Finelite, Inc. manufactures high-efficiency lighting systems for schools, offices and other workplaces where lighting performance and visual comfort are essential. The company has two focuses on waste reduction. One is lean manufacturing, the whole purpose of which is to reduce waste. “We try to streamline processes and become as efficient as possible, with a focus on reducing time and materials,” said Dean Mayes, director of manufacturing.
This segues into the other initiative, which is a specific waste management program. “We began our waste management program in earnest about six years ago,” Mayes said. The company began recycling virtually everything that could be recycled – bubble wrap, shrink wrap, copper wire, defective metal parts, cardboard, paper, bottles, cans and wood. “We purchased a baler so we could recycle cardboard, instead of having to pay to have it hauled away,” he said.
Moving Up the Supply Chain
Finelite also began working closely on waste reduction initiatives with its vendors, which it considers to be strategic partners. Here are three such examples.
About two years ago, instead of having vendors (most of which are either local or somewhat local in that they are located along the coast of California and thus not too far away), put materials and parts into cardboard boxes to ship to Finelite, the companies arranged to purchase reusable crates, which eliminate the need for one-time cardboard boxes and the shrink wrap that held the boxes in place on the pallets. “We return the crates to the vendors to be repopulated,” said Mayes.
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