“It’s Never Been Easier”- Five Reasons to Commit to Sustainability in a Volatile Economy

Some companies try to implement sustainability by directing an in-house champion to oversee the process.  This is usually a recipe for failure.  Fortunately, expert help is available.

It’s never been easier

 For sustainability to truly take hold and deliver real results it must be integrated into mainstream product development processes and more importantly into the design thinking backbone of the company.  Put another way, if it is to succeed, sustainability must fit within the context and framework of product development – not the other way around. Incorporating sustainability into mainstream product design and development is often accomplished with assistance of the experts — hybrid facilitators who bring with them the intricate understanding of sustainability, design, engineering, manufacturing, IT and other product development departments.

One of the most esteemed of these sustainability consultants is Prashant Jagtap, Founder and President of Trayak. Jagtap’s experience and engineering expertise includes both Product Development / Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and sustainability. Under his direction, Trayak is uniquely positioned to bridge the sustainability and engineering gap bringing sustainability knowledge to design. “Manufacturers invest heavily into product development tools and processes. Because the process is costly and complex, the fear is that adding sustainability to the equation is going to require a massive overhaul.  This simply isn’t the case,” explains Jagtap. “Today’s sustainability software tools can be implemented as part of a stage gate process that is adaptable to almost any product development process.  Designers are already optimizing products in terms of quality, reliability, cost, and so on. Why not be able optimize and see tradeoffs designing sustainable products at the same time?”

The process is proven and relatively simple. Corporate sustainability goals are translated into actionable and measurable product development steps engaging all stakeholders including sustainability and product development teams. Current levels are benchmarked and areas for improvement identified. Software tools are introduced to help designers evaluate design options and leverage best practices.  All of this is designed to provide information to designers and maximize sustainability.

 Conclusion: Sustainability isn’t the problem. It’s the Solution.

Manufacturers are constantly closely scrutinizing any and all initiatives outside of their core business; and sustainability will surely be a part of that list.  To some sustainability is nothing more than a recycling bin in the cafeteria. While this may help management sleep better at night, they will never recognize its full benefits until sustainability is embraced as a part of the core business and formally incorporated into mainstream product development. Only then will manufacturers see its impact on product quality, innovation, and ultimately profitability.

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