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Columbia Credits ERP Software For 98% Water Savings

Columbia Manufacturing has reduced daily water use 98 percent and has eliminated all VOCs within its painting operations, two of several environmental goals reached with help from enterprise resource planning software from SYSPRO.

The school furniture manufacturer credits the software, which it’s been using since 2004, for its ability to adopt sustainability practices in its everyday operations and reach specific environmental goals, such as reducing water use from 150,000 gallons to 3,000 gallons per day.

Other environmental goals achieved include using 100 percent recycled wood flour in hard plastic seats, backs and tops, using up to 25 percent recycled post-industrial products in soft plastic components, and reducing chrome use by 93 percent and nickel purchases by 75 percent, the company said.

Columbia also recycles all of its excess wood products and pallets, cardboard and paper products and scrap steel. The recycled wood and paper products are converted to fuel to replace coal in power generator plants.

The SYSPRO software allows the company to expedite material resource planning and purchasing and use a forecasting tool to regulate its purchase of chemicals, water use, electricity and all items related to making school furniture, said Ali Salehi, Columbia Manufacturing’s senior vice president.

SYSPRO’s software was selected out of a field of 15 candidates on the recommendation of a search committee tasked with finding a replacement to an outdated ERP system, Columbia said.

Other companies such as Oracle have developed environmental ERP modules as regulations tighten and resources become more scarce. A report released last year by Green Research found major companies are generally satisfied with the accuracy and completeness of environmental data from ERP and sustainability performance management systems. However, 38 percent of those surveyed said it’s too difficult to get the data they need out of the systems.

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