Travis Wright| Technorati

As more subcontract manufacturers face increasing federal regulations, rising consumer demand for green products and the need to protect their margins, more organizations are looking to transform their operations and gain new efficiencies. Implementing systems is the easy part; changing philosophies, policies, procedures and practices is where real organizational gains are made.

I enjoy helping organizations to transform; to embrace lean philosophies and practices; and the systemic elimination of waste from all areas of manufacturing operations.

Being Green Helps Eliminate Waste

At their heart both lean and green hold a common objective: eliminating waste. In the case of lean, it’s relentlessly driving all forms of waste from operations. In the case of green, it’s reducing the amount of waste generated by the production and operation processes.

Another example of waste that touches on both lean and green objectives would be reducing the amount of power consumption used on the shop floor. Nearly 70 percent of energy consumed in industrial applications is due to high energy-consuming machines and drives. For this reason, evaluating the energy consumption of your motors and mechanical systems can yield significant savings.

LED Lighting can save your Business up to 50% on Electric Costs

By using energy-saving fixtures, as an example, you can drive down costs and eliminate waste. Businesses who switch from conventional incandescent and fluorescent to LED lighting can save as much as 50 percent of their electric costs and realize a return on investment in less than three months.

Moving your business applications to the cloud is another way to realize savings. Instead of maintaining a room full of servers that run around the clock and must be cooled — not to mention the expense of maintaining those machines — you can outsource your applications to providers with large economies of scale. GigaOm found that using the cloud could reduce a user’s carbon footprint by 30 to 90 percent, which represents an industry-wide savings of greater than $25 billion per year in energy consumption.

Green Manufacturing Reduces Wastes and Saves Money

Many traditional manufacturers have looked down their noses at green manufacturing as a frivolous, tree-hugging exercise. This viewpoint is short-sighted because it fails to take into account the advantages of reducing waste and conserving limited and costly materials. Using components made from recycled or renewable materials can be less expensive than more traditional alternatives.

When you consider implementing lean manufacturing practices, be sure to do your homework. There are a wide variety of grants available from the federal and state governments designed to assist you with retooling and implementing green practices.

So the message to you is to think lean! Think green! Green manufacturing may save more than the world; it may just save your business.

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