Originally published in Sustainable San Diego, a monthly supplement of the San Diego Business Journal. By Tom York Rick Urban, a top executive at Quality Controlled Manufacturing Inc. (QCMI) in Santee, is always seeking better ways to keep his complex machining business on the leading edge of new practices and processes. With innovation top of mind, QCMI recently completed an inaugural sixmonth sustainability program under the auspices of San Francisco-based consulting firm True Market Solutions in partnership with San Diego Gas & Electric Co. Two QCMI employees met with representatives from eight other businesses in a “sustainability circle” to find new sustainable ideas such as installing sustainable lighting in the 65,000-square-foot shop, and changing capacitors that control the flow of current to the company’s machines for precise control of electric consumption. QCMI workers also were instructed to switch off equipment when it was not in use, another idea that came out of the monthly meetings. The company even went so far as to print needed documents on two sides of the paper instead of one, and looked at ways to reduce the overall volume of printing. “The idea was to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Urban, who holds the titles of COO and CFO. “But reduce it in ways that made financial sense. We wanted to take steps that related to bottom line profits.” “We looked at what other companies were doing, such as installing motion sensors to turn lighting off when not needed,” he added. Following the monthly meetings, QCMI’s staff closely examined its processes to develop ways to reuse waste material from manufacturing that has previously been thrown into the recycling bin. For example, waste material from fusers (equipment used to bring air into an auxiliary generator on board an aircraft) is now used to make another part, saving money and boosting profits. Read the full article (PDF)