The Green Supplier Network Enhances a Commercial Printer’s Sustainability Journey
EarthColor is an award winning, highly innovative commercial printer that has a long standing commitment to the environment. Since 1982 EarthColor has brought a wide range of printing expertise to its customers along with environmentally friendly business practices. Since 2004 the company began quantifying and publishing its environmental sustainability efforts and performance in its annual Sustainability Report, which can be viewed on its website earthcolor.com.
In striving to lead the print industry in new practices and ideas to reduce the footprint of the projects the company produces for its customers, EarthColor wanted to implement a comprehensive green program that would encompass every stage of its manufacturing process. To accomplish this, EarthColor worked with New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc. (NJMEP). Through NIST MEP’s program, the Green Suppliers Network (GSN), EarthColor would be able meet its objective.
The GSN expands the lean definition of waste to include environmental considerations. Designed for small & mid-sized manufacturing suppliers the program includes Lean & Clean on-site reviews that produce measurable business and environmental impacts.
To achieve EarthColor’s objectives the program utilized the expertise of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, State Environmental Experts, Original Equipment Manufacturers, Suppliers and of course the Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) —in this case, NJMEP.
The local team conducted a review of EarthColor’s manufacturing processes and provided recommendations that were implemented through training on the shop floor.
The deliverables for the GSN included a Value Stream Mapping (VSM) Plan and corresponding Training, the Current and Future State Green Supplier Maps which included Green Metrics, Operational Metrics for the selected Product flow and a Green Supplier Report along with VSM workbooks for participants.
EarthColor achieved significant cost savings and established a plan for continuous improvement as a result of the project, which took less than 90 days to complete. The company’s NIST survey, which was completed nine months after the project was completed, attributed the following to the work:
- $3,000,000 in new or retained sales
- 5 new employees
- Cost savings of $500,000
- $200,000 in new products and/or processes investments
David Podmayersky, Chief Sustainability Office explained. “EarthColor understands the effort and commitment that goes into maintaining a sustainable and socially responsible business. We value our partnerships and leverage them to promote our values. Creating environmentally friendly media, implementing green printing practices, and working with customers equally committed to a cleaner environment allows us to function as a true sustainable print communications provider. Working with NJMEP has helped make that happen.”
“We had been diligently working to weave sustainability into the fabric of our organization and supply chain. Now, thanks to the GSN, we’ve gone another yard in our journey,” Mr. Podmayersky added.
NJMEP’s Main Service Areas:
- Business Development Services
- Contingency and Emergency Planning
- Destination Innovation
- Energy Alliance Program
- Human Resources Solutions
- Lean Business Solutions
- Quality Management Systems & ISO
- R&D Tax Credits
- Six Sigma
- Supply Chain, Transportation and Logistics Services