Product Stewardship for Manufacturers
Life Cycle Management
Life Cycle Management (LCM) is a business decision-making approach that considers benefits, costs and risks over the full life cycle of a product or service. Life cycle and DfE principles consider local as well as global impacts.
LCM applies approaches to product design and development that minimize environmental impacts of products throughout all life stages of a product, starting with the extraction of resources for raw material inputs, and continuing through processing and manufacturing of all feedstocks and final products, distribution, use, and disposal. Life cycle analysis (LCA) is a tool used for LCM, to quantify the life cycle impacts of a product. Design for the Environment (DfE) is a tool used in applying life cycle design principles to a product or process.
Checklist of suggestions for putting life cycle tools to work at your business.
Tips for Incorporating Life Cycle Methods
Educate yourself and cross-functional staff in Life Cycle (LC) analysis and methods. Learn what you can from related case studies on life cycle applications to products and processes. Plan for more in-depth training as time and budget allow.
Reason: Knowing the basics of LC are required to get started. Much can be learned from what others have already researched and analyzed.
Utilize some of the interactive and software tools available to help learn more about LCA , and to evaluate life cycle impacts of existing products
Reason: Reduce your time spent on a steep learning curve, and utilize data compiled from years of LCA research
Apply Design for Environment (DfE) design principles in all life phases of your products and processes
Reason: Some seemingly benign products may have significant environmental impacts when all phases of raw material extraction, production, use and disposal are considered.
Incorporate life cycle analysis and consideration in your environmental and procurement policies
Reasons: Help your company move "beyond compliance", and engage all staff in the effort
Involve, educate, and empower suppliers to use life cycle designs and practices
Reason: Suppliers know their products best; and true life cycle considers every component and raw material going into the final product
Here is a high-level list of life cycle and DfE opportunities to consider through all life cycle phases of a product
Distribution & Packaging
Product Use & Maintenance