on March 2000 of the Environment & Business Conference
In conjunction with the Service Providers: The Framework
workshop, the Case Studies workshop demonstrated how some companies
are achieving desired EH&S and financial performance by creating
company and supplier “win-win-win” situations. Presenters
discussed, among many other topics, how to integrate supplier staffs,
protect intellectual properties and change the “seller-buyer”
company-supplier business model.
In the past, GM’s business with suppliers could be characterized
as remote, unaccountable, and making profits by sales only. Now
GM takes a systems view of chemical management; their chemical supplier
is located onsite. The supplier is responsible for managing a system
rather than selling volumes, which reduces the total systems cost.
GM’s lesson learned: take your suppliers around
the globe with the rest of the company. When designing activities
that have the greatest influence on the total product cost, redesign
the relationship with suppliers, too.
Haas Corporation is a chemical management company specializing in
cost reduction and process improvements associated with chemical
use in manufacturing. A representative from Haas presented a case
study for green accounting, which is Haas Corporation’s practice
for optimizing chemical usage to create a win-win-win situation;
guaranteed lower prices for the customer; benefits to the environment
by using less chemicals; and greater profits for the supplier. Green
accounting programs are driven by service offerings, not product
offerings - this reduces consumption (sludge solvents and paint
waster are saved) and life-cycle cost.
Several questions were asked following these
Q - How do you identify good suppliers?
Is there a network for rating them?
A - Check their track records.
To convince management, go to the highest level and show break-even
points and savings, and how these could apply to other plants.
Q - For local supplier plants in Thailand,
how do I assure quality in suppliers? Do I import?
A - Bring your suppliers
along. “Mom and Pop” suppliers can be a problem.
Q - Who is responsible for problems?
A - You can delegate responsibility,
not accountability. The client, not the supplier, is accountable.
Chemical risk management is hired out, but the parent company is
still responsible under EPA action. There should be a legal relationship
defined as well.