Business Automation and Software Blog

Sustainable Manufacturing: The Key to Profiting in the Circular Economy

Posted by Robert Baran on Wed, Jul 21, 2021 @ 11:00 AM

sustainable manufacturing

Manufacturers are in the business of producing goods that consumers want to buy. The best possible scenario for this type of business is when the products can be made at a reasonable price so the company can show a profit when they are sold to a wholesaler or a distributor. Green products are a definite consumer favorite, with many buyers weighing a product’s environmental impact before making a purchase. Sustainable manufacturing is an important factor in the circular economy since consumers have shown a distinct preference for these products.

What is the Circular Economy?

In a traditional linear economy, manufacturers design and create a product, sell it to the customer, and then have little to no knowledge of what happens to it afterward. Once the customer has the product, they presumably use it before eventually discarding it. With minimal visibility into how the product is used, manufacturers have few options for improving it, let alone making it more sustainable. In this scenario, they could be missing out on opportunities to boost customer satisfaction, advance their sustainability practices, and increase profits. 

The circular economy encourages the continuous reuse of materials, taking the entire life cycle of a product into account. The manufacturer tries to make sure the product is more sustainable by design from the very beginning, paying close attention to how the customer uses it. Crucially, the circular economy ensures that when the product is no longer useful, its environmental impact is as minimal as possible. This framework also enables a customer feedback loop, unlocking insights into how the product can be continually improved and made more profitable. 

Manufacturers that participate in the circular economy ultimately benefit from advantages over their competitors. They may experience peace of mind as they build a sustainable future both for their businesses and the planet by designing products that consume fewer resources. Joining the circular economy is also advantageous from a compliance perspective, often helping manufacturers avoid running afoul of regulations. Last, but not least, manufacturers that adopt this approach may also benefit from customer loyalty over the long term by choosing a sustainable path—boosting the bottom line in turn.

 Sustainable Manufacturing Creates Products Efficiently

As this change toward the circular economy accelerates, manufacturers will need to think more intentionally about how they can create products that have a long lifespan, use fewer resources, and generate less waste. Part of this process involves ensuring the products are sturdy. It also means manufacturers will need to prioritize creating products customers will want to keep using for a long time to come. That step requires a greater understanding of how the customers are actually using the products. 

Manufacturers will also need to figure out how to design their products so they can be more easily reused, repaired, and recycled. This will require even closer collaboration across the entire supply chain, spanning internal departments within the business, like marketing and sales, as well as external stakeholders such as distributors. How manufacturers approach this transition will likely depend on their industry and what works well for an electronics manufacturer may be less relevant to a business in the food and beverage space. All manufacturers will need smart technology solutions in place to successfully address this challenge. 

Sage 300 Software for Sustainable Manufacturing

Sage 300 ERP was designed to meet the needs of varying types of businesses, along with several modules to fit your specific needs. Sage 300 is customizable and scalable, so it will grow with your business. 

Discover more about Sage 300 today by contacting one of PositiveVision’s business management software specialists today. Call (800) 559-1323 or fill out our online form to request a call.

Topics: sustainable manufacturing