Manufacturing Savvy

Lean & Green Government Style

Everyone wants to be green and it turns out a variety of players are willing to work together to reach that goal. So the government joined with large manufacturers to help medium-and small suppliers join the green revolution.

The EPA joined with the Department of Commerce's MEP program to create a Green Suppliers Network Large manufacturers engage their small and medium-sized suppliers in low-cost technical reviews that focus on process improvement and waste minimization.

And it's working -- the program is producing results.

Here are some examples:

*Lehigh Press Puerto Rico manufactures inserts and labels for the healthcare, food and general consumer sectors. The company participated in the Green Supply Network program known as "Lean and Clean" based on the Lean Manufacturing methodology which is intended to reduce environmental wastes in operational processes.

A Value Stream Mapping identified potential operational savings and were turned into a Process Map with the following impact:
* Improved material handling practices - $27k
* Maximize material utilization- $53k
* Reduce waste generation - $47k
* Improvements opportunities add up to more than $200k/year

* Har-Conn Chrome Co. is a metal-finishing company specializing in aerospace and high technology applications of electroplating and related coatings. The Green Suppliers Network's analysis identified on-time delivery, lead times, energy usage and external and internal rework as well as areas where the company can make significant improvements and can save the company up to $424,500 annually.

To company is currently working on the following improvement opportunities:

*Since undergoing a Green Suppliers Network Review, Har-Conn has also completed an energy audit that identified a 16% reduction in energy bills.

* Improve management of boiler fuel (annual cost savings of $36,008) and recover compressor waste heat (annual savings of $2,601.)

* Install rinse water flow controls (annual cost savings of $13,353) and determine optimal water setting on rinse tanks to promote cleanliness and ensure the continued integrity of the plating.

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