This paper describes a Waste Management System designed to create increased business value. It contributes to the sustainability of manufacturing industry and increasingly defines economic opportunities by the material value of wasted materials. Previous studies have shown the economic potential of improving material efficiency by climbing the waste hierarchy and turning waste liabilities into assets. World economic forum also identifies innovation for resource efficient solutions and business models as the most strategic option to capture value in industry. In industry, operations hold the main responsibility of waste generated in manufacturing. However, since the waste management usually is operated by other functions or companies, the operations department needs supportive methods to include material waste in operational development.
The main purpose of the research has been to develop a method for identifying and analysing potentials for waste management in manufacturing industry. The purpose of the case studies was to find economically competitive environmental improvements on team, site and multisite level and to find suitable performance indicators to secure continuous improvements. The resulting method should reveal the potential in an easy way and support integration of waste management in operations and continuous improvement work.
A novel approach called waste flow mapping (WFM) is used to study the waste management processes in manufacturing. WFM is a three phased approach combining Value Stream Mapping, Eco mapping and a waste composition analysis. In the value stream mapping phase, the material’s value and the information flow is analysed for each sub-process. In the second phase, Eco-mapping is used to structure the analysis of labour input and equipment, with subsequent costs used in each sub-process. The process value loss is identified in the third phase of analysis, using waste hierarchy and composition analysis; thus implying the potential for business improvements.
The empirical data presented in the study is based on a full scale multi-site study of waste management at a global manufacturing company’s operations in Sweden. Through the WFM approach the mapping of the sites were done in an efficient and consistent manner, revealing value losses and improvement potentials. Fraction definitions and operational practice standards were essential to realise cost efficiency and reach a more sustainable footprint. Comparisons between sites show that with simple actions substantial improvements in material recycling efficiency can be made, monitored by the proposed performance indicators. As a synthesis, a resulting management system was formulated as a material flow management service.
In order to integrate waste management and operations management it is important to highlight the economic and environmental potential at all levels and establish standardized implementation solutions. The results point out the importance of avoiding mixing material with lower quality grade of that material. The experiences from the multisite case study prove that Waste Flow Mapping is a suitable method, and a basis for a potential management service, to efficiently identify sustainability improvement potentials.