to all Blog Posts

Sustainability as an opportunity for industry and production companies

Published: · Last updated: · 7 min reading time

The topic of sustainability and environmental protection is moving into the focus of society. This topic is important in the private sector, but also in public policy – especially in industry and production. Consumers are paying more attention to whether companies manufacture their products sustainably. This social megatrend offers companies new opportunities. Innovations and technology help the industry to shine in the future and support sustainable business success.

What does sustainability mean?

According to the three-pillar model, sustainability consists of ecology, economy, and social issues. Companies must harmonize these to operate sustainably. Environmental protection, occupational health, safety, and health protection are included in the topic of sustainability.

How can a company use its resources sustainably?

Of central importance for manufacturing companies in the efficient use of resources and ensuring a sustainable supply chain. This requires transparency about the origin and manufacture of products. To act with a sense of social sustainability, the following questions, for example, must be clarified:

  • Which suppliers can be considered?
  • Where do their resources come from?
  • Under what conditions are they obtained?
  • What tools are used for production/extraction?

Once the suitable suppliers have been identified, the next step is to obtain transparency about the manufacturing of the products and measure the machines’ energy consumption. Technologies support companies in getting this and determining key figures such as OEE. This provides information about how efficiently the resources are used. In this way, the potential for improvement can be identified, and efficient use of resources can be achieved. Energy monitoring also provides information on the energy consumption of machines. Based on this consumption, sources of loss can be identified and eliminated. For example, a device can consume the same amount of energy when it is not producing as when it is. Countermeasures help to reduce energy costs. The determined energy consumption can also be used as a basis for calculating the carbon footprint of each manufactured product.

What does sustainable production look like for companies?

Acting economically in terms of sustainability means that the company or production considers people and the environment more. This starts with the company’s location, continues through the supply chain, and ends with society as a whole. The better the production planning aims at sustainability, the better this is for the eco-balance of the product and thus of the company. Sustainable production planning considers that machines operate in an environmentally friendly way and inputs, such as electricity, are sourced in an environmentally friendly way. Therefore, production planning includes not only the components that are needed for the product itself but also all the processes used around the product. This includes, among other things, the energy needed to manufacture a product. Sustainable production, therefore, comes from renewable energy sources that are used wisely.

Sustainable production produces as little waste as possible and saves resources. The aim is to make as little waste as possible that cannot be reused. Molds that the company needs to manufacture the products are planned so that as little surplus as possible remains and the raw material is used in the best possible way. Another aspect of sustainable production is the use of reusable raw materials.

Digitalization contributes another step towards sustainability. For example, companies need to avoid the use of paper in production as far as possible. This is possible thanks to modern machines and technologies. Another advantage of digitalization is that processes can be better controlled and managed. This is why digitalization is referred to as Industry 4.0 in the same breath. Industry 4.0 will shape sustainability in the future and support companies’ ability to innovate.

The human factor: how sustainability is applied in the social field

What applies to production and raw materials in terms of sustainability is also essential for a company’s employees. The company will get satisfied employees motivated to work if it motivates its employees accordingly and retains them in the long term. There are various ways in which satisfied employees are available to the company over time:

  • career opportunities
  • Opportunities for further training
  • Motivating teamwork
  • Best possible working conditions

In companies with constant employee turnover, costs skyrocket because new employees have to be trained each time. This is counterproductive for sustainable social behavior. Motivated employees become team players, which is reflected positively in sustainability and ultimately in the company’s success. A pleasant working atmosphere and a good working climate ensure that employees feel good at work. If employees quickly leave a company because of poor working conditions and a hostile working atmosphere, they do not identify with the brand. In addition, the company’s reputation is at stake because of a bad working climate in social networks, on job rating portals, and in public.

However, if the employees stand by the company and feel good, this positively affects the work result. But how does a company motivate its employees? Employee motivation is not a flash in the pan. Companies must cultivate relationships with their employees. Consistent employee motivation includes, among other things:

  • Setting goals for employees that motivate them
  • Offering employees opportunities or career paths for advancement within the company
  • Creating opportunities for further training

Particularly in the age of digitalization and Industry 4.0, an ongoing training process is more important than ever due to technical progress. Only with up-to-date knowledge can employees stay up to date and motivated. The skills of each employee should be promoted accordingly. Everyone has unique strengths that, if enabled, developed, and applied in the right place, increase the performance of employees. In addition, it is essential to build teams accordingly so that everyone contributes with their different skills and strengths to ensure that the team as a whole works together ideally.

Finally, the health of employees plays an essential role in social sustainability. For employees to remain healthy in the long term, a functioning health management system within the company is irreplaceable. This includes, among other things, well-lit offices as well as office furniture that is ergonomically made. A healthy employee performs better, is rarely ill, and stays with the company long.

This is why sustainability is so important for companies

Companies that want to remain competitive in the future must address the issue of sustainability and integrate it as an essential part of their production process. Both costs and benefits of sustainable methods, machines, and practices must be weighed and implemented. A company that acts sustainably will be able to assert itself particularly well against its competitors in the future and will increase its brand value in the public eye. Ultimately, this benefits the company, its employees, its public image, and, above all, the environment. With IIoT solutions, resources can be used more efficiently, and each product’s energy consumption can be determined.


About the author

Sumrit is a creative thinking, strategic Marketing professional who thinks outside of the box and delivers results. Leading all FORCAM Marketing activities in the UK, Sumrit has an entrepreneurial and problem-solving approach to business, sharing value-based communications and propositions.

Sumrit Shidu

Marketing Manager UK
Success Story: FORCAM partner increases efficiency and decreases scrap.   Learn How