New technologies have changed the face of manufacturing, and business more broadly over the last decade. Unrecognisable from markets of old, today there are entire industries built around green technologies, green manufacturing, and more efficient and environmentally-friendly ways of doing things, and this will only continue to develop as more businesses switch on to the benefits of going green.
Seemingly innocuous communications technologies like video conferencing can make a huge difference, whether it’s a business operating UK-wide, or on a more international footing. By cutting out the travel element in connecting colleagues and partners, video conferencing can connect different departments and offices worldwide in seconds, in a totally green, totally efficient way, saving on travel costs and more importantly reducing the overall carbon footprint of your business.
It doesn’t take a complete culture shift to invoke more green processes within your business, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune either. However, the advantages for those who get it right can be significant, as we can see from the case studies below.
The NHS is one of the biggest employers in the world, with a staggering 1.3 million people working towards the nation’s health. By making use of video conferencing facilities across teaching, support and clinical environments, medical staff have been able to share expertise, to work in cohort and even to host meetings with healthcare professionals elsewhere in the world.
This has dramatically reduced the need for face-to-face meetings, which take money away from front line services as well as significantly increasing the carbon footprint of the NHS. When multiplied across such a large organisation, the savings from video conferencing alone are enough to make a tangible difference.
Where the public sector leads on issues like this, the private sector often follows, and manufacturers can clearly see the advantages this brings to an organisation, both in terms of a reduction of costs but also in keeping the organisational carbon footprint to an absolute minimum.
Steel wire manufacturer Bridon International is one company at the forefront of using video conferencing technology to improve organisational communications and reduce the overall cost and delay of travel.
The company regularly hold meetings with other departments, partners, and consultants on a global basis, often requiring face-to-face meetings with individuals in the USA, Singapore and Germany.
While not specifically relevant to the process of manufacturing, even the switch to video conferencing has reduced the environmental impact of what they do, saving both time and money on meeting costs in the process.
Textiles manufacturer Toray Textiles found their Chief Executive Akira Karasawa, was clocking up a lot of time and air miles in arranging and attending meetings across the world. Video conferencing services completely overhauled the process, and Karasawa was able to hold meetings from his meeting room on-site, rather than travel to and from these business-critical meetings. With each trip clocking in at around £3,100 in expenses, let alone the environmental impact of so many flights, Toray Textiles was easily able to streamline their business and generate a return on their investment in greener technologies.
It doesn’t take a lot for manufacturers, or any business for that matter, to make significant changes and improvements to their processes through a greener approach to collaborating. Video conferencing is one thing, but there are also other communications and manufacturing-specific technologies coming on-stream that help businesses keep their costs down, while keeping their conscience in check.
It is no longer acceptable for manufacturing businesses to ditch their social conscience and ignore their wider responsibilities, and no organisation exists within a vacuum. As well as saving money, there are real PR benefits to be had from demonstrating the forward-thinking nature of your business, in an age where your competitors are already moving towards this destination. Taking a responsible approach to going green doesn’t need to change what you do, but simply by tweaking how you do it, your organisation can pull ahead.
Green manufacturing en masse is no longer an ‘if’, but a ‘when’. It is the responsibility of companies to do all they can to be carbon neutral throughout their operation, and eco-friendly in general, both for the benefits of their shareholders and the wider communities they serve.
The technology that allows this is now more widely available and more accessible than ever, and it is making manufacturing operations more efficient, more competitive and more profitable too.