Reman must go mainstream if the industry’s green benefits are to reach a wider audience, insists John Chalifoux of MERA - The Association for Sustainable Manufacturing.
Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”
Those powerful words were first spoken by Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company. He is also the person known for establishing the automotive remanufacturing industry in the US. Henry Ford believed if you judge yourself to be capable of success, you will increase your chances of actual success.
This quote captures the essence of today’s remanufacturing industry. If Henry Ford were here today, he would be proud of the progress of our great industry. He would see that remanufacturing has moved from the shop floor to the factory floor, and the quality of remanufactured parts is on par with new. However, with all the work to professionalise our industry, it is likely Henry Ford would say we can do more to increase awareness and perception of today’s remanufactured goods. Henry Ford would encourage us to mainstream our efforts.
‘Professionalise’ is a word that can be found in the DNA of excellent companies throughout our industry. Over the years, the quality of their remanufactured goods has risen to the point where it is indistinguishable from new. But rational buyers - particularly end users - still view reman as something less. And as long as their perception of the quality and value of remanufacturing doesn’t match reality, the green benefits aren’t going to matter.
Since its inception in 2011, MERA has taken strides to help perception catch up with reality. Every day, we remanufacturing certification programme – based on ISO 9001, IATF 16949 and other ISO-basedquality management system standards – holds remanufacturing and new manufacturing to the same international quality standards. The programme professionalises and mainstreams their work because certification is tied to the world’s most recognised manufacturing process standard. After just two years, the certification programme includes 29 companies and 68 registered facilities worldwide.
We place the focus on the root of the word, not the prefix. Quite simply, remanufacturing is ‘manufacturing with reuse’. This small shift in thinking helped others – particularly policymakers in Washington, DC – to recognise that remanufacturing, with all of its environmental benefits, is the only ‘re-’ word with ‘manufacturing’ in its name.
Remanufacturers can professionalise and mainstream what they do with Manufactured Again™. This remanufacturing certification programme – based on ISO 9001, IATF 16949 and other ISO-based quality management system standards – holds remanufacturing and new manufacturing to the same international quality standards. The programme professionalises and mainstreams their work because certification is tied to the world’s most recognised manufacturing process standard. After just two years, the certification programme includes 29 companies and 68 registered facilities worldwide.
“Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.” has been in the public lexicon for years, yet it does not fully capture one very viable solution to today’s environmental challenges. In response, MERA introduced a new symbol for sustainable manufacturing. It looks familiar because it is the recycling symbol with an extra arrow. In the sustainable manufacturing industry, we know the remanufacturing of existing
goods should occur before traditional recycling; however, that message is not understood outside our circles. The new symbol is helping us convey to mainstream media that remanufacturing deserves a seat at the head table. Whether it’s a circular economy discussion or a discussion on reuse and recycling, it can’t be complete unless reman is included. “Reduce. Reuse. REMAN. Recycle.”
The celebration of Earth Day is another way we can mainstream our message. This annual event, which began in 1970, occurs each year on April 22. It is coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and now includes events in more than 193 countries. By celebrating Earth Day, our industry can communicate the environmental benefits of remanufacturing on a day when the rest of the world is listening.
As long as we think we can live in a world where remanufactured goods are demanded, we’ll be right!