On Monday, September 28th, Leif Jarle Grødeland, General Manager of FOGT's Sandnes facility, presented his team's entry, the “Boxing Project”, to a panel of judges from Freudenberg Group’s Global HSE competition, entitled “We All Take Care”. This competition is designed to acknowledge the success, progress and outstanding achievement in implementing the Freudenberg Guiding Principle of “Responsibility”.
Thirteen finalists were selected among 234 entries from around the world to compete in this 18th annual competition. The three project finalists for the coveted Freudenberg Award were selected by the Freudenberg “We All Take Care” Jury in Weinheim, Germany. The Jury consisted of the Chief Technology Officer of F&Co., Corporate Function Heads “HR” and “HSE” and members of the European Workers Council.
FOGT CEO, Jason Kollatschny, who attended the awards announcement virtually, accepted the 2nd place award on behalf of the Sandnes team.
Boxing Project Overview
“We often say, ‘Think outside the box’ in order to be innovative," said Leif Jarle Grødeland. “However in this case, we found that the opposite is true: ‘Thinking outside the box brought us INTO the box!’”
To improve their internal order entry and fulfillment processes, the project team had to look at every aspect of how they were currently fulfilling customer orders. One of their biggest inefficiencies was their lack of having standardized order quantities, resulting in customers frequently ordering individual items. This led to requirements for individual packaging, shipping and order processing.
The new implemented process eliminated all plastic used in packaging, introduced recycled boxing material, and reduced manhours used to unpack, wrap, repack product.
The old process was long and tedious, and involved multiple steps. The high-level process was broken into 5 steps, and included large amounts of plastic foil being purchased, used and then thrown away.
This model was not feasible as the demand for our seals grew. The fulfillment process became inefficient, requiring constant attention to inventory levels and packaging efforts.
"Because our focus on inventory space and the environmental footprint is essential, we asked ourselves how could we improve efficiency and reduce waste while supporting our valued customers’ needs?" Leif said.
The new process uses 100 percent recyclable cardboard material, eliminating 100 percent of our dependence on plastic packaging.
Compared with the old process, the new process involves just three easy steps:
Step 1: Flattened boxes are quickly assembled and pre-packed with a fixed box quantity of 10, 15, 20 or 50 units.
Step 2: Customers place an order and our team grabs the correct boxed quantity from the shelf, and
Step 3: We ship the box.
Not only did addressing inefficiencies save material costs and manhours internally, since being introduced, the new packaging process has reduced our customer’s freight bills and invoices through fewer shipments.
Overall, the benefits of the initiative have a local and global reach:
The innovative recycled cardboard box design includes a cut-out “window” to allow for quick viewing and easy access to pull the exact amount of product needed, while leaving the remainder neatly within the box on the shelf.
The optimization led to savings across the product life cycle - in manhours, materials, and environmental impact.
The project has resulted in a reduction in order fulfillment time by 50%.
Customers benefited from the project, not only reducing shipments by an average of 40% in transactions and deliveries – one customer reported that our new boxing design improved their own inventory efficiency – a savings of approximately $100k USD!
The environmental impact included 100% of plastic foil being eliminated, and fewer transportation requirements resulted in 33.1 metric tons of reduced CO2 emissions!
In closing, sometimes we find ourselves thinking that complex problems require complex solutions, but we found that “thinking outside the box definitely brought us into a simpler solution with the greatest impact."
“This project supports all of Freudenberg’s 6 Guiding Principles: Innovation, Value for Customers, Leadership, People, and Responsibility,” says FOGT President and CEO, Jason Kollatschny. “I’m proud of the Sandnes team, and their continual efforts to listen to our customers to find innovative ways to provide the best service. I encourage all FOGT teams to initiate new ideas for process improvement at their locations and submit them for next year’s competition.”
About Freudenberg Oil & Gas Technologies
Freudenberg Oil & Gas Technologies is a global solutions provider of critical sealing and connector solutions, niche products and services to the global energy market — including oil and gas, renewables and alternatives. Our strengths in material science, application knowledge, design capabilities and manufacturing capacity, combined with our differentiated product portfolio, are supported by a relentless focus on providing the highest level of service to our customers. Our associates serve a wide range of customers including oil and gas production companies, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and engineering and service companies. Freudenberg Oil & Gas Technologies has locations in Canada, Malaysia, Norway, Singapore, the UK, the United Arab Emirates, and the US.
About the Freudenberg Group
Freudenberg is a global technology group. Together with its partners, customers and research institutions, the Freudenberg Group develops leading-edge technologies, products and services for more than 40 markets and for thousands of applications: seals, connectors, vibration control components, performance materials / textiles, filters, specialty chemicals, medical products and household and commercial cleaning products. Strength of innovation, strong customer orientation, diversity, and long-term orientation are the cornerstones of the Group. A 170-year-old family-owned company, the Freudenberg Group employs approximately 48,000 people in some 60 countries worldwide and generated revenues of more than $10 billion. For more information, please visit www.freudenberg.com