Many organizations in the manufacturing industry have made the pledge to reduce their use of limited resources, including water. Unilever, for instance, has made a pledge of reducing water abstraction at its plants around the globe by 40 percent per ton of production by 2020. Much of the thrust behind this type of initiative is recycling and reusing water that goes through the manufacturing processes. Part of the strategy is integrating new technologies in boilers and cooling towers that are more efficient at optimizing resource levels. However, another big part of the equation is accurate data capture.
General Mills the Latest to Bring the Issue to the Foreground
According to The Associated Press, General Mills CEO Ken Powell spoke at The Nature Conservancy Global Water Summit, emphasizing the importance of paying close attention to global water resources.
"As a food company, food security is important to us, and we're tied tightly to nature," explained Powell. "We know that without healthy water for land, ecosystems and wildlife, agriculture simply does not work. Businesses languish. Economies falter. People suffer."
One of the key issues General Mills is taking to heart is the health of the watersheds in the U.S. Since these are critical resources for organizations within nearly every industry, Powell indicated manufacturers can't afford to ignore the issue. General Mills joined the Alliance for Water Stewardship, an collection of businesses that focuses on following established international standards for using freshwater in a sustainable matter.
Find Out Major Sources of Over Use
According to accounting firm Maxwell, Locke & Ritter, manufacturing organizations consume a relatively small portion of the total water supply: 5 percent. Regardless, even this small amount is enough to push many organizations in the manufacturing sector to reduce their water use.
One of most important steps organizations take in assessing their current situation is performing a water audit. This process helps companies discover not only how much total water they're using, but also which operations consume the most. For instance, there may be functions that integrate automatic shut-off features to eliminate overuse. In other cases, there may be outdated equipment that's not functioning properly and may have a leak. Since water can be used in a variety of situations, as either a cleaning agent or an ingredient, it's critical for manufacturers to keep a close eye on the resource.
What Role Can Mobile Data Collection Play?
While water utility meters can provide a broad understanding of water use, manufacturers that want to track the performance of individual pieces of equipment or workflows need a more powerful tool. Mobile data collection solutions provide employees with devices that allow for greater efficiency and accuracy. When performing a water audit manually, there are numerous errors that can creep into the process. At the same time, it's a labor intensive process that requires excessive time.
RFgen's mobile data collection solutions can help manufacturers solve these issues in a number of ways. In-house mobile app developers can make use of the RFgen Mobile Development Studio, which allows for rapid development and deployment. Working on Windows, Android and iOS-based technology, developers can easily integrate the tool into their existing systems design and test applications to make sure they work effectively on the shop floor. Manufacturers can easily link an application's input or output field to an enterprise data object like water level or use on a specific piece of equipment. The RFgen Mobile Development Studio also seamlessly integrates with Vocollect voice-enabled devices. As a result, employees can capture data hands-free and ensure more accurate records.