Simple and inexpensive ways
Inventory control and
Efficient purchasing to reduce waste and Cut COS& practices can reduce both purchasing improvements the toxicity of waste and are simple and cost-effecthe amount of a product or package that is destive pollution prevention measures that can be tined to become waste. Clearly, such practices can applied-by virtually any company, of any size, in minimize the waste that results from overpurchasany type of manufacturing or service business. ing materials which are then allowed to expire on
Implementing these techniques costs little and can the shelf. In addition, when creating purchasing be accomplished easily using in-house staff. In standards, a company can go further by specifying addition, taking steps to control inventory and the purchase of less toxic or more easily reusable purchasingalso often improves production perforproducts. Moreover, as part of its purchasing promance.
This article discusses several easily implegram, the firm can negotiate with suppliers to remented techniques. The discussion first reviews duce the amount of packaging used in connection ideas for improving purchasing practices. It then with the goods they provide. explores techniques for controlling inventory, inEducate and involve employees cluding just-in-time UIT) manufacturing, which
The first significant step to improving purchashas been shown to reduce waste while also improving practices is to educate purchasing staff about ing quality and performance. the high cost of disposing of excess or expired raw materials. Purchasing employees should also be
Improving Purchasing Practices represented on any internal teams that address
Purchasing decisions largely control the type and amount of raw materials that enter a product quality or environmental issues. The more company's manufacturing stream. Thus, efficient that purchasing staff know about production, enand waste-sensitive purchasing practices are critical to controlling inventory and ensuring that too many materials do not end up as waste.
0 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
1 Pollution Prevention Review /
Spring 1995 /
vironmental, and maintenance procedures, the better equipped they will be to work with vendors and others to make good purchasing decisions.
Establish purchasing review criteria
Crucial to making good purchasing decisions is establishing review criteria for all material pur-
chased, including minimum standards for purchasing approval. Purchasing personnel should consider a number of elements with regard to products being acquired, including: environmental hazards, the potential for creating liability, worker exposure concerns, storage requirements, and handling and use requirements.
Sources of information on product characteristics may include material safety data sheets (MSDS), data provided by chemical suppliers, and chemical reference books.
Avoid ordering more product than is needed
It is important to purchase oniy the amount of raw materials needed for a production run or a set period of time. Excess inventory often must be disposed of because it expires before it can be used, or because thereis no place to store it.
An example of the kind of problems that can be caused by overpurchasing arose in one of
Purchase only the
3M’s plants. The plant was havamount of raw ing difficulty meeting a chloride materials needed for a limitation contained in its wasteproduction run or a set water permit. Sources of the chloperiod of time. ride were investigated, but nothing was found to explain why the permit limit was being exceeded. After discussing the problem with operating personnel at the plant, the company discovered that the problem was related to purchasing quantity. Apparently, when-
28 / Spring 1995 / Pollution Prevention Review
ever the storage tank for the hydrochloric acid used in regenerating the water treatment deionizers began to run low,…