Companies now have opportunities to build sustainable manufacturing for the new normal.
There is no surprise that the manufacturing industry has completely disrupted by the outbreak of COVID-19. It has caused not only the closure of manufacturing workflows but also supply chain turmoil. It is now forcing industry players to rethink their risk management and contingency plans, along with workforce safety protocols, manufacturing operations and new approaches of working opportunities. Most manufactures are focused on near-term survival, while trying to operate their businesses remotely. They are proactively taking action to prioritize the protection of their employees, assurance of supply security and financial impact.
At the same time, they must focus on building a future-proof business using new technology solutions, leading to sustainable manufacturing. This approach typically refers to a method for manufacturing that reduces waste and minimizes the environmental impact. As the COVID-19 crisis has driven a significant reduction in energy use and CO2 emissions, the industry can set a baseline for a sustainable future.
Creating Resilient and Sustainable Manufacturing
COVID-19 has an extensive impact on global value chains, forcing reinforced global cooperation. Many manufacturers are already preparing themselves for the new normal, by scaling out key learnings from this crisis and its impact on businesses globally. On the other side, some have carried out strategic initiatives in place to create more resilient manufacturing processes.
The pandemic has also caused product demands drastically slowing or shutting down production volumes. To curb this scenario, manufacturers need to quickly identify the products that are most critical for stabilization and growth, boost associated supply chains, and reconcile the critical skills to meet near term and future demand.
As the manufacturing industry consumes a large volume of energy and responsible for over one-quarter of global CO2 emissions, manufacturers must play a crucial role in fostering an economic recovery with sustainability as a business imperative. They must leverage digital transformation at large to achieve economic and environmental resilience.
Industry leaders can also enable operational efficiency, leverage renewable energy, practice life cycle thinking, and fortify supply chain data transparency in order to capitalize on the convergence of Industry 4.0 and Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) goals.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) 2019 World Energy Outlook, a sharp pick-up in efficiency improvements is the single most important element that brings the world towards the Sustainable Development Scenario. The IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS) delineates a major transformation of the global energy system, emphasizing how the world can change course to deliver on the three main energy-related SDGs simultaneously.
Thus, to design business resiliency, manufacturers must gauge and optimize individual, energy-intensive processes within operations by supervising and measuring the process units, lines. They also must assess machines consuming energy, and subsequently controlling overall consumption, economics and emissions.