Many companies think about going green. Some even talk about going green. But still only a small percentage of companies today are taking that leap. Why? In most cases, the trepidation stems from a fear of the process. What is it going to cost? Will it bring me unwanted attention from regulatory agencies? Will it increase my liability?
D&W Incorporated, a company that supplies glass and mirrors to the recreational vehicles industry, had the same questions. The story of their going green is not a miracle story. It didn't put them in the limelight in front of government regulators, and it didn't cost them money. In fact, it had the direct opposite effect. It saved the company money, reduced their regulatory profile, and increased their operational efficiencies.
The company capitalized on the fact that it had made some process changes in order to make it more efficient. That, in conjunction with a reduction in the amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) in their coating resulted in them being able to apply for and receive a transition to a lower air permit level, which reduced their regulatory profile substantially. This meant lower annual regulatory cost, red tape, and less cause for costly audits that can halt production unexpectedly.
The success story doesn't stop there, however. This decrease changed business inside the four walls at D&W. It made cleanup easier at the end of the day, enabling the factory to reliably shut down every night—something they hadn't done in years. They reduced their energy costs, solvent use, and other raw material consumption. And, low and behold, the product itself actually improved in quality.
The story isn't finished, either. Going green is not just a one-time event. It involves adopting a process of identifying and taking advantage of green opportunities, which in many cases can help the bottom line as well.
If you've thought about going green but just couldn't imagine that there would be any substantial impact to be gained, think again. As the story of D&W shows, even the slightest edge can make a huge difference in today's highly competitive manufacturing industry.
Nick Carter, INSource Magazine, March 10th, 2010