A green Earth or a comfortable life?

It’s clear we’re not about to give up our cushy lives, supported as they are by machine industries. But environmental awareness is rising, and over a third of consumers now prefer sustainable brands. Even machine industries face pressure to mitigate their impact on the world in which we live

The key lies in three acts: reuse, reduce, recycle. Let’s take a closer look at how these can make machine industries more Earth-friendly.

Second Life

Manufacturing industries demand a large amount of specialized equipment. Each piece of equipment itself is the result of a long chain of manufacturing. So the purchase of each new piece of equipment has its own impact on the environment.

When industrial equipment goes to scrap, it may end up landfill due to the low demand for recycled goods. That’s true even where there’s a theoretical demand for second-hand equipment.

Manufacturing industries can combat both of these realities by purchasing used equipment. For a lower initial cost, they can reduce their environmental footprint.

You can learn more here about using recycled goods in industrial manufacturing. As environmental awareness grows, we can expect more companies to look to reuse of equipment as a solution.

Waste Not, Want Not

Manufacturing complex goods often results in large amounts of waste material, such as offcuts. Without recycling or reuse, much of this goes to landfill. Once there, it remains an environmental problem for decades.

But the reality is that many of these “waste” materials could form raw materials for other processes – or for other companies. Often, it’s a simple lack of communication that sends these materials to a landfill when they could find reuse elsewhere.

A company should examine its own processes to reduce and reuse manufacturing waste. Even selling so-called waste offers a better alternative than sending it to landfill.

Companies can also join hands with partners in the industry to stop treating surplus material as waste. Where there’s a will to save leftovers, there’s often a way.

The Future’s Bright

Cutting down on energy usage is one of the easiest and most effective ways to build eco-friendliness into a company.

Use of renewable energy sources is increasing around the globe. And most renewables are also cleaner than their alternatives. This creates a double-whammy of eco-friendliness for a company ready to embrace green energy.

Not all companies are ready to make that leap. But monitoring and efficiency technologies can still help them cut down on their energy usage. Even the act of switching to LED lights could offset their carbon footprint.

Building energy awareness into company culture can also cut down on energy usage in the manufacturing process.

The Vendor Diagram

Convoluted supply lines are a daily reality of the modern manufacturing world. Even the most humble manufacturing process often involves materials from around the globe. A long tail of producers, suppliers, and couriers form the supply chain.

Many businesses haven’t managed their vendors for years. Supply chain inefficiency builds up, causing waste. Material and energy inefficiencies impact the environment in turn.

It’s the business equivalent of buying foreign battery meat from the supermarket when the locally-sourced farmer’s market is right next door.

Businesses can reconcile their supply chains to save money and limit their impact on the environment. Combining vendors and active monitoring of supply levels can reduce long-term waste.

Pass On The Plastic

One of the chief ways manufacturing businesses can increase their Earth-friendliness is by revising the materials they use.

Pressure from consumers has already started to drive a switch to eco materials. The plastic epidemic has reached such a boiling point that it’s scarcely out of the headlines.

The answer to sustainable materials lies in looking back to pre-plastic times, or in looking forward to post-plastic materials. The latter is still in its infancy but has gained steam in recent years.

Working with alternative materials often involves a trade-off. It’s not the perfect solution for a majority of companies. But for a select few, it offers a chance to transition to an eco-friendly model.

A Wandering Business Eye

While it might seem a drastic move, more than a few machine companies have begun to shift their operations to more eco-friendly products.

Auto manufacturers are some of the clearest examples. The rise of electric cars has resulted in a shift by a few key players toward the manufacturer of electric or hybrid cars. Some even intend to shift away from combustion engines altogether.

Machine companies remain subject to market forces in this regard. But they also play a role in creating market forces through marketing. A forward-thinking company can pivot to an eco-friendly business focus while selling it as a positive move for the brand and the customer.

Improving green technologies will continue to drive this kind of evolution. Companies who can’t prepare themselves for change may struggle to compete. It could pay to be ahead of the curve.

Water, Water, Everywhere

Almost every major manufacturing process uses water at some point in its production cycle. Common uses of water include dilution, cooling, and cleaning.

The staggering amount of water usage throws a wet blanket on industrial attempts to manage environmental impact.

But machine industries can save water in many ways. The first is simply by monitoring usage. Much like tracking your financial records, the very act of tracking usage can help control its excesses.

Water recycling offers another chance to reduce environmental impact. Uncontaminated wastewater is often fit for use in other purposes, such as in fire suppression systems.

Companies can also reduce water usage by investing in more efficient systems. Modern cooling technologies may demand less coolant, for example.

Managers can also build water conservation into their company culture. Reducing water usage can be as simple as training employees to see it as a valuable commodity.

