The industrial revolution of the 18th century transformed the global economy and ushered in the era of factory manufacturing. This shifted the focus from agriculture to an industry-driven economy and led to rapid urbanization. Over centuries, manufacturing techniques have advanced from mechanization to mass production to world-class manufacturing and have evolved into the automated smart factory that we see today. And this is a major turning point for the industry.
Modern manufacturing techniques, coupled with extreme urbanization, have led to an erosion of environmental resources. In the last couple of decades, there has been an increasing awareness across the planet to conserve natural resources and reverse this harmful trend. The manufacturing industry, in response, has developed an approach that is quickly gaining ground – sustainability. The ever-increasing consumer demand for environment-friendly products has made sustainable manufacturing a new buzzword.
So, what exactly is sustainable manufacturing? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines sustainable manufacturing as the creation of manufactured products through economically sound processes that minimize negative environmental impact while conserving energy and natural resources.
Is sustainability really possible? It is commonly believed that the technology that supports green initiatives is expensive, making it economically unviable to implement. Hence, most such initiatives never take off in many organizations. However, if companies follow the right approach, they can adopt sustainable manufacturing techniques and ensure both top and bottom-line benefits associated with it.
A circular economy, for instance, helps reduce material waste, supports the green economy, and also opens up new product lines at lower price points. This approach has 3 pillars:
- Remanufacturing and waste reduction
- Use of digital tools to proactively track and trace with a closed-loop system
- Process optimization with efficient and cleaner alternative technologies
How do you adopt sustainability? Once you have identified the approach and the operational procedures associated with it, you need to ensure a robust IT infrastructure and data support before you proceed with the execution.
Without a strong digital enabler such initiatives often fail to reach their optimum potential. Most of the ERP SAAS products available in the market are not completely adaptable to sustainable processes in the industrial manufacturing space.
Identifying this exact business need, our experts have created Infosys Discrete Manufacturing Solution. This platform offers a plug-and-play framework in Oracle Cloud along with proven industry best practices and Infosys IP solutions. This is an end-to-end solution framework that addresses your technology requirements as you move ahead to adopt sustainable manufacturing. Here is how the solution supports the circular economy.
Infosys Discrete Manufacturing Solution helps you take a comprehensive approach to tearing down out-of-warranty assemblies and salvage reusable components. This enables refurbishing and reselling them at a lower price. This way you can save on the scrap cost as well as gain critical additional business.
The innovative use of yield factor on bill of materials (BOM) differentiates the new and refurbished SKU. KPI tracking on the sustainability dashboard allows you to close the loop while managing the process efficiently.
Material waste reduction
Industrial manufacturing companies typically use pieces of wires or bars of different diameters as raw materials. These wires or bars are procured from suppliers in bulk in spools or full-length bars and are used as:
• Pieces of pre-specified lengths cut from procured full-length parent item and stored in inventory in ready-to-use form
• Pieces of ad hoc or nonstandard length cut from procured full-length parent item depending on the finished goods (FG) design
These operations result in significant scrap getting generated during the cutting operation (end-piece of spool or bar). The quantity of scrap varies based on the lengths of pieces being cut. The additional wastage not only results in higher costs to the plant but also proves detrimental to the environment and affects sustainability goals.
Infosys Discrete Manufacturing Solution provides a framework to optimally procure and store the raw material (bars, wires, and pipes) and track the pre-specified ad hoc lengths in stock. It also enables smooth transactions on the shop floor and minimizes end-piece scrap, thus optimizing the manufacturing cost.
The sustainability dashboard is a set of management information system (MIS) reports, designed as a part of the solution framework. It provides operational and managerial reports for better decision-making and course control with reference to the sustainable objectives set by the organization.
Thus, we see how the right technology can enable sustainability in manufacturing and save costs. Multiple facets of sustainable manufacturing can be managed successfully using pre-designed and proven solutions in the Infosys Discrete Manufacturing Solution. Today, sustainable manufacturing is not optional for the industry players but a critical need of the hour, which is being explored and implemented by competitive organizations around the globe. With the help of Infosys Discrete Manufacturing Solution, you can jump-start your sustainable manufacturing initiative immediately and embrace a greener future.