per minute, but after modification it started taking around 6 gallons.  

DuPont conducted some innovational work on automotive paints and introduced SuperSolids technology. This technology, which is used by DaimlerChrysler, cut down hazardous discharges during the coating procedure to almost 80%. According to the estimation by DuPont, the use of this new technology helped auto manufacturing companies in saving $20 million from a single plant, which is spent on discharge control instruments and technology as well as on their management and operations.

2. Redesigning the Packaging

Timberland made a new design for its show boxes to reduce 15% of the total material; the difference matters when every year more than 25 million pairs are being shipped. Many manufacturers decided to reduce chain value expenses by reducing the environmental and financial expenditures of distribution process. IKEA products are delivered in a very nice package; this packing reduces almost 15% on fuel for one item delivery, giving a great eco-advantage to the company.

3. Reducing Consumption of Energy and Materials

IBM also had its 5-year greenhouse gas reduction plan, which saved $115 million by focusing on energy efficiency measures; they introduced new designs to its heating and cooling systems. Companies also tend to reduce wastage, which saves them money as well as resources.

4. Reusing the Products, Materials or By-products

Many companies go a step further than just reducing their wastes and turn their wastage into profits. These companies search for opportunities for their industrial by-products for new revenue streaming, which were earlier disposed of as wastage. In the 1990s, Rhone Poulenc established a new way, when it discovered a new marketplace for the diacids, which were produced as by-products while producing Nylon.

Today, more and more companies are following the principles of industrial ecology, in which the waste or by-product of one company’s production is the raw material for another’s production; companies have explored new methods to reuse and trade a big part of their waste.

5. Replacing Hazardous/Toxic Substances with Eco-Friendly Substances

Companies also reviewed the traditional trend of largely dependency upon toxic materials. So, Timberland, which is a major footwear manufacturing company, replaced toxic materials with water-based adhesive materials in the manufacturing of non-athletic footwear products. The use of water-based adhesive materials not just showed a positive impact on the environment, but also reduced the supplier’s costs of managing hazardous materials; this includes wastage disposal, and training.

Final Words

You run a manufacturing company and you need a competitive edge. The entire concept is to use more effective and secure procedures, technologies and manufacturing concepts to introduce an eco-friendly manufacturing process so that the world is a safer place for our future generations.

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