The first meeting of FTA Great Lakes was a huge success. The Lauterbach
Group did an excellent job of hosting the event. The way that they have
brought sustainability into the fiber of their corporate culture is amazing.
Rebecca Kerschinske, Lauterbach Vice President of Sales and Marketing, said that to Lauterbach, "sustainability is profitability", talking about the
economic, social, employment and environmental benefits of their approach.
She said "productivity builds sustainability into their business model",
improving efficiencies, lowering operating costs, improving quality and
promoting a heathy, productive workplace, She said their process
improvements include lean/Six Sigma, systematic elimination of waste,
standardized work and scientific problem solving. At every opportunity, they seek out technology that improves efficiency and environmental performance, from digital workflow to state-of-the-art press platforms.
She talked about the reasoning behind the specific orientation of the
buiilding. Before you ever enter the building, you are aware that there is
something different about this facility. The lobby is actually at the back
of the building to capture natural light and warmth, while providing a
pleasing view of their retention pond. Natural lighting is used to save on
energy costs, (both in the offices and plant). Heath Lauterbach said they
have stocked the retention pond with fish.
Their parking lot is unusal as well. It was installed with extremely coarse
aggregate. The porous nature of the parking lot naturally dissipates storm
water to help eliminate storm water runoff. Even the landscaping is unique, composed of prairie grasses and wild flowers instead of manicured lawns. This is in tune with their philosophy: providing environmental and economic benefits (eliminating costs for lawn care). Heath said their plan is to put in walking paths through the natural prairie areas they are creating.
The office area is very open, warm and inviting,. The offices do not have
doors on them, which Heath explained, promotes a very professional
environment while greatly improving the efficiency of their HVAC system.
The shop is clean and extremely well organized, with thoughtful process flow to aid in their production process efficiency. Sensors throughout the
facility adjust heat and lighting based on human occupation of the various
They have worked to eliminate solvent use and have installed equipment that removes the liquid content from washup water to clump the remaining solids into non-hazardous material that can be disposed of in conventional landfills.
They recycle everything they can. Waste liner materials are sent to a
facility that recycles them into pallets and other simialr products. Damaged wood pallets are repaired and reused, rather than scrapped. Cores are reused. They even use real plates and silverware to eliminate waste from their cafeteria.
Rebecca went on to talk about the fact that they do not want to be simply a "green facility", but rather part of a "green supply chain". They are proud of their approach and their leadership position in promoting and cultivating a similar mindset "beyond their four walls".
She said it has been a challenge to integrate sustainability into their
corporate culture, but they feel that awareness that is put into practice
creates a passion for success. What a phenomenal message !
After her speach, I gave an overview of some of the many FTA resources
available to members pertaining to sustainability including the
Environmental Excellence Awards, EHS Newsletter, Environmental Self
Assessment, The Flexo Environment and Environmental/Sustainability
Committeee. I also mentioned the FTA's involvement in the SGPP, NEHS
Conference and PNEAC Virtual Flexo Plant, and encouraged everyone to take adantage of all of these resources.
After that, Social Media Coach, Mary Mekelburg, gave a nice presentation on social networking avenues and strategies; highlighting participation in the FTA and FTA Great Lakes groups on Linkedin.
Mike Siegler from Badgerland Products won the surprise drawing for an
autographed copy of my book, Common Sense Flexography.
All in all, I would say that FTA Great Lakes made a splash at the Lauterbach Group. Yes, you can quote me on that !
Thanks to Craig, Harry and the FTA Supplier Leadership Council for
supporting the group, Doreen Monteleone for providing FTA materials for
distribution; Lauterbach, Matik and Graymills for providing the
refreshments, Mary and Rebecca for their excellent presentations, and Heath and the entire Lauterbach team for serving as hosts for the event and for being an outstanding example of sustainability in action.