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Resource efficient - yes we 'can'

Image for Resource efficient - yes we 'can'LRS managing director Dee Moloney looks how tins and cans have been made resource efficient

Tins and cans have been used since they were invented, by Victorians, in the 19th century, to package and preserve food. Now they are common packaging for a wide range of goods from beer to paint. 

Production efficiencies have progressed immensely, but there are still ways to realise resource efficiencies in relation to how the materials are used and LRS Consultancy has recently worked on projects with the C&C Group and AkzoNobel to help them become more efficient with resources and manage their products more sustainably through product stewardship.

Collaborating across the supply chain to identify and implement resource savings opportunities

Part of C&C Group plc, a manufacturer, marketer and distributor of branded cider and beer, Tennent Caledonian Breweries (Tennent’s), brews and packages a range of beverages for their own and other 

C&C Group brands. The brewery also contract produces and packages for other suppliers and customers.

Tennents resource efficiencyLRS Consultancy was commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) to work with Tennent’s and one of its suppliers, Muntons (an international supplier of malts, malt extracts, flours, flakes and other malted ingredients relevant to the food and drinks industry), to identify and implement resource saving opportunities as part of ZWS’s programme to optimise resource use and reduce waste across the supply chain. 

The project involved the assessment of the supply chain processes and current issues, encompassing a review of data for waste, forecasting, revenue, and cost of goods, in order to identify resource efficiency opportunities through improved supply chain processes, which also resulted in enhancements in profitability for the company.

LRS identified that, despite considerable effort being made to reduce waste by suppliers and manufacturers, further financial and environmental savings could be made by improving supply chain processes and by working more with suppliers. 

For instance, by making improvements to their product de-list process, we found that Tennent’s should be able to reduce raw material, packaging material and finished goods write-off, which will generate both financial and resource efficiency savings.  In 2012, a large quantity of materials and finished goods were disposed of, not only costing Tennent’s and the wider C&C Group money, but also exposing the company to risk of higher levels of waste than desired in materials and CO2e. This is a key area the C&C Group is targeting for reduction.

LRS’s analysis also identified that Tennent’s can become more resource efficient through improving its supply chain planning, by better understanding fixed production versus event led volumes and work with key account customers to improve forecasting trends. 

As a result of the project, Tennent’s is looking to simplify and optimise its stock keeping units (SKU) portfolio and ensure appropriate KPIs are established to measure progress. 

This focus will help them develop and implement a product de-list process across all brands, customers and suppliers, while continuing to develop their waste prevention measures and improve the supply planning process.

Tennent’s is looking to better understand the financial cost of waste by undertaking and embedding a number of activities. 

They are starting to aggregate data by an example point in production lines to identify on-going issues; reporting on wastage levels with financial implications to the management team; establishing waste reduction targets by material stream, and communicating information in shift briefings. 

They have identified some key areas to tackle with waste, following their internal waste management review in 2012, which includes increasing the source segregation of materials on site for recycling, particularly plastics and filter sheet. 

They are now sending filter bags for composting and increasing training and awareness levels for staff to change behaviour and ensure compliance with their on-site waste management procedures. 

Improvements are being made to better understand the actual cost of waste produced in their manufacturing processes. 

C&C Group head of supply chain services Gordon Bell says: “As a business we are highly inquisitive and always looking for opportunities to improve our performance. 

“We recognise there are some great opportunities for being more resource efficient and for making savings. We see the recommendations of LRS Consultancy not only creating economic benefit for our business, but also supporting and aligning with our declared CSR commitments. Overall, LRS Consultancy has added value to our business through this exercise.”

In our experience, resource efficiency offers potential across the full range of business operations and the best opportunities are available to those who view their business processes holistically. 

While the project with the C&C Group supported internal improvements and collaboration along its supply chain, the project that LRS delivered with AkzoNobel focused on looking at the opportunities relating to the products at the end of their life.

Product stewardship is starting to shape how waste paint and containers are sustainably managed across Europe

With an increasing focus on product stewardship, more stringent regulations, scarcity of resources and rising commodity prices, paint and chemical producers are more and more interested in taking responsibility for the management of post-consumer waste.

With 55,000 employees and 80 offices globally, AkzoNobel takes resource efficiency very seriously. 

It is brand owner of decorative paints, such as Dulux and Sikkens, and also suppliesmarine and wood paints, other High Performance Coatings and is a world leader in industrial and Speciality Chemicals.

The company is committed to making its products and operations more sustainable. As well as driving its own success, putting sustainability at the heart of everything the company does, means that customers and employees – not to mention the planet – will also benefit.

AkzoNobel Decorative Paints, ICI Paints global sustainability manager - resource efficiency David Cornish says “If we’re to take advantage of sustainable growth opportunities, we have to accelerate the pace of our own sustainable development.

“This is why we’ve adopted an approach we call Planet Possible. This is focused on delivering more value from fewer resources, because we recognise that global trends such as population growth, climate change, quality of life and resource scarcity are driving major transformations in our customer sectors.”

As part of its resource efficiency drive and focus on post use product recovery, AkzoNobel commissioned LRS Consultancy to undertake some research into current practices and opportunities for more sustainable management of waste paint and containers, in key European markets, in order to help support the development of a strategy for leading the industry in the management of post-consumer paint and container waste.

By undertaking an analysis of the EU and relevant local market regulatory frameworks that are driving the management of post-user paint and container waste, LRS was able to highlight current and future potential risks to the AkzoNobel business, helping to engage senior level decision makers. 

This provided the context for the evaluation of the existing collection, handling and reprocessing infrastructure, including competitor assessments, which enabled identification of potential opportunities for partnership projects, and which AkzoNobel is using to help develop their country based strategies.

David adds: “LRS Consultancy provided us with clarity where grey areas existed. AkzoNobel is now considering working with multi-stakeholder networks, including trade bodies, waste management and reprocessing companies, to fully understand the partnership opportunities and reviewing our approach to the handling of post-consumer waste, which is cost-effective, sustainable and minimises risks to the business.”

These two projects demonstrate that you can tackle resource management and efficiency in various ways and at different stages of the supply chain to achieve sustainability goals, while reducing risk and costs.


Category: Manufacturing
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