Finding the right sustainability plan can be difficult, especially with so many different ideas of what works and what doesn’t. Whether you work with goods that require stretch wrap to move, services that are managed online, a non-profit business, or something in between - there are some universal strategies to making your business sustainable.
- The management infrastructure is critical not only in making sure the strategy is properly implemented, but also ensure that it is followed and maintained. You need people monitoring the tasks and activities and making sure that things are going according to the plan.
- Organizational culture is probably the hardest element to handle because people are already in set habits. You will have to change the way people think to make sustainability the focus, instead of just business as usual.
- Create stages for the plan. Don’t expect to make drastic changes that will be followed. Make it in steps and milestones that you can accomplish.
- Research new technology related to the different aspects of the job. Determine if there is a new stretch film on the market that could be more effective than your current type. Find out if there is a way to automate repetitive tasks. Look into new software products and apps for your current software to see if there are things that could be streamlined.
- Get feedback from employees. No one knows the intricacies of the different departments like the people who work within them. Ask for suggestions and make sure to seriously consider those suggestions.
- Look at every task and consider how to make it both more efficient and effective. For example:
- If you package goods, is there a better packaging film that will reduce how much is required?
- Is there a better configuration for the goods that will reduce the amount of stretch wrap needed?
- Is packaging more into a single bundle a viable option for sale or shipping?
- Once you have analyzed all of the tasks from start to finish, optimize your supply chain processes. This does not mean cut corners; it does mean looking for better methods of doing each task.
- Review the bills and see if there is any way to reduce costs. There are increasingly more ways of powering buildings. Find out if there is a method that can be installed to start saving on the high costs of air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter. Perhaps you can have the bathrooms renovated to have water efficient appliances installed.
- See if there is something you can do with things that are considered waste products to see if there is another use for them. For example, scrap metal can be recycled, or smaller, intact chunks can be sold.
- Look for ways to improve the product based on both the review of the process and new technology. You may be able to make it lighter, more effective, able to offer a wider range of services, have a longer life span, or even make the product reusable.
The best sustainability plans look at the entire process, find the areas that can be improved, and implement changes. You should also review your plan regularly because there are always ways to improve a product or service.