iSpring Associates - Project Case Studies

Sustainable Manufacturing Baseline Sustainability Assessment at Kraft Foods

“The use of sustainable manufacturing processes in our facility gives us a clear competitive advantage in both controlling costs and reducing environmental impact.” - Rusty Moore, Plant Manager, Kraft Foods, Baseline Sustainability Assessment Project

Challenge

The Kraft Foods Lehigh Valley plant had completed a number of successful sustainability projects, including the installation of ten 1 kWh architectural windmills over the front entrance and an aggressive recycling drive that resulted in zero waste-to-landfill status in January 2010. They were subsequently seeking additional resources to accelerate their sustainability efforts. The plant had successfully collaborated with iSpring and Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center (ESC) on a series of sustainability-focused projects in 2009. In 2010, management made the decision to bring the iSpring/ESC team in to perform a baseline sustainability assessment for the entire facility with the goal of identifying opportunities for implementing sustainable manufacturing practices that would also result in cost savings. The project was also designed to take advantage of the variety of funding opportunities available to support electricity audits and alternative energy projects.

Project Description

Project work was consolidated into these focus areas:

For each of these areas, the project was designed to deliver:

Because of the age of the facility and the large number of lines that had entered and exited the plant over time, the team needed to create a baseline for most of the focus areas in order to determine the current state of each of the systems. These process maps accurately identified usage and flow through the facility and represented important deliverables of the project.

The project work was divided among four teams, each with an initial area of focus. These included the Electricity Audit Team, focused on all electrical components of the plant, the Energizers Team , focused on refrigeration, compressed air and steam usage, the Environmental Management Team, focused on water, solid waste, and building environment, and the Transportation and Logistics Team, focused on internal and external material movement.

The teams spent seven weeks collecting and analyzing the data necessary to create baselines in each project area. During the course of this data collection process, the teams compiled lists of opportunities for sustainable improvements. During the eighth week, the teams met to review all of the possible opportunities. Using Pareto analyses, the teams identified the areas of greatest potential savings.

Because iSpring’s methodology is grounded in a systems approach to problem-solving, the teams then considered where the improvement opportunities overlapped and which opportunities required a cross-team approach. Team members realigned as appropriate to investigate these areas. This type of systems approach allowed solutions to be analyzed in a whole-plant context and reduced the possibilities of sub-optimization.

The remaining five and a half weeks of the project focused on determining the feasibility of each improvement opportunity. For each identified opportunity, the teams undertook a cost/benefit analysis as well as a sustainability analysis to determine if the cost of the project was adequately offset by either the financial benefit or a significant decrease in energy usage or carbon dioxide creation, or some combination of the two.

The final step of the project was to develop recommendations for implementation of the various opportunities.

Results

The baseline sustainability assessment project resulted in more than 40 recommendations for cost-saving sustainability improvements in the Kraft Foods Lehigh Valley plant. The implementation of these recommendations would result in:

In addition, the assessment project provided Kraft with a complete, up-to-date one-line drawing of the entire electrical system as well as system maps for the other major energy systems. Process maps were created for production lines and forklift movement. An energy optimization tool for the ammonia compression system was developed as part of the project and delivered and installed at Kraft during the project.

 

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