Cutting waste in manufacturing is one of the best ways to reduce costs and be more sustainable. A lot of businesses don’t realize how much energy is wasted during the manufacturing process, especially if they haven’t updated their equipment for a long time. These losses can easily slip under the radar, and the business ends up slowly leaking money.
If you can identify the sources of waste and eliminate them, you can improve efficiency, save money, and reduce your impact on the environment. These are some of the most common sources of waste in manufacturing.
Electricity usage is the most obvious source of waste. You’re running a lot of heavy-duty equipment that draws a huge amount of power. However, it’s likely that you are also wasting energy in a lot of places too. You can’t avoid using electricity to power equipment, but you can make upgrades to newer models that are more energy-efficient. You can also make other simple changes like installing LED light bulbs and putting timers on lights, so they don’t get left on. All of these small changes add up to a lot of saved energy.
Any processes that use heat are prone to waste. If they are inefficient and lots of heat is lost, you’re wasting a lot of money. Insulating equipment properly can make a big difference here, but you also need to consider the tools that you are using. Updating your heat processing tools to a more efficient option can increase efficiency and cut back on waste at the same time.
Most heating and cooling systems use pipework, and this is often where losses occur. Make sure that you insulate pipework properly to minimize heat loss and ensure that pipes follow the shortest route possible to reduce the opportunities for loss.
Businesses tend to focus on electricity use, but water waste is equally as problematic. Most manufacturing operations use a lot of water, so you need to make adjustments to ensure that it is recycled as much as possible. You can also install water-saving appliances in bathrooms to cut water waste. Low flow toilets and faucets are cheap to buy and fit, and you will save a lot of money over time.
Poorly maintained equipment is an incredibly common cause of waste in manufacturing. Old machinery that isn’t working to its full potential draws a lot more energy than it needs to and gives you limited output. Replacing old equipment does help, but it’s also very expensive. By keeping up with maintenance, you can improve efficiency without the need to replace things. Put a clear cleaning schedule in place and ensure that all employees are properly trained on how to maintain equipment. Regular refresher training will stop people from letting standards slip and falling into bad habits.
There are a lot of moving parts in your manufacturing operation, which means a lot of opportunities for waste. So, you need to audit your entire operation and cut out these sources of waste as soon as possible.