One of the most effective ways furniture manufacturers can reduce resource use and waste production is to look closely at design practices, material suppliers and manufacturing processes.
Ecodesign in furniture manufacturing
Ecodesign is a process that enables your business to consider each aspect of a product in detail to identify where you could eliminate waste from the production process. Aspects that you should focus on include:
- suitability of materials - you may be able to use cheaper, more sustainable materials for some product components
- quality checks - to ensure minimum waste is produced
- volume of materials - cutting the amount of material used in a component could mean a significant reduction in costs and materials
- rationalisation of your product line - reducing product lines or changing product designs can enable you to use fewer, more sustainable materials
- life-cycle assessment - you can use this technique to analyse environmental impacts throughout the life cycle of your products
For more information see ecodesign for goods and services.
Purchasing raw materials
Your business can improve its environmental credentials by reviewing how - and from whom - it purchases raw materials. You should consider:
- how much stock your business is holding - just-in-time stock control can be a highly effective way to reduce storage costs
- purchasing raw materials in different quantities to reduce handling costs
- buying better quality raw materials as they will need less processing
- whether the quality of your goods is high enough to avoid short life cycles and reduced functionality
- buying partly processed components to save on-site energy, labour and maintenance costs
Furniture manufacturing process optimisation
The manufacturing processes your business uses can be a major source of cost savings. Using certain systems and technologies can minimise waste, increase process speed, reduce set-up times and improve product consistency - see process efficiency to cut waste.