Cummins Recycling Thousands of Documents to Meet 2020 Goal
Charley Barth joined Cummins with the goal of moving the power leader closer to a paperless company. So you can imagine how he felt upon discovering Cummins had not a few hundred boxes of paper in storage, but a few thousand – as many as 6,000 just in North America.
“It was a little discouraging, but I knew with the right team we could get that under control,” said Barth, Cummins’ Global Director of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) for the past two years. “I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in a relatively short period of time.”
The ECM team worked with its principal paper warehousing vendor and Cummins Legal Department to establish a program that has recycled nearly 4,000 boxes of documents over the past two years. That’s the equivalent of about 800 trees while saving the company about $20,000 in storage costs.
Reviewing 17 different accounts with its vendor, the ECM team discovered many of the 6,000 boxes of documents were out of date and could be destroyed under Cummins’ document retention policy. The team worked with its vendor on destruction alternatives and learned it could have the material shredded and recycled instead of incinerated.
“It made much more sense to choose the recycling path,” Barth said. “We were saving the company money and at the same time helping the environment. It was a win-win.”
Recycling the equivalent of 811 trees in turn saves about 334,075 gallons of water, around 22,000 gallons of oil, and equates to 95,000 pounds of recycled office paper that won’t require the harvesting of additional trees.
“It is rare that an ECM program can contribute to our sustainability goals, so we jumped at the chance,” said Jennifer Rubritz, ECM Technical Project Leader. “It is a relatively modest impact, but one we are very proud of and will continue until all timed-out records are recycled.”
Barth thinks there are potentially another 5,000 to 10,000 boxes of documents globally that can be recycled. The ECM team is reviewing all storage vendors worldwide to find additional cost and energy savings associated with the company’s document holdings. Meanwhile, Cummins has set a goal of going paperless by 2020.
“As we create more digital files and conduct our business exclusively on-line, the need to have a paper version of our documents decreases significantly” said Shukra Kichambare, ECM program manager.
The ECM team is working closely with the Cummins Vice President and Chief Information Officer Sherry Aaholm and the company’s Information Technology function to ensure tools are being developed that will help the business go paperless and manage the full lifecycle of documents via enterprise IT platforms.
Barth says the day is coming where Cummins will no longer need printers, scanners and fax machines. This in turn will reduce the company’s environmental footprint even further.
“While the savings are relatively small compared to other company initiatives,” Barth said, “I want the ECM team to play a critical role in establishing a culture where raw material conservation and recycling is a top priority.”