5 Steps to Reduce Your Packaging Waste
Packaging is often overlooked as an opportunity for cost and waste reductions in manufacturing operations. Here’s five simple steps to start you journey of minimizing your packaging waste and delivering impact to your bottom line.
1. Document your current waste stream
Waste can be defined as something that does not add value to your product or service. Identify the volume of packaging waste sent to landfill and recycled. If possible, detail your packaging waste by type (i.e. wood, cardboard, plastic). Document the monthly and annualized volumes, costs, and revenues associated with your waste stream.
2. Detail current packaging reuse and recycling programs
At a minimum, most organizations have a cardboard recycling program in place. Others also have a pallet and crate recycling program with a third party and/or with internal employees. Review these existing programs and determine what works well and also identify where improvement could be made.
3. Identify opportunities for cost and waste reductions
Prioritize your data collection on opportunities with higher volumes of packaging waste. Detail type and volumes of waste by part families, suppliers, and departments within your facility. Annualize the volume of waste and associated costs.
4. Ask your employees and suppliers for input
Comedian, George Carlin was quoted as saying “If you think there’s a solution, you’re part of the problem”. We often need another opinion from a difference perspective to solve the problem. Often the people closest to a problem, have the best input on how to improve the situation. Reach out to your employees and suppliers to assess the current situation and provide ideas to minimize or eliminate your packaging waste.
5. Starting With the Low Hanging Fruit
Tim Ferriss, author of the best selling book “The 4-Hour Work Week”, expanded upon the “Pareto’s Law” also known as the “80/20 Rule”. Simply stated, “Pareto’s Laws can be summarized as… 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the input’s”. Your journey towards eliminating packaging waste can sometimes be overwhelming at first. Where are your “low-hanging fruit” projects to make the most impact with the least effort? From another perspective, what are your 20% opportunities that will deliver a 80% impact?
Wishing you success on your journey to minimize packaging waste in your operations and delivering value to your bottom line.