Sustainability is the buzz word for everything these days. There are a finite number of resources in the world. The construction industry is a huge consumer of these resources. It is estimated that the industry generates 39% of the world’s carbon emissions. Sustainability and this kind of consumer don’t naturally go hand in hand.
Pressure from the public on government and industry means both are working to cut carbon footprint and reduce environmental impact. Many clients have sustainability at the top of the list before they award contracts. This pressure has led to world governments building new global and national targets designed to help curb the environmental crisis. This has led to building regulations changing in regard to the environmental impact the industry is having.
Sustainability in construction is about using renewable and recyclable materials. The surrounding natural habitats must be protected before and after construction, including reducing waste during. The design of the finished building must also be energy efficient. Companies are turning to green materials to help them meet their sustainability targets.
Aside from all the above, companies also need to find alternate ways of working. This means making informed decisions at every stage of the process. For example, mining raw materials can pollute water, so they need to ensure the materials they use come from a safe place. Fabrication and shipping can result in huge carbon emissions. The manufacture of cement currently results in 28bn tonnes of CO2 a year, potentially raising to 4bn.
Regulations in each country are different but let’s start internationally:
All the above (and the many other pieces of legislation) will affect how a company can conduct their day to day and holistic operations.
One of the IT solutions that will be invaluable in helping the Construction industry become more sustainable is ERP.
Because so much of the data and processes related to sustainability is held in ERP systems you can provide a back up to any claims you’ve made regarding sustainability. It also allows you to see the business value.
ERP can also help to reduce waste. At the very lowest level it allows you to reduce paper usage, especially if you’re using a synchronised tool like CRM with it. Read our blog on integrating ERP and CRM systems. It can also help with inventory, helping to reduce waste by allowing you to order only what you need. ERP can also automate inventory reports showing the materials that aren’t being used.
Accurate planning can help you see how customer demands will affect manufacturing demand. This is turns means transport can be reduced for deliveries as you’re not over ordering. Speaking of deliveries, ERP can help you schedule these and plan the best routes for speed and efficiency. This helps you cut down on carbon emissions but reducing fuel use and having fewer vehicles on the road for less time.
Defective products lead to waste and delays, making production less efficient. Some ERP systems can monitor product life cycle and trigger quality control inspections. In manufacturing you should be able to identify the equipment and plant and have control over its schedules. With that comes supply chain optimisation. ERP systems can streamline your supply chain, improving collaboration with suppliers and reducing inventory lifetime to reduce carbon footprint.
Sustainability is now at the forefront of any new construction taking place. Pressure from the public means Government is taking interest and making legislation to ensure that the construction industry (and all industries) plan for a sustainable future. The easiest way to do this is with the help of technology. For construction, ERP could be central to that. It can help streamline processes and plan logistics, cutting down on potential wastage or long journeys that could be avoided. ERP also means that information is maintained in one central database, accessible from anywhere (if it’s on the Cloud). Sustainability isn’t going away, adopting sustainable practises means that construction businesses can be allies to the environment and increase profits and competitive advantage.
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