Demand for products has declined in many parts of the world, and with more manufacturing being shipped overseas, reliability of our existing processes is even more important than before. Many of my friends in different industries have told me about all of the initiatives being done to “green up” their facilities and processes. Going green and being environmentally responsible is a great thing, and I think we should be pushing to move more in that direction. With that said, the interesting thing that I have been hearing is that reliability is getting lost in the green push.

I think reliability is the first green initiative we should invest in. Some people will argue that reliability is not a green initiative, but I assure you that it is. It’s no mystery that part of being green is doing more with less. Improved reliability will mean a decrease in demand of raw materials and storage space for those materials.

A benefit in decreased use of raw materials means longer-term sustainability of the raw materials. This will also make it easier to project needs of materials because the process will be more stable and predictable. The decreased amount of raw materials may increase the cost per unit, but it usually will be far offset by the second part of reliability being a green initiative, which is a decrease in waste materials.

The decrease in waste materials will have a huge impact on cost and safety. Not only does the decrease in waste materials mean a reduction in disposal but also decreased cost in storage of the waste materials. In addition, the decreased amount of especially hazardous waste reduces the risk of environmental or safety incidents occurring.

I am not in any way saying that we need to set the green initiatives aside. What I am saying is that reliability should take the front seat and not get put behind green. Reliability is a green initiative in itself.