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Guide to Sustainable Manufacturing in 2020


Within the manufacturing industry, sustainability is still a big topic. The main course of action for most businesses is finding ways to be more efficient and greener with their processes. Going green is not only good for business, but it is also good for the earth. Consumers are more aware and interested in working with organizations that take pride in how green their processes are. Almost 70% of millennials have said they prefer to buy products from companies that place an emphasis on protecting the planet.

Sustainable Manufacturing Trends To Keep An Eye Out For In 2020

1. Additive Manufacturing


Most people are unaware that additive manufacturing can provide help with organizations performing green initiatives. The benefits offered can come through reducing material waste, finding ways to reduce shipping times through supply chains by using innovations, using recycled metals and plastics for materials and finding new recyclable materials. Each of these can help position additive manufacturing to be the most sustainable manufacturing production solution for organizations.

2. Integration Of Artificial Intelligence

Manufacturing industries are often found to be at the front line of technology and innovation. They've already integrated and put a heavy investment into artificial intelligence and machine learning in recent years. The goal of using AI is to increase the efficiency of the supply chains. As more and more companies are using AI in their processes, there has been a realization of the significant impact it has on sustainability. This is a trend that many are starting to focus on because the advancements allow enterprises a better ability to forecast. In real-time, manufacturing industries can place more focus on accurately forecasting consumer demands, automating specific processes with the use of robotics and machinery and have the ability to streamline their production processes. Advancements being seen in artificial intelligence can now offer manufacturing companies the ability to gather data that will help them optimize their output, use less energy and analyze sales data from their customers in real-time. New manufacturing processes will help meet the needs and changing demands of consumers that could otherwise cause a surplus in production volumes.

3. Water Usage


Going green does not only include saving electricity. It also involves other valuable resources such as water. In 2020 and beyond, water conservation is becoming a critical issue for many manufacturing industries looking to become more sustainable. In the past, manufacturing industries have been known for their high water usage. This needs to be addressed and corrected for good business practices and environmental reasons. Organizations need to look for ways in their processes to decrease the amount of water used.

4. Adoption Of Circular Economy

As more organizations in the manufacturing industry are looking to become more sustainable in the future, many are looking at ways to reduce, reuse and recycle product materials used in their supply chain models. This comes as more companies and consumers are becoming aware of environmental concerns that continue to grow. A significant reason causing this shift is being driven by social and government pressures continuing to grow which places an emphasis on minimizing or limiting the use and creation of single-use plastics. In the United States and other countries, this is being enforced through bans, levies and consumer values. While this may be forced changes, there are some benefits industries may gain from adopting a circular economy. Reducing, reusing and recycling in the production chain can help promote profitability and sustainability while also reducing how much waste is generated. Though this trend in reusing materials is not widely adopted as of yet, 2020 and beyond will see more companies favoring the use of green packaging solutions made from recycled materials.

5. Sustainable Logistics


Another trend rising in sustainable manufacturing practices is logistics. Transportation has a huge role in manufacturing supply chains and their functionality. Recently, sustainable shipping has become prevalent throughout supply chains as more organizations work towards reducing emissions that harm the environment and their bottom line for not adhering to government regulations. Because of this, the manufacturing industry is shifting towards finding ways of shipping goods more sustainably from point A to point B.

One way this is being done is through using locally-sourced suppliers to help with the reduction of shipping miles necessary to get products into the hands of consumers. Artificial intelligence is also playing a role in logistics by using data to find shipping methods that are more fuel-efficient.

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