If you’ve ever sat through a lengthy presentation that is packed with technical data and information, there comes a critical juncture where you want the presenter to cut to the chase and answer that one key question. So what?
The real value of all of this technical information is in knowing what it means to you, why it’s relevant, and how your company will benefit from it. How will this make your job easier, reduce costs for your project or create value for you and your organization?
The same questions hold true when an injection molding supplier outlines what training, processes and certifications they may have acquired. For your injection molded application, it may be key that your molder is IS0 13485 certified, that they have a clean room, or that they can meet FDA standards that are required for your product or device.
But what benefit can your company realize if that same molder is ISO 14001 certified? How does this provide you with a better product, process or pricing?
Here we dive into the ISO 14001 certification and answer the key “so what” question.
ISO 14001 Defined
Most people have heard of the ISO 14001 certification but may be unaware of what it entails. The ISO 14001 is defined as, “an internationally agreed standard that sets out the requirements for an environmental management system. It helps organizations improve their environmental performance for more efficient use of resources and reduction of waste.”
Additionally, “it requires that an organization considers all environmental issues relevant to its operations, such as air pollution, water and sewage issues, waste management, soil contamination, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and resource use and efficiency.”
What does the ISO 14001 certification mean to your business?
A specific benefit that ISO 14001 adds to the injection molding process is a proven system that helps companies implement and maintain an environmental program. This benefits our customers by providing the opportunity to partner with an injection molding organization that can reduce waste and become more efficient in producing the product that we make on their behalf.
It also helps our community and world by lowering the impact on the environment which helps preserve the health of our staff and the people in our municipality.
Some additional benefits include:
- Operational efficiency and process controls: Better, cleaner processes should yield lower costs and more consistent quality products. For our employees and staff, it raises awareness and will ultimately lead to improved quality.
- Training classes and awareness for employees: Forum believes that this will improve morale as employees can take leadership and personal involvement as they see that their employer cares about the environment and the future of the planet. It helps our staff see that their contribution to the process is contributing to a better world.
- Environmental impact: Reducing waste, consuming less and recycling more reduces negative effects on the environment. ISO 14001 helps Forum achieve that goal.
- Our community: Forum is committed to building safe surroundings near the company, demonstrating that we are a company willing to help improve the health of the people and reduce environmental impact.
Why did Forum decide to become ISO 14001 certified?
As a company dedicated to reducing or eliminating the negative effects of our processes and practices on the environment, we felt this was the right thing to do as an organization.
Forum believes that our customers are looking to partner with progressive-thinking companies that are willing to invest resources and time in environmental programs. We believe that a more efficient use of resources, reduction of waste, and compliance with regulations will benefit our organization and customers.
To achieve the ISO 14001 certification, what did Forum have to implement within the organization and facility?
Pursuing ISO 14001 led to the development and installation of procedures and documentation that are necessary to meet the requirements of the standard. This led to additional training of personnel and the need to create awareness for specific processes that would be impacted. It also led to the identification of compliance obligations and other significant aspects that needed to be monitored to maintain and retain compliance. As a result, we needed to develop a manual that describes procedures and identifies environmental objectives, as well as the action plan to meet those objectives.
To check our performance, we will conduct self-audits during the year covering all the requirements of the standard. The audits will be conducted by trained staff that has received internal audit certification. Some of the objectives in this first year were to gain certification, set baselines for energy consumption, raw material usage, pollutant/contaminant discharge and plastic waste for different processes, and then look to improve environmental performance in 2022.
How will it help with cost reductions/cost avoidance?
Forum has always been focused on lean principles, and ISO 14001 is in line with our Kaizen 5S processes and practices. An environmental management system and the associated projects can aid us as we identify areas of focus and help us reduce consumption of energy or raw materials that can lead to cost reductions. If we can prevent or reduce the impact of a negative environmental event, we avoid that cost, ultimately benefiting our customers and our communities.
Some specific areas that we are already focusing on include:
- Dunnage/cardboard recycling
- Plastic parts/scrap recycling
- Pollution control
- Energy and raw material consumption
Focusing on these specific areas creates a competitive and financial advantage through improved efficiencies and reduced overhead and manufacturing costs. We will be continuously reviewing our processes and identifying opportunities to help us improve our environmental performance.
Forum Plastics believes that achieving ISO 14001:2015 will have long-term benefits for our employees, organization, community and world. And that positive impact will ultimately benefit our customers and their organization and end product.
To learn more about Forum’s environmental commitment and how it can benefit your business, please contact Jose Mosello, Director of Quality Assurance, Forum Plastics.