The paper industry has faced challenges over the years, especially regarding sustainability. Over 130 billion tons of paper products have been produced worldwide this year, while 25% of waste in landfills comes from paper products.
Because of staggering statistics like this, the paper industry has continued to face backlash over its negative environmental impact, including deforestation and air and water pollution in and outside of its warehouses.
Luckily, the industry has been making strides in reversing this negative impact through new sustainability efforts, finding ways to adjust its practices with green-friendly processes.
Today, we’re covering how the paper industry can improve its overall sustainability.
Warehouses have long been known as hotspots for waste, but did you know that 67% of this waste can be reduced? Especially when it comes to the paper industry – from adhesives to packaging materials, chemicals to batteries, paper warehouses are notorious for producing a vast array of waste materials.
And it’s not just physical waste that creates a problem. Paper warehouses also report excessive employee motion, material waste, and unnecessary transportation. To combat these issues, these facilities can take several steps to reduce waste.
One of the most effective ways for paper warehouses to reduce waste is to right-size inventory levels. By doing so, warehouses can reduce the risk of damage or obsolescence, cut transportation costs, and free up valuable facility space.
Maximizing your floor space for paper warehouses and facilities can also give employees cleaner, more organized workspaces, increasing productivity. To get started optimizing your spaces, you can ask:
- How far is your delivery zone from your products? Do your workflows and picking processes follow that path?
- Is your inventory area running into your receiving and delivery zones or docks? Does this leave these two teams fighting for space?
- Are your team members constantly having to double back to complete orders?
- Once items are picked, is there ample space to pack them?
It’s also important to review your storage practices. Analyzing your storage tools and process can help reshape the way you define or discard waste and can point out potential areas for implementing sustainable practices.
We suggest starting by asking what type of storage is right for you – dynamic or static storage – or, if you warehouse uses pallets, what type works best for your facility.
Paper manufacturing facilities can also invest in different styles of warehousing processes. These can aid manufacturers in cutting down on waste in terms of inventory, trash and wasted time. Two are considered particularly helpful for the paper industry to streamline their process and boost efficiency:
Lean Manufacturing: Lean manufacturing works to identify and eliminate wasted downtime and space while maximizing productivity and value. For paper manufacturers, successful lean manufacturing relies on the continuous analysis and adaption of lean methods to fit the unique needs of each warehouse.
Flexible Manufacturing: With flexible manufacturing, paper warehouses can prioritize having the freedom to adapt to changes that may arise in inventory, budgets, or employee needs. Flexible manufacturing has aspects of lean manufacturing but can offer more customizable options for specialized products, including different styles of paper-based products.
By implementing these processes or factors of each, paper facilities can begin to trim down their operations, focusing more on sustainable practices instead of reducing waste.
Warehouse Automation Systems
Warehouse management systems are the most efficient way for industries of all kinds to take a significant step towards reducing their overall waste and going paperless.
With the help of these platforms, paper manufacturers can bid farewell to cumbersome pick tickets, packing slips or other paper forms, and embrace a more fluid and streamlined picking and shipping process. Along with creating an easier, streamlined process for your employees, WMS cut down on paper waste, leading to more sustainable businesses.
Warehouse automation can revolutionize the way you do business by computerizing inventory movement, reducing the need for human labor, minimizing errors, cutting costs and boosting efficiency. But warehouse automation goes beyond software – it can also include material handlers and transportation devices, like industrial manipulators.
Industrial manipulators are useful, time-saving tools to help you reach your sustainability goals and promote fast and convenient material handling.
With these devices, your employees will waste less time struggling with tasks manually, cutting down unnecessary human power. They reduce pollution that would have been created by larger conveyor belts or forklifts. Material handlers can also reach high storage systems, meaning you can cut down on cluttering ladders or excess inventory clogging up your space.
Along with engaging with the other methods previously mentioned, investing in industrial manipulators can be an extremely effective step in moving towards more sustainable, waste-free practices for paper manufacturers.
If you’re looking for tools to help streamline or add sustainable features to your paper facility, consider adding a high-quality, durable industrial manipulator from Dalmec. Contact us today to learn more.