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Sustainable value creation in manufacturing networks

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Novel manufacturing sustainability models

A more sustainable approach to manufacturing will help realise important savings for European industry and render it more competitive. An EU initiative has designed models and tools for developing sustainable manufacturing networks.

Industrial Technologies

The manufacturing sector may well constitute a major pillar of Europe's economy, but it requires an overhaul if it wants to compete in markets that demand sustainability and environmental awareness. In line with Europe's Vision2020, the EU-funded project 'Sustainable value creation in manufacturing networks' (SUSTAINVALUE) sought to overcome this challenge. Looking at manufacturing as a complex network of development-oriented dynamics, the project examined novel approaches to manage sustainability impacts, from production and sourcing to distribution and logistics. Researchers designed a three-tier governance model and sustainable business architecture. The model is seen as a method that combines the needs and responsibilities of stakeholders belonging to a business ecosystem, as well as business models and the interests of manufacturing network companies. The architecture reinforces companies when building their organisation, sustainable products, services and procedures. The team articulated viable business strategies for sustainable manufacturing networks via a sustainable business modelling process and toolset. They help companies analyse and design sustainable business models for changes at company and network levels. They also developed a methodology for sustainable solutions that supports companies' sustainable development practices and identifies trouble spots in their processes. Methodological tools help determine the sustainability effects of products, services or product service systems on society, the environment and the economy. They also choose the most economically viable and sustainable solution. Additional project activities included key performance indicators and implementation guidelines, as well as support compliance verification processes for ongoing improvement. SUSTAINVALUE's main outcomes could help revolutionise production design and make industry much more sustainable. This could lead to a more competitive manufacturing sector, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises, creating more customer loyalty, increased environmental awareness for citizens and job opportunities spurred by innovation.

Keywords

Manufacturing, sustainability, sustainability models, manufacturing networks, manufacturing sector, value creation

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