Successes in Operations

S&C Electric Company

Situation

As a supplier to the utility industry, where there’s a big emphasis on smart grid and renewable energy projects, S&C is committed to providing equipment and services that help customers meet sustainability goals. That commitment led S&C to the Green Suppliers Network (GSN), a collaborative venture of industry, the EPA and the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Through a series of interactive site reviews (sometimes known as E3: Economy, Energy, Environment), manufacturers work to improve business processes – with the goal of lessening environmental impacts and improving productivity and customer satisfaction.

IMEC Solution

To pursue registration as a GSN Partner, S&C teamed up with IMEC (project management and efficiency review), the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (environmental analysis) and the UIC Energy Resources Center (energy analysis) and selected its painting operation as the value stream to assess. Over the course of six-plus months, IMEC facilitated a diverse group of S&C employees as they analyzed the process from grinding to final painting. The team reviewed chemical, water and energy usage; waste and pollution generated; and employee safety.

Results

  • Successful registration as a Green Supplier Network Partner
  • Efficiency improvements and waste reductions in painting operation
  • Initiation of additional efficiency, waste reduction and environmental projects
  • Enhanced culture of “green” thinking

Green thinking takes root in Chicago electric company’s culture

Having served electric power transmission and distribution customers for more than a century, S&C Electric Company’s focus on energy efficiency and sustainable operations isn’t new – but working with IMEC to become a registered Green Suppliers Network Partner did help the Chicago-based manufacturer of switching and protection products more deeply embed “green” thinking into its culture.

“In our industry, there’s a big emphasis on smart grid and renewable energy projects,” said S&C Safety & Environmental Director Bob Sullivan. “We’re committed to providing equipment and services that support those efforts to help our customers meet their sustainability goals.”

That commitment led S&C to the Green Suppliers Network (GSN), a collaborative venture of industry, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Through a series of interactive site reviews (sometimes known as E3: Economy, Energy, Environment), manufacturers work to improve business processes – with the goal of lessening environmental impacts and improving productivity and customer satisfaction.

To pursue registration as a GSN Partner, S&C teamed up with IMEC (project management and efficiency review), the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (environmental analysis) and the UIC Energy Resources Center (energy analysis) and selected its painting operation as the value stream to assess. Over the course of six-plus months, IMEC facilitated a diverse group of S&C managers, engineers, shop floor workers and maintenance employees as they analyzed the entire process from grinding to final painting. This team reviewed everything from chemical, water and energy usage to the amount of waste and pollution generated through the painting operation. Employee safety was also a key focus for S&C, even though it wasn’t required as part of the GSN assessment.

S&C used this green value stream analysis to make efficiency improvements and waste reductions in its painting operation – but the real benefit, company leaders say, extended much further.

“The GSN process got our employees’ juices flowing, spawning a bunch of smaller projects,” Sullivan said. “Sometimes efforts like these die out quickly, but this one is still living on in our organization more than a year later. It’s really taken root in our culture.”

Examples of smaller projects S&C has implemented since becoming a GSN Partner include switching to more environmentally friendly solvents and installing controllers that cycle pumps more efficiently, thereby reducing electricity costs. The company also is exploring demand-driven compressor options.

According to Sullivan, having access to a team of experts with experience in the utility industry as well as energy usage and audits was key to the GSN project’s success.

“IMEC has a very good team, and we appreciated that they tailored the individual team members to our industry,” he said. “Having the right people working with us made it a much more efficient process.”

S&C Electric Company Illinois

S&C Electric Company

3,000 Employees

Chicago, Illinois

“The GSN process got our employees’ juices flowing, spawning a bunch of smaller projects. Sometimes efforts like these die out quickly, but this one is still living on in our organization more than a year later. It’s really taken root in our culture.”

 

– Bob Sullivan, Safety & Environmental Director

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