ITT Defense and Electronics - McLean, VA
In 1989 ITT Defense (later ITT Defense and electronics (ITTD&E)) was very interested in expanding the use of Multifunctional and Multiunit teams to address issues of general interest across the Company. While most of the Company's locations had developed local process improvement teams, these efforts rarely extended beyond the individual Units. In areas of shared need, these independent efforts inevitably led to unnecessary duplication of effort. Chemical source reduction was selected as an example project which could demonstrate the benefits of interunit cooperation.
Most manufacturing organizations historically selected chemicals and manufacturing procedures based principally on ease of use and effects on product quality. Alternative chemicals were rarely considered once an effective chemical was selected. This program was designed to change the basic processes for selection and use of chemicals.
ITTD&E established a company-wide Chemical Source Reduction Team (CSR) to lead efforts to reduce use of chemicals. Team members were selected by Unit management and led by each location's Operations or Engineering organization. This leadership structure was required to ensure that those who control the use of chemicals would evaluate replacements and implement any process modifications that might be required. This was a change from the traditional belief that a local EHS Coordinator was responsible for all such matters.
Each Unit's team first reviewed all operations where chemicals were used and prepared a Process Modification/Chemical Elimination Potential Report. From this report annual Source Reduction Implementation Plans (SRIPs) were developed. Each of these documents is reviewed with Unit and company senior management, and its progress is evaluated through monthly metrics and quarterly company-wide team video conferences. On an annual basis, each location provides a summary of progress and develops a new SRIP.
The program exceeded initial expectations to the extent that over 1 million pounds of chemicals, including approximately 600,000 pounds of CFCs, were eliminated from ITTD&E manufacturing processes, years in advance of any regulatory deadlines. Annual chemical usage has been reduced by over one million pounds. In 1994 alone, almost 500,000 pounds of chemicals were addressed for an additional annual savings of almost $600,000. This success reduces the potential for future damaging and costly leaks or spills which can plague older manufacturing locations. It also brings the total program to date an annual savings of over $3 million in avoided purchase, handling, and disposal costs.
An additional benefit from this effort has been the ability to anticipate customer requirements, and beat any chemical restriction deadlines they might impose. The success of this project at ITTD&E has also ensured continued support for its chemical source reduction program. The participation of employees from many different parts of the organization in this effort has led to a greater understanding of its EHS goals. The Company has instilled in its engineering and manufacturing process designers a new awareness of their responsibility to evaluate the hazards and potential life cycle costs of a new chemical before they introduce it into a process. They are also more attentive to the consequences of their process management decisions.