White paper identifies the future of sustainable manufacturing

Posted on 24 Jun 2015 by Jonny Williamson

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has today released the initial findings from its industry research partnership with Cranfield University; a white paper entitled Sustainable Manufacturing for the Future.

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) & Cranfield University - Sustainable Manufacturing for the Future. The paper considers the current and future landscape of sustainable manufacturing across the food and drink industry in Great Britain, investigating what the challenges and opportunities the industry needs to address to achieve rapid and fundamental change.

CCE’s six month research partnership with Cranfield University began in March this year, with a roundtable event held at CCE’s Milton Keynes factory, hosted by representatives from both parties.

A number of leading academics and industry experts attended the launch to discuss the key topics impacting sustainability in the industry today, and those anticipated for the future. Outputs from these discussions have informed the recommendations put forward in the project’s first paper.

Released in conjunction with the launch of CCE’s GB Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report, the white paper identifies six key themes that the industry would need to address in the coming years – People, Big Data, Technology, Collaboration, Value and Resilience.

  • People are core to enacting change and must be engaged, well-trained, flexible and skilled. Sustainable business must focus on their staff as well as potential new recruits, customers and suppliers.
  • Big data will play an ever more important role in organisations and society as a whole. Products and outputs will begin to be increasingly tailored to customer preferences, which can be tracked through the effective capturing and use of consumer data.
  • Technology may not be the sole solution to a more sustainable future. The rise of big data and a shift away from globalisation could lead to some radical innovations. Technology will play a vital part, but it must support new ways of working.
  • Collaboration will develop into a more symbiotic relationship between a company and its supply chain, with more involvement with local communities. Equally, knowledge sharing and collaboration between competitors to reduce resource use and waste will become key.
  • Value will have a fundamental impact on what resources are used – encompassing high standards, convenience, trust and doing good for human kind as well as the environment  as consumers become increasingly concerned about the traceability of products and the value of waste. Developing circularity in how a business controls its resources will become prominent. The servitization and the adaptability of products that can be used beyond their intended purpose to deliver ‘value beyond profit’ will grow.
  • Resilience – the ability to adapt to change and to do so at speed will be key to future decision-making, as businesses seek to maintain a supply of quality, ethically-sourced raw materials. Flexibility and transparency in both sustainable manufacturing and the supply chain will be vital in delivering this.

The six themes will set the agenda for the project’s next phase of research where CCE and Cranfield University will look to gain a better understanding of each topic. A second white paper based upon this in-depth research will be released later this year.

Steve Adams, group director of supply chain operations, at CCE GB, commented: “Today’s white paper marks the first step in unlocking the future of sustainable manufacturing, and we look forward to exploring the themes in even more depth to identify the most important ideas and innovations which will help to progress and improve our industry.”

Any companies or individuals looking to participate in the Sustainable Manufacturing for the Future study are invited to join the discussion with CCE and Cranfield. For an opportunity to contribute to the research please contact [email protected] or tweet @CokeCCE using the hashtag #futurefactorycce.