How digital transformation technology can promote sustainability

3 mins read

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) has become increasingly important for taking a holistic view of a company's performance beyond financial metrics. But as a manufacturing business why should you take notice?

ESG helps customers, investors, and other stakeholders assess how well a company manages its environmental impact (such as carbon emissions and resource usage), its social impact (including labour practices, diversity, and community engagement), and its governance structure (such as board diversity, executive compensation, and transparency).

There are a myriad of considerations and benefits for a company to be ESG aware. Companies that perform well on ESG factors tend to be more resilient, have lower risk profiles, and may even outperform financially over the long term. Additionally, there is growing consumer and regulatory pressure for companies to operate in a more sustainable and socially responsible manner, making ESG considerations crucial for maintaining a positive reputation and securing long-term viability in today's business landscape. As a manufacturer the key to fully embracing the principles and benefits of ESG is through the right digital and automation technology.

The best of all worlds

By adopting automation and digital tools manufacturers can drive productivity improvements, whilst reducing both business costs and environmental impact. Using this digital transformation, manufacturers can optimise resource usage to minimise waste and energy consumption, helping them align with broader ESG targets.  The Industry 5.0 concept echoes this by encouraging industry to think beyond just efficiency and productivity, considering its wider role in society (such as the resilience and well-being of workers and communities) along with the environment (taking a more holistic view of the supply chain and waste).

Successful collaboration between humans and machines means leveraging the strengths of both. For instance, machines can perform repetitive tasks accurately and without fatigue, while humans can use their creativity and problem-solving skills to develop new products and improve existing processes. Taking this approach means manufacturers can achieve unparalleled levels of performance and innovation, as well as respect their ESG obligations.

Powering ESG through digital transformation

Environmental sustainability can benefit greatly by embracing digital solutions. New technologies often come with eco-friendly features, contributing to sustainable manufacturing practices by reducing waste, energy consumption, and the overall environmental footprint. Supply Chain Optimisation through digital technology integration also enhances visibility and connectivity across the supply chain, optimising inventory management, demand forecasting, and logistics. Adopting new digital technology in manufacturing also streamlines processes, automates repetitive tasks, and optimises workflows, leading to increased operational efficiency.

To help manufacturers meet their social obligations incorporating new technologies often leads to improved workplace safety through the implementation of robotics, sensors, and monitoring systems, reducing the risk of accidents and keeping the workforce safe. Equally, embracing innovative technologies can make a manufacturing facility more attractive to skilled workers, creating a positive work environment that avoids repetitive tasks and contributes to talent retention through a more healthy and pleasant workplace.

From a governance perspective, modern manufacturing technologies often come equipped with compliance features, helping companies adhere to industry regulations and standards more easily. By automatically monitoring business practices these systems can demonstrate transparency and alert to potential issues for course correction.

How Konica Minolta can help

As a manufacturer and provider of multiple digital solutions and expert assistance, Konica Minolta provides fully tailored services to support your technology transformation and environmental sustainability goals. We offer many complementary systems that are perfect for supporting your manufacturing business as it evolves to meet all its ESG commitments.

Collaborative Robots (or Cobots) are lightweight robotic arms that are designed to work collaboratively with humans and automate repetitive tasks that were previously carried out by workers, making automation easier for businesses of all sizes. To fully utilise this technology, we offer the CoboVox Intuitive Voice Enabled Cobot Programming Application, which is fast, intuitive, and easy to set up. CoboVox enables anyone to program the Cobot using natural and simple voice commands (with no expert knowledge required), making it perfect for manufacturers looking to rapidly change or update tasks in a busy production facility. We also offer CoboSense, the Automated Inspection Co-worker, which can integrate into different testing workflows and customised to your specific testing needs.  

Intelligent Video Solutions are another technology that is perfectly suited to a manufacturing environment. Combining visual, thermal, sound, and sensor data, these systems help to protect people, facilities, and infrastructure. Using powerful artificial intelligence (AI) these solutions are perfect for visual quality inspection as well as safety (checking for potential fires) and security (monitoring for unusual behaviour or unexpectedly missing items) at manufacturing facilities. This includes checking for defects or anomalies such as the contamination of boxes on a production line, and alerting the management team so action can be taken – raising quality and boosting efficiency by avoiding unnecessary stoppages.

Our professional and industrial print solutions provide manufacturers with the ability to harness high-quality and cost-efficient digital label and packaging solutions. These incorporate the very latest embellishment techniques and customised short-run box printing, along with the ability to print on a wide range of folding cartons, corrugated media and more.

Managed Content Services from Konica Minolta transform the way businesses create, manage, use, and optimise data content across its full lifecycle, within the organisation and with customers. This helps manufacturers to identify and solve business problems that prevent efficiency and productivity gains, refining and managing processes effectively. Document and information management aids internal collaboration and tackles ‘information chaos’ caused by having various silos of information or unstructured data.