Between a struggling economy and increasing environmental regulations, manufacturers today must balance efficiency with social responsibility. In response, manufacturers have taken a long, hard look at creating leaner supply chain management processes.
Building a lean, green supply chain begins by looking at all aspects of manufacturing. A Supply Chain Management Review article (on scrm) points out a few starting points for manufacturers looking to go green and go lean:
Improve transportation planning
Reduce waste by improving material utilization and machine effectiveness
Leverage manufacturing capabilities and processes to reduce material requirements
Redesign packaging to maintain content levels but lower the dimensions, weight and use of resin-based materials
Manufacturers who implement these changes experience benefits such as:
Lowered costs. From suppliers to end users, a lean supply chain helps reduce costs, including fuel expenses related to transportation.
Simplified manufacturing processes. By implementing a lean supply chain, organizations are in effect removing or simplifying processes. By doing so, personnel can work more efficiently and complete tasks in less time.
Enhanced company image. Adopting greener supply chain management practices impacts how employees and other stakeholders view manufacturing organizations and their products. More importantly, green manufacturing practices can help influence the decisions of potential clients.
Government compliance. One significant manufacturing challenge is adhering to government guidelines, laws and regulations. Operating a leaner, greener supply chain improves the ability to meet or exceed those expectations, thus allowing a company to run with less interruption.