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Manufacturing sustainability for sustainable manufacturing

How open are corporates to pivoting towards and investing in environment-friendly processes? How will the electric vehicle boom power sustainability initiatives? Where does indoor air quality intersect with green measures? Aniket Sheth, Vice President – Operations, SILA, has all the answers.

How is sustainability ingrained in your company ethos?

The impact of sustainable business practices and environmental governance on business continuity and performance is integral. We at SILA have included these values as part of our core business principles since Day 1. We apply a structured approach while adopting sustainability-focused initiatives and use innovative technology to aid our efforts.

For us, sustainability goes beyond looking only at the environment. Sustainability is about ensuring a responsible, ethical and inclusive approach that is essential for the success of our business.

Our ESG (Environment, Social & Governance) strategy forms a core part of our business approach and is used across multiple domains. Each of these pillars supports the idea of business sustainability and the way we envision our group to function.

When it comes to the environmental aspect of ESG, we incorporate this into our business in various ways. For example, we use motion sensors for minimising energy usage and wastage and conduct thorough data analysis on the efficiency of client’s systems to identify and maintain optimal usage patterns. On the ground, SILA conducts educational workshops to raise awareness about the segregation of waste, recycling, reusing and conservation.

How do you integrate sustainability specifically into manufacturing facility FM?

When we look at sustainable facility management from a manufacturing facility standpoint, there are a lot of things we have already started doing, and some that remain to be done.

We have global investors, and have always been reporting on the ESG front. But over the last couple of years, ESG has become a topic that everyone wants to discuss. It started off with MNCs, where we implemented some of our first sustainability initiatives. Today, especially since the last 6-12 months, all Indian corporates are focusing on it too. Each time we speak to admin departments at manufacturing facilities, they have instructions from the top to make sustainable choices.

Recycling of plastic, planting trees, reducing paper use, water conservation, saving electricity, waste segregation etc used to be differentiators; now, they have all become standard practices that are a necessity to continue in the business. As facility managers, it is our responsibility to make sure that we are doing right towards the environment.

How do electricity-powered and robotic machines help clients achieve their sustainability targets?

Facilities are rethinking diesel as a fuel not only in terms of cost but also in terms of the environment. Manufacturing plants have started talking to us about electric forklifts, which is not something we thought would ever happen even 9-12 months ago. A major client, whose plant is spread across 100 acres, needs vehicles to move employees from Point A to Point B, and they want electric vehicles for this. We are going to provide them with electric vehicles as well as the infrastructure to charge them, not just in the manufacturing facility but also for the ancillary services connected to it.

We have moved on from providing just regular housekeeping services; today, maybe 50% is regular and 50% is automated. Going forward, that will improve to a 20-80 ratio.

Apart from the deployment of a lot of regular machinery, we have also employed robotic machines at our plants. For example, robotic scrubbers offer better efficiency, help save on manpower, and – since they are charged electrically – are better for the environment. The FM industry may be at a nascent stage when it comes to using robotics, but we are already seeing its advantages.

Facilities are rethinking diesel as a fuel not only in terms of cost but also in terms of the environment. Manufacturing plants have started talking to us about electric forklifts, which is not something we thought would ever happen even 9-12 months ago.

Aniket Sheth


What role does software technology play in ensuring sustainable operations?

We have focused a lot on IoT. We’ve observed that if used in the right manner, it really helps detect problems even before they come up. The right dashboards help us with preventive maintenance, by giving our teams the tools to ensure that there is 0% downtime.

Our air quality sensors help us compare indoor air quality with the outdoor air quality; if the indoor air PPM rises above the target benchmark, it alerts us to take the appropriate action before the scheduled time. Not only does this help us provide better services to the client, it eventually also saves us a significant amount of cost in terms of breakdown time and maintenance.

How do you minimise your carbon footprint?

In 2021, SILA partnered with Bisleri for the Bottles for Change initiative where the goal was to reuse plastic bottles. We have also run tree planting campaigns at residential and manufacturing facilities in order to encourage reforestation and spread awareness about the importance of nurturing and protecting the environment. We endeavor to work in a paperless format by deploying QR codes on-site in order to reduce wastage and save resources.

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