Metal facility finds success in sustainability

Metcam continues to work toward green facility



ALPHARETTA, Ga. — For Bruce Hagenau, president of Metcam, being a good steward to the environment “is the right thing to do.”

“If you do it well, it can improve your bottom line,” Hagenau said. “It could also improve your marketing efforts to your customers.”

By reducing waste, Hagenau said he’s creating a safer, healthier environment for the more than 160 employees at Metcam’s custom sheet metal assembly operation in Alpharetta.

The efforts seem to be paying off. Hagenau said the company, which goes through about 10 million pounds of sheet metal a year, has reported record sales in 2010.

And this year’s sales are 20 percent more than what they were at the same time last year, Hagenau said.

“We are focused on our mission statement and key goals: leaner, greener and meaner,” Hagenau said.

The company relies on lean manufacturing, or creating a product with little waste and high efficiency.

“The effort is to do the improvements in a sustainable way,” he said.

As part of being lean, the company has partnered with Georgia Quick Start and Lanier Technical College in support of a 30-job expansion in the company’s advanced metalworking operation. In the next few years, the company plans to expand their operations at an adjacent five-acre lot.

Quick Start will be creating and implementing a leadership training program for the new operations, which focuses on quality and productivity enhancements.

The partnership has been hailed by the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce as bringing long-term benefits to the community.

Improvements to the 100,000-square-foot south Forsyth County facility don’t stop at reducing manufacturing waste — such as laser cuttings, welding leftovers, paint (using less water), assembly and shipping.

An example is when Metcam switched 1,600 lighting fixtures in its plant with high efficiency, low-energy lighting output. The endeavor cost about $100,000, but after the electrical savings, tax credits and deductions, the money was recouped in less than a year. The company has also installed a reflective roof and energy efficient air conditioning units.

“We’re impacting less of a footprint in our electricity, but we’re also improving the comfort of the workplace,” Hagenau said.

Being green has also brought in new businesses, particularly from European companies, said Hagenau.

Metcam has also received statewide recognition from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. In February, it became a “Gold Level Partner with the Partnership for a Sustainable Georgia.”

Only 18 other companies have been given such a designation, including Coca-Cola, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Georgia-Pacific Chemicals.

The gold level means the company is “a model environmental leader,” according to DNR.

In 2002, Metcam received the governor’s award for pollution prevention and in 2007 was presented with a water conservation award by Georgia Association of Water Professionals.

“We’ve got a lot of momentum built,” Hagenau said. “We are working toward a zero waste landfill. We are looking at how to get there.”

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