Six ways to reduce waste in a manufacturing process

Companies small and large, across all industries, are faced with waste in their manufacturing process. Six tips on how waste enters the process and how to monitor it are highlighted.

03/24/2018


Effective and efficient waste-stream management in a food facility. Courtesy: CRBSmall and large manufacturers, across all industries, are faced with waste in their process. From raw ingredients to packaging, every stage of the manufacturing process must take waste into consideration and how to manage it. 

Preventive approach to limit waste

A preventative approach to waste management requires taking a step back and focusing on the entire manufacturing process, the facility and the business drivers. Often, steps can be taken to address the process and identify areas where excess waste is produced. Six questions to consider are highlighted below:

1. How do ingredients, materials, or inclusions enter the facility? Is the extra dunnage needed to maintain the integrity of the ingredient or raw material? Could product be transported in tubs or tanks instead of bags? Could the ingredients come in larger or smaller containers to prevent waste? Are there materials that could be reused rather than becoming waste? These questions, and more, can help begin to address the waste generated as a result of ingredients and materials. 

2. Is there a plan? Quality assurance and environmental teams will develop standard operating procedures to manage waste. These procedures ensure personnel are trained to maintain segregation and organization of product and prevent cross-contamination. From bundling corrugate and shredding/crushing primary packaging waste to handling waste product, personnel trained on the facility’s standard operating procedures are critical to the proper implementation of an effective waste-management program. A dedicated dock and personnel responsible for handling waste will ensure that the materials are processed efficiently. 

3. Is the line operating correctly and efficiently? Does the production line produce excess reject product? A poorly operating line can result in waste in the form of food product that does not meet company standards. A closer look at the line design, operation and procedures could reveal assignable causes for product rejects. These causes can often be mitigated!

4. Is food safety in waste being monitored? As a result of the Food Safety Modernization Act, quality must be more closely controlled and documented—even food waste. Waste product leaving the facility to be repurposed or used for animal consumption must comply with the requirements of 21CFR507. Manufacturers must ensure product is not contaminated in a way that could bring illness to animals or spread from animals to humans.  

5. What business drivers effect waste-stream management? From company values to cost savings, there are many factors that weigh into a waste-stream management plan. Sustainability is a growing trend in the modern manufacturing environment. Many companies are opting for sustainable practices that are aligned with company values, despite the increased operating cost. Others are driven by cost savings, with an emphasis on profitability and growth. Regardless of the drivers, all manufacturers must adhere to local codes and laws for manufacturing. 

6. What can be done early on to build waste management into the process? Even in the early planning stages of a new facility, waste-stream management should be considered. When selecting a site, manufacturers should consider the availability of a local recycling center and access to animal feed outlets. Is there an appropriate facility nearby, or will waste be transported a long distance? All of these factors can affect site selection and a facility’s overall waste-management plan. 

While this is not an exhaustive list of considerations, it does pose several key questions that can shape an effective plan. As manufacturers seek to mitigate waste, improve efficiency and drive down cost, it’s imperative to develop an effective and efficient waste-stream management plan. 

Renee Benson, packaging engineer, CRB, a CFE Media content partner. This article originally appeared on CRB's website.



Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
June 2018
2018 Lubrication Guide, Motor and maintenance management, Control system migration
May 2018
Electrical standards, robots and Lean manufacturing, and how an aluminum packaging plant is helping community growth.
April 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
August 2018
Choosing an automation controller, Lean manufacturing
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me