Ressourcen

Guiding principle 04

The fischer group of companies is dependent on its suppliers, world markets, available raw materials and services. To ensure their continued existence into the future, external resources must be used in an efficient and responsible manner, in accordance with SDG 12, Sustainable consumption and production. It is necessary use resources to define and maintain a respectful, value-focused and economical approach. Purchasing works closely with adjacent functional areas for this purpose. With its certification according to ISO 14001, fischer’s goal is to confirm the conformity of purchasing processes and the internal processes with the environmental standard.

Suppliers

External partners are selected based on economic criteria, as well as the criteria of “decent work” (SDG 8) and “occupational safety” and “health and well-being” (SDG 3). Therefore, even long-term delivery relationships are subject to a comprehensive and thorough system of regular audits. fischer has continuously increased the share of audited A-suppliers since 2015 in order to require further HSE-awareness (Health, Safety, and Environment) from its suppliers as well as further improve product quality. In 2018, 69 % of the A-suppliers were audited, which represented a further increase of 7 % over the previous year. The audit rate dropped by 37% in 2019 due to organisational changes in the area. The group plans to increase this rate again in coming years. In addition to the SDGs, the basis for the audit system and the prioritisation of the audit is the annual supplier assessment with the factors of quality, service, delivery performance, environmental competence and economic efficiency.
Both availability as well as economic efficiency influence the terms of external services required by fischer. When selecting the countries of origin fischer follows a strict “total cost of ownership” principle.This means: Unnecessary, long transport routes are avoided as much as possible and those sources are preferred whose standards correspond with the ecological fundamental rules at fischer locations. This is also reflected in the supplier structure: 50 % of goods come from Germany, 38 % from European countries, and the remaining 12 % from Asia.

Production

One of fischer's highest priorities is ensuring that the raw materials and production materials used meet recycling and waste management requirements. The return of materials is highly important both on economic and also ecological grounds. For instance, virtually 100 % of waste accrued during the production of plastic dowels is reused internally and externally. fischer has progressed significantly in this area in recent years. The percentage of material or thermally reusable waste is constantly above 99%.
Since In 2016, the individual waste fractions have been examined in even more detail in order to identify further potential for reducing the total volume of waste. In the area of waste management, fischer only works with certified disposers who are able to guarantee proper disposal for the group of companies.

Processes

At the Tumlingen location, fischer has permission to take water from its own spring, which is used for indirect cooling purposes in the production department and for irrigating the green areas.

The drinking water consumption at the Tumlingen location has remained constant, despite an increasing number of employees, and is about 10,000 m³ per year. The increase of source water consumption from 2017 to 2018 can be traced back to the long summer period in 2018 and the resulting high demand for cooling and irrigation. The percentage of drinking water from the overall water consumption was reduced. 

When it comes to weed control, fischer says ‘no’ to herbicide. For this reason, a device was created in 2017, that uses the hot water method. This is an intense, deepacting method that permanently removes weeds, while protecting surfaces and the environment. This makes the usage of herbicides on paved areas completely superfluous and reduces overall usage by a third.

The design of new projects follows the sustainability principle

Sustainable handling is also observed in all processes at fischer. We are always developing, implementing new analytic approaches and the latest methods to identify potential ways to help save resources and energy while optimising processes. To do so, we conducted our first analysis using the “Material Flow Cost Accounting” (MFCA) method as part of the Material Efficiency Program from Umwelttechnik BW (EFFiMA). In addition to costs, the analysis considers all material and energy consumption, as well as loss quantities.The findings from this pilot workshop will now be expanded to other products and processes.

Process improvements in our chemical 
production are one example for how resources are being used responsibly. There, dusts produced during solid materials dosing are suctioned and collected in separate types for reuse. This helps save material and disposal costs, reduce the volume of specialised waste by 3 t per year, and improve occupational safety through more efficient suction.

Ocean and air cargo packaging was also optimised, with a focus on reducing costs. As part of the optimisation several sustainability aspects were also addressed. These include, for instance, lowering packaging costs, levelling employee capacities, reducing injury risks and a significant reduction of packaging materials used by 32 t

Another project in logistics was the procurement of a new stretch system with the goal of lowering transport damages as well as optimal load securing. Individual stretching programmes also enable a reduction of foil usage, which also prevents malfunctions, downtimes and maintenance. Manual stretching has been reduced to a minimum, and there is no need to manually add a cover sheet, since this process is integrated via machine. The system also stands out for its simple operation via a PLC panel, quick role exchanges and reduced foil usage per pallet.

Injection moulding technology and physical foaming also reduce the usage of es. By using MuCell® injection moulding technology it is possible to reduce resource usage of energy and petroleumbased plastic in the production of fischer automotive with improved dimension stability. At the same time, customer satisfaction is improved using this lightweight construction method with function-specific wall-thickness layout – compared to filloriented compact injection moulding.

Changing the manufacturing process for safety screw produced in-house helps to improve all three pillars of sustainability. The new process avoids so-called deburring scrap. The process saves resources by avoiding 42.6 t of metal scrap per year, and machines also do not have to be cleaned using a process that can often be complex. This improves ergonomics for employees and machine production times. In addition, we save by reducing manufacturing costs for raw materials by 15%.

The cutting oil used in machining in metal production directly influences the machine tools. Changing to a higher-quality oil significantly extends tool service lives, while reducing tool costs by 41%. Filtering and recovering the oil has generated added cost savings.

Partnership

Generally, our collaboration with fischer suppliers represents a vibrant partnership. It is characterised by mutual appreciation. The following principle applies: “It is not easy to supply us, but whoever manages it does so as our partner.” If suppliers fulfil the high requirements relating to quality, environment, innovation and costs, they are welcome to engage in a long-term partnership with fischer.

In order to make an important contribution to the future and to corporate earnings, the fischer group of companies and its partners constantly and consistently search for ways to design products more simply and more affordably while maintaining consistently high quality. At the same time, less material should be consumed. In-house this is described as refinement. 

For instance, in various projects the dimensions of steel products are modified in such a way that several tonnes of raw material per year have been conserved, with the same batch size and better quality. The implemented ongoing sustainability improvements fulfil the specifications of the twelfth global sustainability target: prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse of waste.

Consulting

The linking of lean management approaches with sustainable resource efficiency offers high savings potential along the entire value creation chain. For fischer Consulting GmbH, value stream mapping – with the aim of sustainable removal of waste in terms of “lean” and “resource usage” – is the focus of the consulting. In addition to in-house company process interfaces – both suppliers as well as end users – this includes both suppliers and end users. It is critical that, in the future, development, planning and production departments will work together as early as they can in order to create general conditions at the start of the product development process, which ensures the most efficient and resource-conserving manufacturing of products and provision of services possible.

Experience shows that the company is laying the foundations for a sustainably positive environmental balance, and thereby profits for all process partners, by successfully implementing the fischer Process System principles

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