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Automation Improves Efficiency, Cuts Waste

Cambashi metrics chartProcess improvement and operational efficiency lead to waste reduction — which is the crux of sustainability, a SustainablePlant article says.

Automation is key to improving performance speed, which is also a major driver in improving operational efficiency, writes author Jordan Berkley, director of product management at manufacturing software provider Apriso. He cites a MESA and Cambashi Research surveythat says companies can improve efficiency by automating the following:

  • Data collection
  • The analytical process that transforms this data into useful performance metrics
  • Visibility of results to employees through dashboard software
  • Information that assesses performance
  • Processes that reduce or eliminate human error

Berkley says waste typically occurs when standard operational processes change, not when operations stay on course.

Continuous process improvement and lean initiatives will take care of low-hanging fruit in operational efficiency, but when the next step is to “improve efficiency within a highly dynamic operations environment where change is frequent,” companies will need advanced systems capable of delivering the visibility to effectively manage and prevent further waste during unexpected events, Berkley says. He stresses the need for greater collaboration, visibility and effort to reevaluate ways to reduce waste on a large scale.

Procter & Gamble, for example, last month announced that 45 of its facilities have achieved zero manufacturing waste to landfill. The consumer goods company has set a goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2020.

Automating processes and reducing paperwork has proven effective in driving performance for oil and gas industry companies, according to  Heckmann Water Resources and Blueknight Energy Partners, which have leveraged paperless automation systems to improve cost savings and fleet operation efficiency.

Last week, Locus Technologies announced it has expanded its Environmental Information Management (EIM) software to automate the generation of discharge monitoring reports (DMR), which can help companies realize immediate cost and time savings.

Image Credit: Cambashi Research

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