Titelbild Circular Economy als grüne Endlosschleife für nachhaltige Kreislaufwirtschaft

Circular Economy

The manufacturing industry’s answer to sustainability is the circular economy along its own value chain. Our experience confirms that the fastest and most effective way to a more sustainable and yet economical enterprise is based on the circular economy. In this way, you can derive sustainable economic benefits from consistently ecological action. To do this, it is necessary to consider the model throughout product life cycle. We are happy to assist you in this transformation.

TMG 9 The Trends 9 THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY

Why TMG Consultants?

For Your Sustainable Circular Economy

We draw on experience from numerous consulting projects as well as expert knowledge to support you in five essential areas on the way to the Circular Economy.

Circular economy requires recyclable products

Product design

  • How do products need to be designed to survive in a circular economy model?
  • What conflicts of interest arise with the current orientation of product design?
  • What adjustments does this require in product development and product strategy?
  • What success criteria need to be observed in the development of products?
  • In which areas do companies need to build up competence?

Product design has a key function in the business cycle. After all: Too many products are still designed as disposable products so that they cannot be reused or repaired. These products do not meet the requirements for sustainability in the circular economy from the basic design alone. Up to 80 per cent of the environmental impact of products is predetermined by their design at the beginning of their life cycle.
At TMG Consultants, we help the manufacturing industry adopt the right approach to developing circular products. At the same time, the design of a new product remains a question of economic efficiency, taking into account the different requirements.

The foundation of recyclable products

Procurement

  • What contribution can procurement make in the context of the circular economy?
  • How sensible is it to increasingly use recycled materials in the future?
  • What are the particularities of secondary raw materials and recyclable materials?
  • How can suppliers be found in the short term who have suitable recyclates in their range and can be considered as partners?
  • How can artificial intelligence be used to find the right suppliers?

Regardless of the current explosive situation and the supply bottlenecks for individual raw materials, we think it makes sense to fundamentally consider the products in which recycling raw materials could already be used today. The EU Commission’s goals envisage that by 2030 more than 25% of the current demand for raw materials can be covered by recycled materials.

Furthermore, the use of sustainable and recyclable materials and raw materials is an effective measure to both counteract the risk of increasing shortages of important raw materials and reduce dependence on suppliers in remote and politically unstable regions.

How the search for a supplier of recyclates or other sustainable resources can be done today with the help of artificial intelligence is demonstrated by 7Q1 – a tool we use to identify suitable suppliers easily and quickly. With the help of 7Q1 and the use of AI combined with Big Data, manufacturing companies will be able to identify suppliers quickly, cost-effectively and objectively worldwide.

Basic prerequisite for re-manufacturing processes

Reverse Logistics

  • Why is reverse logistics so important in the Circular Economy?
  • What distinguishes it from normal logistics?
  • What success factors need to be considered when setting up reverse logistics?
  • Which types of reverse logistics are suitable for which circular economy model?
  • How can optimal reverse logistics be set up?

A circular economy is only as good as its reverse logistics. Without it, the cycle cannot be closed. Return logistics is fundamentally different from classic distribution logistics. The key challenge here is that it is no longer controlled directly from a central point to a large number of recipients. Quite the opposite: In reverse logistics, users decide when products are returned to the cycle.

Consequently, companies that are considering the step towards a circular economy must also deal with the question of how to set up and implement reverse logistics that function as efficiently as possible. The key to success is not to treat reverse logistics as a marginal topic. If a company consciously decides to actively enter the circular economy, those responsible should also put reverse logistics on the agenda and secure it in organisational terms in the company according to its importance.

Production processes as the key to sustainability

Operations

  • What role does production play in the context of the circular economy?
  • What possibilities and concepts apply for production to design and establish closed material cycles?
  • Which strategic questions do companies have to answer to approach the circular economy in a well-founded way?
  • What preconditions need to be created to make the circular economy possible?
  • What stumbling blocks and success factors need to be taken into account?

Production plays a key role in the circular economy model. Since an average of 40 to 50 per cent of the total costs in manufacturing companies flow into production materials, substantial cost savings can be achieved via the professional recycling of such materials.

To design and establish a closed material cycle in production, manufacturing companies have various options at their disposal, from recycling and re-manufacturing to product overhaul.

At TMG Consultants, we work with our clients to develop a clear strategy in advance and plan or optimise the processes. We advise you on all key issues: Are the re-manufacturing/production processes efficient? Is the effort involved in reprocessing commensurate with the benefits?

The enabler for a successful circular economic model

Digitalisation

  • What role does digitalisation play in the Circular Economy?
  • Which challenges of the Circular Economy require a stronger focus on digital solutions?
  • What potential does digitalisation offer manufacturing companies on their way to the Circular Economy?
  • Which digital solutions are suitable as enablers for the Circular Economy and which use cases are conceivable?
  • What added value does a specially adapted PLM deliver in a circular economy model?

Digitalisation creates transparency with regard to the specific status of products and ensures traceability throughout the entire life cycle up to the final return.

Many companies do not know what happens to their products once they have been brought to market: How is the product used? How intensive is this use? What is the quality of the product during and at the end of its life cycle? What about the quality of some specific components at the end of their life cycle? These and many other questions can be answered today by digital solutions. Digitalisation is, therefore, making a fundamental contribution to companies gaining more information about their product from reused or re-manufactured products, recycled materials and even particularly extended useful lives, and, therefore, deriving sustainable economic benefits.

By way of our experience, we help companies collect and evaluate the relevant data. Based on internal IT systems, we create solutions to bundle and link all product-related data. Digitalisation, therefore, becomes a lever that is largely responsible for the efficiency of the entire cycle.

Increased sustainability in the materials cycle

Zero Waste Economy

We draw on experience from numerous consulting projects as well as expert knowledge to support you in five essential areas on the way to the Circular Economy.

If a large proportion of materials, products and raw materials remains in the materials cycle for as long as possible and only a minimal proportion is disposed of as waste, this not only has a positive effect on waste flows. The demand for primary raw materials can also be massively reduced if materials are reused and returned to the resource cycle as secondary raw materials. The theoretical ideal of this school of thought is the zero waste economy – a circular economy in which neither new raw materials need to be mined nor waste disposed of.

The goal must be to operate ecologically and to derive economic benefit from it. In our view, the arguments for this are obvious:

  • Customers send clear signals
  • Resource efficiency saves costs
  • Sustainability and environmental protection goals can be achieved more easily
  • Supply and availability risks can be reduced
  • Responsible use of resources strengthens client loyalty

Manufacturing companies have various options for returning materials to the resource cycle. Some of these – such as repair and maintenance – are well mastered by most suppliers, while for others – such as re-manufacturing and refurbishing – there is still much to be done. The decision at which point the cycle can be closed for a product is very individual and requires an objective analysis. We are happy to support you in these first steps and considerations with our expertise.

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