Product Mangers Know That Green Products Cost More – For Awhile

by drjim on May 6, 2009

Making Green Changes To A Product Can Result In Higher Short Term Costs

Making Green Changes To A Product Can Result In Higher Short Term Costs

Pity the poor product manager who’s firm has decided to do the trendy thing and “go green”. Why you say? Simple – going green can boost profits in the long run, but sadly it can take some serious time before you see results.

Alan Robinson and Dean Schroeder over at the Wall Street Journal have taken a look at just what happens when a company goes green and they’ve got some interesting things for product mangers to consider.

The first thing that a product manger needs to realize is that it can be very easy to implement some early green initiatives for his / her product. Two quick hits can revolve around the amount of energy that is used to create the product (even software products can benefit by turning lights off when nobody is there) and recycling old materials (copies of last version’s user guide anyone?).

It’s when you knuckle down and take a look at the whole process that you go through to design the product that a green redesign starts to take on some serious costs. If you look farther down your supply chain and start to get your suppliers to go green, this could end up costing you more in the short run.

The goal for all product mangers that are thinking about going green is to make sure that any green changes that they make to their products end up lead to either cost savings or break even.

A case in point from a Subaru plant in Indiana that went green is that they discovered that all of those little sparks that fly off during the welding of a car are actually little pieces of metal that end up having to be picked up. When they implemented a new green welding process that caused fewer sparks, they suddenly had to pick up a lot less metal.

Do you know of any green changes that you can make that will provide a quick hit and improve your product’s green image? Have you implemented any green product changes that boosted your costs in the short term? Did these costs go down over time? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lou May 12, 2009 at 12:13 pm

I worked for a plastics manufacturer and we realized cost savings through utilizing efficient electric presses as opposed to conventional hydraulic presses in our manufacturing . Being Green was not our motivating factor, saving money was. But, it was also a plus to include this with our Green Initiative when we started selling Green products that provided ways to re-use our plastic products. However, we did take a hit when we switched to environmentally friendly packaging. Costs are coming down as more people adopt it.

Reply

Dr. Jim Anderson May 13, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Lou: I can only imagine the discussions that went on when someone started to ask for the funding to switch to the electric presses (“But the old ones still work!”). It’s very hard to put a price tag on going “green”, but in our guts we all feel that it will pay off over time.

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: