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Where are the Biggest Cost Savings?

To stay competitive, companies must continually find new ways to improve efficiency and cut costs. WasteWise partners have demonstrated that preventing solid waste (source reduction) offers significant cost savings. But where do you find the biggest savings for your company? First, identify each of your key business operations. Then, for each key operation, identify the products and materials used or generated in the largest quantities. These are the materials that should be evaluated first for waste prevention opportunities.

Depending on the type of company, WasteWise partners have found the greatest cost savings in the following areas: shipping and receiving (reducing transport packaging), office operations (reducing paper that is mailed or used internally), and manufacturing (reducing process waste or the amount of material used in a product). Remember that the greatest waste prevention savings often accrue from avoided purchasing costs. This means that for any of the above areas, purchasing records can be an important key for identifying major purchases so they can be evaluated for waste prevention potential.

Partner Success Stories

The case studies below illustrate waste prevention successes in three key areas: office paper reduction, transport packaging reduction, and reduction of waste from manufacturing processes. For most companies, those activities have a proven track record in yielding significant cost savings. Depending on the size, structure, and primary business operations of an organization, the biggest cost saving opportunity, and the amount of potential savings, may differ.

Conserving Office Paper at BellSouth Telecommunications

During 1994 and 1995, Bell South Telecommunications conserved 16 million sheets of printout paper and saved $3.5 million by implementing an electronic filing system. The company’s system of storing reports electronically enables employees to view, download, or print reports archived in the company’s data centers from their own workstations. Implementing this system has helped the company conserve paper, improve efficiency, and reduce the need for paper storage. Prior to initiating the electronic filing system, employees could only obtain reports by ordering complete printed copies. Employees now can save resources by viewing reports online or printing individual pages.

Transport Packaging Reduction Leads to Big Cost Savings

EG&G Employee Teamwork Reduces Manufacturing Waste

EG&G, a high-technology and scientific equipment supplier, uses employee teams to identify waste reduction opportunities. Discussions between an engineer and a purchasing expert uncovered one opportunity that now saves the company nearly $100,000 each year. By changing the specifications for a steel-alloy part used in manufacturing seals, EG&G was able to purchase an alternative material that required less cutting and shaping to meet the customers’ needs. Just this one material switch reduced EG&G’s shipping costs, maintenance costs (to clean up waste), and labor costs (by 33 percent). The company also realized substantial savings through a 66 percent reduction in metal waste.

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