In 2006 ChemicoMays implemented a chemical management program at for a client in the biotech industry at multiple research facilities across the U.S. The objective of the program was to manage laboratory chemicals beginning with the procurement process, through management of on-site inventories and collection of hazardous wastes.
The primary focus of the program included reduction of chemical risk through the reduction of on-site inventory, environmental support, cost savings, and maintaining availability of chemicals for the researchers. Upon program implementation, analysis of the starting inventory indicated inventories to be over reported and generally high. Corrected inventory data and reduction of stocked solvents resulted in an immediate reduction of stockroom volumes by 52%, with a reduction of flammable materials of 45% (by weight). Continued optimization of inventory levels have resulted in a reduction of flammables by 60% and non-flammables by 78%. The reduction in stocked solvents eliminated the need to build additional planned H-rated space at a significant savings to customer. Management of stocked solvent inventories on a just-in-time basis, utilizing historic usage data has reduced the number of containers by 63% since the start of the program.
The program has been a significant resource to the EH&S staff for the customer because of the improved data quality in the inventory management system. Quality was improved by updating all material property information with respect to proper nomenclature, CAS number, hazard class and storage segregation codes. The close management of material safety data sheets for all materials in the customer’s MSDS database has contributed to the efficiency of compliance and reporting activities for EH&S staff.
Although cost savings were not initially targeted, significant savings have been achieved. The primary opportunity for cost saving was solvents and other chemicals purchased for production use had a much shorter “shelf life” due to GMP guidelines. The chemical management program took control of these “expired” materials and placed them into use in the laboratory stockrooms. This practice and other efforts to redeploy materials already on-site provided substantial savings. In total, cost savings initiatives have provided over $1,000,000 in savings over the life of the program. Additional opportunities for savings are still in progress with over $500,000 in savings proposed.
The program continues to improve the availability of chemicals to the researchers. Benefits of the reduced inventory in the stockroom include a greater variety of materials in stock which improves overall efficiency and reduces cost.
The most valuable benefit for the researchers and chemical users is collaboration chemical suppliers to improve their service. The chemical management staff acts as a liaison between the users and the suppliers to resolve issues related to chemical packaging and quality. In fact, recent work with a large solvent supplier regarding quality issues resulted in process changes at the supplier’s facility which were implemented to improve quality for all of their customers. Program staff is active in all supplier negotiations and provides technical advice and historical documentation when required to settle any disputes.
Overall, the ChemicoMays chemical management program has been an integral part of customer’s sustainability program. The concept of chemical management and its implementation deliver value across the sustainability spectrum with benefits to employees, the business, the community and to the customer as a whole.