Insight on Manufacturing

July 2012

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Page 29 of 34

INSIGHT FROM ... RANDY BERTRAM, Wisconsin Profitable Sustainability program manager, WMEP Sustainability at the core Continuous improvement is business as usual for Wisconsin manufacturers A LITTLE-KNOWN FACT ABOUT MANUFACTURING is that sustainable practices are a core competency for most businesses. Controlling and reducing costs is the cornerstone of most manufacturers' operations plans. Improvements of any operation generally focus on how to reduce cost, improve quality and delivery. In most businesses, these practices are labeled as "lean" or "continuous improvement;" sustainability is simply another way to look at continuous improvement. The Wisconsin Profitable Sustainability Initiative (PSI) expands on this approach by focusing on business improvements that impact the bottom line and reduce the manufacturer' in 2010 with funding through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and began with 50 Wisconsin manufacturers. The PSI process provides a comprehensive, 360-degree review of a product' s environmental footprint. PSI was launched PSI process – the diagnostic discovers and prioritizes the company's primary opportunities for profitable, sustainable improvement. The second step, assessment, drills down into one or more areas identified by the diagnostic process to identify current conditions and costs to determine the feasibility of specific improvement opportunities. The third step in the PSI process is implementation. Using findings from the assessment phase, projects are implemented based on factors including available capital, ROI, ease of implementation and technical expertise. In the PSI pilot program, 40 percent of the projects focused review is completed by the manufacturer and a team of energy, environmental, logistics, lean and finance experts to diagnose, assess and implement improvements in material use, process efficiencies, energy consumption and reduction of residuals. This review or "diagnostic" is the first of three steps in the on broader continuous improvement projects (process optimization). Among these was a project to help Quality Packaging, Inc., of Fond du Lac reduce the cycle time to produce sustainable package designs and prototypes to take advantage of market opportunities for greener packaging. Other manufacturers have reduced product damage during shipment – saving $30,000 a year. Another saved $600,000 per year in scrap cost using Six Sigma methods. s life cycle. This continuous improvement strategies to reduce production lead times, reduce waste in the value stream, reduce the amount of raw materials used, and decrease scrap, solid waste, transportation and energy use. Sustainable practices can save manufacturers money. Most Other participants in the PSI program have used have taken steps to address energy use, including lighting upgrades, insulation and more efficient compressed air systems. Utility programs provide incentives to encourage many of these improvements. These programs all address energy consumption, the input side of the equation. Optimization (continuous improvement) projects are designed to address both inputs and outputs. This holistic approach leads to more significant savings and complements The PSI process has resulted in significant savings for manufacturers – in many cases, it has helped initiate lean projects that were on the drawing board but not executed due to lack of funds, lack of time or expertise. manufacturers across Wisconsin – in many cases, the program has helped manufacturers initiate lean projects that were on the drawing board but not executed due to lack of funds, lack of time or expertise. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has provided significant support to Wisconsin manufacturers through the PSI program and is currently working to access additional funds to enroll more companies. If you're interested in participating in the PSI program, please contact me at WMEP. Randy Bertram is program manager for Wisconsin typical continuous improvement strategies. The PSI process has resulted in significant savings for Profitable Sustainability, WMEP. He can be reached at F July 2012 • INSIGHT on Manufacturing | 27

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