Over the past seven years, NEU-JKF has been working hard to transform its offices and production sites and ensure quality working conditions.
This has fostered an improvement culture in which new ideas and suggestions are formulated, evaluated and – where they align with NEU-JKF objectives and investments - implemented. It is how the company stays ahead of legislative changes relating, for instance, to CO2 emissions, the environment more broadly and working conditions.
The improvement culture has sparked a continuous stream of new initiatives aimed at creating an increasingly environmental-friendly working environment.
The first initiative involved a clean-up, together with the removal of any items that were no longer being used. Shelving was taken away from a number of production sites, which then made it possible to re-arrange equipment and improve operational workflows – culminating in internal transport volumes being reduced by one FTE equivalent.
On top of this, offices and production sites would both benefit from major renovations, including roof insulation, skylights to brighten the workshop areas, new thermo windows and LED lighting alterations. The sites also set up a metal, paper, plastic and battery waste control system; invested in gas central heating to replace the old oil-fired systems; installed cladding to improve soundproofing; and painted the walls and floors in lighter colors.
Lastly, workplace assessments are now being asked of all office and production site employees. This allows them to share with the Safety & Environmental committee any feedback they may have regarding the recent improvements as well as general working conditions.
The end effect of these actions has been to help NEU-JKF raise awareness of its corporate environmental responsibility and implement major cultural changes that have been beneficial on several different levels.
Most of the investments have a short payback period. New LED lighting has made the production areas brighter places to work while achieving annual savings of €30,000. Trimming scraps fell by 7% between 2018 and 2019, representing savings of €40,000 and indicating an improvement in product quality.
Above all, there have been fewer industrial accidents in this new and improved working environment (0.22% vs. 0.35% previously); absenteeism is down from 5% to 4.4%; and total direct savings of €50,000 have been achieved. Job satisfaction is up as well. Clearly, the “go green” initiative has been a win-win proposition for company and employees alike.
NEU-JKF plans to continue down the path of reducing its environmental footprint through further green investments. Current projects include adding a heat exchanger to the dust extraction system; installing roof solar panels; and going paper-free.
Not to mention the great benefit of increasing employees’ pride in the company and facilities where they work.