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle: The Three Big Processes

Reuse, reduce, recycle are the three chief weapons machine industries have against their environmental impact. In the best cases, these can even allow a business to save money in the long term.

Looking for more insight on the future of technology? Check out our technology section.

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Do Apps Still Make Money? Here is What 6 Developers Think

The app market is extremely saturated. But the mobile market is still gathering momentum..fast. Mobile apps have changed how we work, live, connect and what we do for entertainment. Mobile apps will continue to shape the thoughts consumers, small businesses, enterprises, and even the government.

Forrester expects that more than 25% of companies will use mobile not as a channel, but as a fully integrated part of their overall strategy. They believe 2016 will be the most consequential year for companies on the path to customer obsession, and that includes adapting empowered customers who expect to get anything they want immediately, in context on their mobile devices.

There is still a lot of demand for apps. Mobile apps have evolved beyond providing just information. Artificial intelligent and voice-based personal assistants are inspiring conversational and smart apps.

But most app developers are struggling to get attention. Majority of app developers don’t get rewarded for their efforts. Most apps don’t generate profits but serve as an extension of an existing business. And he vast majority of apps are free.

In-app purchases and advertising allow app creators to make money off their free apps. There are only few hits though. Here is what some redditors think about the prospects ofaunching an app.

1. kevinbracken

Absolutely, yes they do. I sold my fitness app last year to a larger company, and know many people whose app-based companies are making money.

However, the thing that many people fail to realize is that you are not building “an app,” you are building a business, and mobile is simply the fastest-growing channel in the world. You can do your own research but in the not-so-distant future, mobile will make up the vast majority of all web traffic and online sales.

To answer the second part of your question, if you have limited resources, absolutely target iOS. Notice how when new, serious companies with venture financing and previously successful founders start companies, they launch iOS apps first. Reasons:

  • iOS users download more apps
  • iOS users spend considerably more through their phones
  • iOS users know they are iOS users. Don’t underestimate the importance of this: many Android users simply buy the cheapest phone and don’t spend much time thinking about downloading apps, would never put their credit card number in a phone, etc.

2. austincha

I created some apps for both the App Store and the Google Play store. The App Store is strict on the quality of apps they allow to be uploaded, so I then just focused on Android apps. I made simple games and even some Live Wallpaper apps. My best games only made a couple hundred dollars and the LWPs made about a hundred.

I’ve stopped creating apps because the payout wasn’t worth the time and effort I put into coding the apps. I’ll have to say 99% of the app developers out there are not making money for the time and effort they put into the apps.

3. ZeikCallaway

Android developer here. As others have pointed out, apps can still make money, but the days of just having an app for money are pretty much over. Apps become exponentially more powerful, and likely to be used if they’re complimentary to a bigger software or service.

Also when deciding Android vs iOS, if you can, you should target both because they’re pretty even as far as market share. If you had to pick just one to start, I can’t tell you which is better but from my perspective and experience, Android seems to be gaining more market share albeit very slowly but, iOS will have a more consistent experience.

In other words, some Android devices may not work with your app the way you expect, so even they do take a strong lead over iOS devices there will still be a number of them that have problems.

4. RPN

Of course they still make money. Actually now more than ever as every year the worldwide app revenue grows exponentially. AppAnnie predicts that gross revenue across all app stores will eclipse $100 Billion in 2020.

The problem is that it’s now more competitive than ever. For an independent developer it is getting increasingly difficult to make a living building apps.

5. EatSafeUK

A lot of people have a weird view on apps as if they are magical no effort cash cows. But you have to see it for what it is, simply a distribution platform.

Can you build an app, throw it out there and effortlessly get millions of downloads and rake on money? No.

But if you are developing a solution to a problem that is best served with mobile then an app is appropriate. My research for my current project showed that the problem was biggest when people were out and about, so a mobile app works best.

But it’s just the distribution method. The rest of the business is the same as before; you need to identify customers, you need to effectively promote, you need to push yourself in front of people.

The app store is too saturated to expect to be discovered there. But just like a real store, the brands on the shelves do everything they can to get you to want to buy their products before you ever get through the door. Its the same in the app world.

iOS does seem to have a less price sensitive user base though, so if you want to charge for the app they’re the best people to target.

6. the_brizzler

They haven’t died down. It is just harder for the average guy or gal to make sure it is discovered. Sort of like websites…anyone can build a website…but how do you get visitors?…well that takes some marketing and strategy.

There are plenty of people making a decent living making niche apps that serve a specific purpose. But if you are trying to make a flashlight app…forget about it…apple won’t even let you publish it since there are already too many. So you just have to be smart about what you make and how you get people to find your app.

Related: 6 Easy Steps to Get Funding for Your App Startup

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