A Greener Way to Move Products

Sept. 1, 2010
Hytrol Conveyor's employees practice social responsibility on a daily basis.

In this new regular feature, written from a practitioner's perspective, “Corporate Citizen” will focus on the best practices and key strategies driving sustainability efforts throughout the supply chain. These eyewitness accounts will put a face on the green initiatives that are changing the very nature of material handling and logistics — for the better.

During the past decade Hytrol Conveyor Company has been on a journey to improve the company by constantly evaluating new ways to design, order and manufacture our conveyors. In order to do this, we have to continuously evaluate what we do and how we do it. This type of challenge highlights the importance of caring for our company's resources. Hytrol employees make it their daily practice to be socially responsible, and some of the examples are described below.

One of our initiatives is to reduce our environmental footprint by continually eliminating waste. In our industry, waste can take the form of excess material, labor-intensive processes and unnecessary energy consumption. Equipment improvements at Hytrol have helped to increase machine uptime by 20%, while lowering energy consumption by 30%. These upgrades have also reduced the noise levels in the production area, which is music to the ears of those employees.

Value stream mapping is a practice that has afforded us the opportunity to remove 60% of our lift truck fleet — a savings equal to 70 tons of coal per year.

In addition, we replaced 750 light fixtures with a more effective and efficient option. This change lowered our annual power usage by 890,000 kWh, but actually increased the amount of light for the employees. Being located in “The Natural State” (Arkansas), we believe our daily practices should fit our state's motto, which is why we made sure to dispose of the existing fixtures according to EPA standards. Implementing a powder paint system helped us to eliminate the need for an air permit as we emit no volatile organic chemicals into the atmosphere. We were also recognized by our utility company for outstanding pretreatment standards for our waste water.

Hytrol employees make it a point each day to design with the environment in mind. We believe that providing smart tools for our customers gives us the ability to magnify our impact on the world. When you offer products that only use power when necessary and use 60% less energy than similar technologies, you give the customer the ability to be more socially responsible.

We are fully aware that it takes great employees to make these kinds of advancements. We also know that enhancing the quality of life and being present in the community are key components of socially responsible companies. These are just a few of the reasons that we take a dynamic approach in bettering the lives of our employees by providing an on-site health club and full-service medical clinic that are free to Hytrol employees and their families. We have made it a regular practice to give back to the local community, and have seen some of the smallest acts make a big difference. We view corporate social responsibility as a great way to transform our work, our lives and our community each and every day.

Gregg Goodner is president of Hytrol Conveyor Company, Jonesboro, Ark., a manufacturer of conveyors, conveying systems and conveyor accessories. Hytrol has more than 725 employees and currently serves approximately 63 integration partners in the United States and 22 international partners, representing 13 countries.