How to Reduce Waste in the Supply ChainWaste reduction is more important that ever in the modern supply chain—here are several ways to go about it.

This week our friends from the Compactor Management Company are contributing to our blog. The Compactor Management Company is a company that “has been providing all types of businesses with industrial trash and garbage compactors and balers.” They provide this service to businesses “in an effort to reduce their monthly garbage bills and generate the highest rates of recycling revenue.” Given their knowledge of waste management, we were more than happy to accept their proposed blog post. So, with further ado, here is their guest blog on material handling.

With the ever-increasing competition in the global market, it is natural for manufacturers and suppliers to focus on practices that yield high output at minimized costs. However, while employing practices to save cost and increase productivity, many companies fail to tap into benefits that effective waste reduction techniques offer. 

Not only does waste reduction keep the environment clean. It also creates new revenue streams, improves operational efficiency, helps businesses remain compliant, and improves brand image. So, here are a few ways businesses can reduce waste in the supply chain. 

Examine Product Design

Before the production process begins, examine the product design and identify the raw materials that may result in a lot of waste. After that, figure out if those raw materials can be replaced with materials that cost lesser and are less wasteful. By examining the product design, you can also decrease the amount of excess raw material and the use of hazardous material. Do both of these things to lower the quantity of waste generated. 

Review the Production Process

Who better to identify process inefficiencies than the production staff? So, talk to your staff and gather information on how waste material can be minimized. Moreover, brainstorming with the production staff may help you understand how to eliminate or replace materials that cannot be recycled. 

This will not only give the staff control over their job but will also motivate them to add value to the overall objective. 

Create a Preventive Maintenance Schedule

Wear and tear is normal in any production process. But excess wear and tear of the machines can lead to increased waste production. So, ensure that the machines are kept in good shape by having a regular maintenance schedule in place. This would not only reduce the waste produced but will also reduce the breakdown prevention costs and prove more beneficial for the budget. 

Practice Closed-Loop Manufacturing

A closed-loop manufacturing system helps you keep track of the inventory and utilize the recycled materials as raw materials in the production cycle. This system conserves the resources and also diverts waste from landfills. Also, in addition to reducing manufacturing wastage, a closed-loop system helps businesses lower their production costs.  

Put Quality Control in Place

If the supply chain lacks quality control, the waste production can go beyond the tolerable amount. Defective raw materials can affect the whole production process and result in more waste. Moreover, without a quality check, the final products can turn out to be defective and are more likely to be returned by the end-user. And even if the rejected product is recyclable, the cost of recycling it would be higher. 

Reduce Packaging Materials

Packaging produces a lot of waste. Hence, review the packaging design and analyze how you can minimize the use of packaging material. Focus on incorporating recyclable packaging material such as corn-based packing peanuts, air packs, paper and cardboard, biodegradable plastic, etc. 

Though waste reduction should be of great importance in a supply chain, how the waste is treated plays a significant role too. Hence, you must consider lucrative processing of scrap material through industrial balers. 

An industrial baler is the most sustainable solution that handles waste by compacting it and making it into small bales or bundles. Moreover, balers are designed to help businesses conveniently sort waste materials and prevent contamination of the waste. Other benefits of an industrial baler include: 

  • Savings on landfill tax and other disposal costs
  • Freed up space for other purposes
  • Improved health and safety at the premises
  • Extra revenue from recycling companies

Each level in the supply chain offers plenty of opportunities to reduce waste. So, start creating monthly and weekly reports to compare and identify ways to better the waste reduction process. 

Author Bio

Erich Lawson is very passionate about the environment and is an advocate of effective recycling. He writes on a wide array of topics. He informs his readers on how modern recycling equipment can be used by industries to reduce monthly wastage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment saving techniques by visiting his blog on Compactor Management Company.

The Path to and Benefits of a Zero Waste Supply Chain

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in supply chains—here’s why a zero waste supply chain is not only realistic but beneficial. 

In recent years the expectation for companies to have supply chains that are sustainable has grown considerably. As a result, many have started making pledges and commitments outlining their transition to greener supply chains. Major companies like Nestle, Coca-Cola, and Unilever have all done so to varying degrees already. Other businesses will soon have to do the same if they’re to stay competitive in this environment.

As a recent article from Supply Chain Digital explains,

It’s clear that the ‘war on plastic’ is gaining momentum. As the world becomes more focused on the environmental impacts of plastic pollution, you should examine your supply chain and see how you can eliminate it.

With that said, converting a supply chain to zero waste doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. And, in turn, if handled the right way, it can be useful beyond just meeting market demands.

This article by Morai Logistics highlights a realistic path to a zero waste supply chain and why having such a supply chain can be advantageous.

What is a Zero Waste Supply Chain?

A zero waste supply chain, just as the name suggests, is a supply chain that produces no waste. This means ensuring every step within the supply chain is sustainable—the materials are either reused or recycled, so that there is no trash. In turn, what this amounts to is no waste ending up in landfills or incinerators.

Such a goal might sound highly ambitious, verging on unfeasible, but that isn’t the case. Rather, it’s a necessary objective that companies like Unilever are already making a reality. Keep in mind that, for example, in the United Kingdom a majority of consumers are willing to pay more for products that don’t use plastic packaging. And that’s just plastic, only a single component of green supply chain. The demand is there. It’s up to companies to meet that demand.

Why is it Beneficial?

An entirely sustainable supply chain is beneficial for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s great for efficiency. Since zero waste supply chains cannot afford to be excessive in any way, that means they have to be careful with processes and materials that they are using. This leads to extreme efficiency. This efficiency leads to cost reduction, since less has to be spent on materials and superfluous operations.

Moreover, a sustainable supply chain is good for the environment. This isn’t just a feel-good benefit. It also means companies are likely to receive government incentives, while avoiding sanctions. Thus, it’s not only a good thing to do, it’s also a business friendly move. Additionally, it’s good for a company’s image, which in turn can attract more business.

How can Supply Chains Make a Transition to Zero Waste?

Making the switch to zero waste isn’t as challenging as it might seem. Like with any other major change, the first thing to do is come up with a strategy. In this case, a sustainable supply chain strategy. Then formulate reasonable goals as benchmarks on the route to the ultimate objective of zero waste.

Furthermore, it’s important to have key indicators that you can examine to see if you are being successful with those goals. Essentially, the transition is about starting broad (the strategy) and getting increasingly granular and specific until it’s ingrained into your company mindset and culture.

Finally, there are the four R’s as outlined by Unilever.

Unilever credits its four ‘R’ approach to achieving zero waste. The four R approach encompasses: reducing, reusing, recovering and recycling. Viewing waste in this way – as having various potential alternative uses – can be introduced across all businesses.