Stakes raised to reduce waste in electronics industry
Oct 25, 2007
Electronics executives to be challenged to consider "Zero Waste" initiative during the December 6th Quarterly Forum in San Jose
The question, "Why would any electronics company purchase materials not used in finished products?" will be posed December 6th at Technology Forecasters Inc.'s Quarterly Forum in San Jose. At many companies, only 20% of materials purchased end up in finished product - a profitability model to be challenged in this interactive session led by TFI Founder and TFI Environment Lead Consultant Pamela J. Gordon.
"Leading companies around the world - including Nokia, NEC, and Sun Microsystems - have responded to the Zero Waste challenge by rethinking the materials they select for products, packaging, and facilities," says Gordon. "Five years from now business leaders will look back at this time and wonder how anyone made a profit given that 4 out of 5 purchases ended up in administrative uses, obsolete and excess materials, off-yield subassemblies and products, post-production scrap, unnecessary packaging, too many components, one-time-use materials, and other forms of waste that deter from the bottom line."
Gordon will kick off the Quarterly Forum session with an overview of Zero Waste and case studies of a few companies that document how reducing waste dramatically increased profitability and sharpened competitive standing. Then, John Dickenson, vice president at electronics-recycling company AER Worldwide, will discuss AER's approach to Zero Waste - not only for their company's own waste but also for dozens of electronics' companies waste. "We've narrowed down to only a few materials that enter our facility and cannot be reused, recycled, or composted," says Dickenson. "The best economic advantage, of course, comes from reuse of products, subassemblies, and components, and we're finding a significant increase - especially in subassembly reuse." AER Worldwide is an ISO-14001 company, and included in their goals is continuous reduction of waste until "Zero Waste" is met.
Following Dickenson's talk will be an interactive "Zero Waste" exercise for the Quarterly Forum members, so they can "try on" the business advantages associated with waste reduction.
Zero Waste and environmental strategy are two of TFI Environment's consulting practices. TFI Environment was started in 1997; Pamela J. Gordon's book, Lean and Green, Profit for Your Workplace and the Environment, published in 2001 (Berrett Koehler Publishers) anticipated the movement to reduce electronic products' environmental footprints.
For more information on the upcoming December 6th and February 28th TFI Quarterly Forum for Electronics Manufacturing Outsourcing and Supply Chain, go to http://www.techforecasters.com/ or contact Diane Krandel at 1-480-855-0036 or DKrandel@TechForecasters.com.
For more information about Zero Waste initiatives in the electronics industry, contact Pamela J. Gordon at 1-510-601-9107 or PGordon@TechForecasters.com.