Why should manufacturers care about sustainable resource management?

Posted on 30 Jan 2018 by Jonny Williamson

Stuart Hayward-Higham talks to The Manufacturer about the real gains to be had from managing manufacturing waste.

Sustainable Resource Management Sustainability - Stock
Often, sustainability opportunities are so hidden or so far down the priority list they are just not visible.

Global trends, new business models and changing legislation mean that manufacturing is becoming more complex and interconnected.

Efficiency is being driven by rising material costs, while technology is transforming what, where and how things are being produced.

Most manufacturing facilities in the UK have the potential for pay-backs from preventing and commoditising their waste, with some great recycling and reuse opportunities. But some of these sustainability opportunities are so hidden or so far down the priority list they are just not visible.

Generating, harvesting and analysing the data to take advantage of these opportunities can seem like an insurmountable task for many manufacturers.

Here, The Manufacturer discusses the issues and processes with Stuart Hayward-Higham, technical development director at SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, a leading recycling and waste management company.

Where should manufacturers start their sustainable resource management journey?

Stuart Hayward-Higham: Optimising the use of materials and processes – this can future-proof manufacturers’ supply chains by improving their self-sufficiency as well as supply chain integration.

A great example of this is Jaguar Land Rover’s ‘closed-loop’ automotive recycling system, where the company uses recycled aluminium in its car bodies, cutting down waste and reducing carbon emissions. In other words, manufacturers can boost economic and environmental performance by managing their waste better.

This article first appeared in the February issue of The Manufacturer magazine. To subscribe, please click here.

Manufacturers face a lot of competing priorities, and profitability – driven by performance and efficiency – is ultimately one of the most important KPIs for them. Could a resource management company like SUEZ help them reach these goals?

Absolutely, approaching waste as a valuable resource must start with the support of a reliable partner who can understand the customer’s lean processes and drive synergised productivity improvements, minimise waste-associated risks and help manufacturers to enhance their brand reputation.

These factors ultimately have a positive impact on the bottom line.

So, how do you do it?

We go beyond managing waste in the bin and use the ‘four wastes approach’, which means that we work with our customers to understand their process, analyse available data and identify opportunities for generating efficiencies and savings.

We use data to determine if the organisation produces any unnecessary waste that could be prevented. We audit operations that generate waste to see if there is any logistical and operational time or capacity that is either underutilised or wasted.

Finally, we look at wasted resources and lost commodity to minimise its creation or maximise its value.

Can you give us an example?

Yes, working through our long-term relationship with Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services we were able to save over 50% of their waste treatment and disposal costs, reduce our frequency of site attendance, thereby saving time and emissions.

Providing the core data helped this environmentally conscious customer design relevant elements of its future procurement strategy.

To summarise, by using our four waste approach we are able to focus on a profit-increasing, sustainability-improving and future-proofing exercise.

To find our more, visit SUEZ’s website www.suez.co.uk or email the team on [email protected]