Greening Our Supply Chain: Eliminating Wooden Pallets & Paperless Receiving
To begin, General Data teamed up with one of its major label stock materials suppliers to create a pallet-free delivery program designed to eliminate the need for wooden pallets for the delivery of materials from the supplier to General Data’s manufacturing facility. Prior to this program, a typical day’s delivery utilized up to 100 pallets to hold and transport large rolls of label stock. After receipt of these deliveries, General Data attempted to resell and re-distribute these wooden pallets to secondary markets, but many still made their way into the landfill. To remedy this situation, General Data worked closely with their supplier to modify the equipment used to unload, move and store the material rolls as they were delivered, with the goal of eliminating the need for a shipping pallet. The result: deliveries are now shipped and received without pallets, and over 20,000 wooden pallets annually have been removed from General Data’s logistics supply chain and ultimately the local landfills.
General Data also worked suppliers to institute a paperless receiving program, where bills of lading and other shipping/receiving documentation are now sent electronically. When General Data receives shipments, the barcodes on the bills of lading from the supplier are now scanned right off a computer screen. There is no longer a need for General Data or its supplier to print any paper documentation for the transport and receipt of materials.
Greening Our Facilities: Solar Panels & Other Improvements
General Data’s facilities have undergone significant upgrades to reduce their overall energy consumption and carbon footprint. These upgrades include weatherproofing and insulation, the installation of an intelligent high-efficiency zone-controlled HVAC system, and the installation of 992 photovoltaic solar panels on the facility’s roof to generate electricity to power the facility’s label manufacturing equipment. The new solar panel system is capable of producing over 500kWh of clean power from the sun daily – enough to save the community from more than 110 tons of CO2 emissions each year. When the facility is not running, the electricity generated from the solar panels is fed back into the grid.
Pete Wenzel, President and CEO of General Data, stands with the solar panels
on the rooftop of the Ferguson manufacturing facility
General Data’s waste management and recycling practices include the recycling of used paper products, toner and ink cartridges, plastics, corrugated containers and electronics, resulting in an 80% reduction in these items that previously ended up in landfills.
Greening Our Products: Better For The Environment
Finally, General Data’s source reduction initiatives include the continuing development, production and promotion of environmentally-friendly label products, including direct thermal labels and linerless labels. Direct thermal labels are imaged by activating a coating directly on the label’s surface – this eliminates the need for a printer ribbon to create the image on the label, and also prevents a used printer ribbon from being added to the landfill. Linerless labels do not have a release liner, so the user does not have to discard a silicone-coated release liner into the landfill. General Data actively promotes these products to their customers as environmentally-friendly green labeling alternatives, and annually produces and ships over 350 million direct thermal labels and 8 million linerless labels. General Data continually invests resources into research and development for environmentally-friendly labeling products, and plans to release new products to the market in the near future.
General Data's various green initiatives have been well-received by employees, suppliers and customers. Our employees take pride in being environmentally responsible and often initiate process improvement projects that positively impact sustainability, efficiency and waste reduction. For example, our employees were the driving force behind our palletless packaging for our raw materials, and the conversion to paperless for many processes. For General Data's customers and suppliers, working together on green initiatives provides opportunities to develop better relationships, improve efficiencies and reduce costs.
Our green initiatives are a win-win across the board for everybody – General Data, our community, our employees, customers, suppliers, and most importantly, the environment. We’re proud of our record of environmental sustainability, and we look forward to introducing more products, programs and initiatives that further reduce the carbon footprint of every label we produce.
- Peter Wenzel, President and CEO, General Data
As we’ve continually improved our value proposition through our green initiatives, the net results of this program have been overwhelmingly positive for General Data, its employees, customers, business partners and the local community. Our customers and suppliers appreciate those efforts, especially when they also generate improved productivity and lower costs.
Operating General Data in an environmentally responsible fashion just makes good business sense. Green initiatives are not merely a program or a fad, but are a sound business practice.