Green Supply Chain: From Awareness to Action

Bangkok, Thailand --- Green light trails surrounding skyscrapers --- Image by © Bjorn Holland/Image Source/Corbis

 

ISSUE #58 – Schneider Electric is an energy management specialist committed to the full energy equation of going green, from efficiency solutions to energy access. This equation drives Schneider Electric™ innovations. The company invests in solutions that lay the ground work for green supply chain, which in turn contributes to the effort to limit the global temperature increase to 2°celsius by cutting greenhouse emissions.

“The process of driving the green supply chain triggers efforts to make improvements in manufacturing and distribution processes.“

At Schneider Electric, supply chain means everything that begins from our raw material supplier to our customer. We are driven to implement a green supply chain because green is valued by our customers and, as their supplier, we want to service their needs while utilising the least amount of resources and going green allows us to save costs.

Going green is more than a fashion statement in Schneider Electric, it is a necessity. In this region (East Asia, Japan and the Pacific), we are driving green supply chain through the following.

 

ALIGNING GREEN SUPPLY CHAIN GOAL AND OVERALL BUSINESS GOAL

At Schneider Electric industrial sites, we apply both system solutions and associated innovative products to demonstrate our capabilities and meet our business goal. Our system solution includes Struxure-Ware, which provides energy monitoring and control. To support the system solution, Schneider Electric has developed energy monitoring devices as well as control devices such as speed drives and sensors to ensure that our customers can optimise and have full control over energy usage.

Operational staff can leverage such information, together with information gathered from the building management system, to better manage their resources.

 

BUILDING GREEN FACILITIES TO SUPPORT THE GREEN SUPPLY CHAIN

We are investing in the building of facilities that will meet the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) / Green Mark requirement. For our existing industrial and commercial sites, we are also driving energy reduction and water conservation efforts.

Our energy consumption in each site is modelled and tracked closely to drive initiatives to reduce energy waste and energy consumption.

USING GREEN SUPPLY CHAIN GOALS TO DRIVE IMPROVEMENT IN PROCESSES

The process of driving the green supply chain also triggers efforts to make improvements in manufacturing and distribution processes. It starts by improving our manufacturing process.

Examples include:

  • Using Schneider Electric VSD to control our moulding machines, reducing the energy consumption by at least 30%;
  • Using new solder bath technology to reduce waste (solder dross) generated;
  • Using Xantrex converter to reuse the heat energy generated during testing back to electricity to be reinjected for the next testing.

 

APPLYING LEAN MANUFACTURING METHODOLOGY ON WASTE MANAGEMENT

The principles of lean methodology as utilised in industrial productivity and waste management, resulting in the following:

  • Through Kaizen action, manufacturing sites in East Asia, Japan and the Pacific are able to reduce the amount of general waste going to landfill while at the same time generating additional income through recycling of waste materials;
  • Conservation actions include stronger reuse of pallets, carton boxes, etc. Our goal is for every site to recycle 100% of  all metal waste and at least 97% of non-metal waste, thereby minimising our carbon footprint and supporting a more circular economy.

 

USING GREEN SUPPLY CHAIN TO MINIMISE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT AND REDUCE COST

Schneider Electric has embarked on the process of not only minimising our waste but also increasing the monetisation of our waste. We have done this through several actions.

Waste management process control on sites. We have developed digital solutions to track and capture our waste flow and provide full waste traceability. It makes the process more efficient and the tighter control has resulted in significant increase in the recycling rate, thereby increasing our monetisation of waste by saving on the cost of waste collection and disposal at landfills.

Monetisation of our waste. This was increased not only through increase of quantities captured (due to better control) but also through sales to specific channels that use such waste, such as paper companies for our carton boxes. We also break down the waste into individual parts as these fetch a higher value compared to the original assembled products; for example, we remove the aluminium heat sink from Printed Circuit Board Assembly instead of just selling them as just as PCBA itself.

Focus on product design, innovation, green process and supply chain, from the start to the end of our products’ life cycles. We manage the different stages of our products life cycles. We also aim to help our customers achieve a circular economy and to work in partnership with them to achieve the goal of going green in all possible areas. Last but not least, we are committed to contributing towards a better environment through such efforts.

By Lim Chee Kiang, Director of Safety & Environment, GSC EAJP, Schneider Electric


PHOTO: Bangkok, Thailand — Green light trails surrounding skyscrapers — Image by © Bjorn Holland/Image Source/Corbis

Article published in the FOCUS Magazine “New Links in the Supply Chain” – September 2015