Gray Tools Chose Green Before It Was "Trendy"
- Gray Tools Official Blog
- 27 May, 2020
The 2020 health crises has imposed drastic changes to our business practices and personal routine. It has also given us the opportunity to reflect on how our own actions and behaviour affects the environment.
We, at Gray Tools, decided it was time for a change many years ago. Since then, we have initiated a series of changes to the business to reduce its environmental footprint. Below are just a few examples of the steps taken to reduce the waste and contribute to a better world.
The Paperless Office
Long gone are the days of intensive paper use and associated waste; the evolution of technology has assisted companies in going green.
In our office, a digital document handling process was adopted in 2000. This process eliminated the printing of faxes and other documents, reducing paper consumption and toner waste.
Remember those big, ugly, steel filing cabinets that took up too much space in offices? Thankfully, this system allowed those clunky contraptions to be thrown away and replaced with a digital document filing and storage system.
Additionally we converted to an electronic mailing system, which reduced the need to print and mail documentation by 90+%. Reducing physical mailings has reduced paper and envelope usage and saved countless trees and green space.
In the warehouse, Gray Tools introduced a paperless warehousing system in 2000 and reduced the need for printed-paper by 95+%. Orders are now fully picked and packed using digital technology.
More recently in 2017, we revamped Retailer Connect, an online portal that allows distributors to check stock and place orders online, thus reducing paper-based ordering.
Reduced Energy Consumption
Addressing energy consumption has been another important initiative for our company.
All lighting in the Brampton, Ontario office, plant, and warehouse was upgraded to brighter more energy efficient hardware. Improved visibility and working environment, along with reduced energy consumption has been a win-win for the environment and us.
Next, Gray Tools made significant investments, improvements, and changes in the company’s manufacturing processes which have resulted in reductions in energy and water consumption.
These changes mean fewer emissions, lower energy consumption, and improved protection of water, a limited natural resource.
We have also made many changes in our office and to the shipping processes to reduce our rate of pollution.
In the office, the product development team is mandated to source minimal packaging for our products, thus reducing the need to dispose of plastics, metal components and other materials once the product is purchased.
For decades our shipping process has involved reusing carton boxes packed with used newspaper for as many orders as possible. Using old newspaper, which is biodegradable and fully recyclable, eliminates the need for air-pillows, foam chips or other fillers. Moreover, Gray has developed solid expertise in drop shipping products to the final end user, upon request, in order to improve delivery time and minimizing environmental impact.
Gray Tools is committed to being environmentally conscious and developing processes that limit pollution and emissions as well as, where possible, reducing or eliminating materials in our production process that are not environmentally friendly. Gray Tools is in full compliance to all municipal, provincial, federal and international standards regarding pollution controls, reduction of toxic substances, use of “conflict minerals” and all other required legislation. Regular independent testing of wastewater and air emissions is performed at Gray Tools to insure continued compliance.
Finally, the objective to reduce the company’s pollution rates is encouraged across the company and all employees are expected and empowered to do their part in reducing our environmental footprint.
For example, the Gray sales force is constantly encouraged to use digital technology, such us online meetings, to service our customers more efficiently, thus reducing the need for driving long distances.
Smart, Eco-Friendly Manufacturing Process
At Gray several initiatives have been undertaken in the past few years to improve our production processes and make them more energy and environmental friendly.
After 50 years of performing in house plating services, we made the difficult decision to decommission our in house plating lines and sub contract the service to local vendors who had superior closed loop waste water filtration systems.
While this was a difficult decision for Gray Tools, who had always maintained the highest standard of waste water filtration and emission controls in house, we felt that it was more environmentally responsible to subcontract our plating processes to local processors with very sophisticated air and water filtration systems in order to minimize the environmental impact of our plating process.
We have also implemented new production methods in several areas to implement production processes that limit emissions and reduce energy consumption. We have reduced the amount of product that goes through both our swaging and hot broach processes as these processes generate some emissions and are very energy intensive. These processes have been replaced with cleaner, more energy efficient and higher quality CNC machining processes resulting in a product that is not only superior in performance and quality but also more energy efficient and producing less emissions.
We regularly monitor our supply chain to insure that our vendors are maintaining compliance with all required domestic and international environmental regulations both in their production processes as well as in the materials they are using.
Gray Tools has in house air filtration in areas where particulate is generated from the production process. This both keeps our employees safe and maintains good air quality reducing emission to the environment.
We have a strict chemical disposal process to insure all chemicals used in the production process are disposed of by approved vendors who use the most up to date methods to safely dispose of any waste generated at Gray Tools. Disposal of all chemicals from Gray is reported to the government on a regular basis.
Finally, Gray has a robust recycling program whereby any steel scrap generated in the production process or any material that is returned for warranty from our customers is returned to approved recycling vendors.
The "green" philosophy is deeply embedded in our company's DNA. Just like our tools, we operate on solid principles to ensure future generations will have a great place to live and work.