New Balance shares insights into successful chemical management
Learn tips and tricks for how to start implementing a sustainable chemicals management program.
Implementing a successful chemicals management program, one day at a time. Innovative Insights with New Balance’s Greg Montello
A general sentiment we hear from a number of our clients is feeling insecure or overwhelmed about implementing a sustainable chemicals management program, noting that this can affect not just their company, but their entire supply chain. So, when talking to Greg Montello, Global Director of Product Chemistry for New Balance, a new client of ours, we were excited to hear more about his approach and gained valuable insights that we think every company at every stage of the supply chain could benefit from.
At the time of this post, Greg has been using SciveraLENS® for less than a year. As Global Director of Product Chemistry, Greg works with New Balance’s chemical inventory—including creating a safer, more sustainable chemicals strategy—and he was first and foremost looking for a better way to manage all of that. Greg identified SciveraLENS as a tool that integrated a lot of things they wanted to do in one inclusive package.
Knowing that, we were able to glean numerous insights into how New Balance is approaching their sustainable chemicals management program. Because so many companies are in a similar boat, we’re sharing some of those here.
There are a lot of tools available through external industry stakeholder organizations for instance, but there’s limited value in some of them. With as many touch points as we have internally and with our supply partners, having things be as one-stop-shop as possible is a real value.Greg Montello Global Director of Product Chemistry, New Balance
1. Set clear, attainable goals that build on each other.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed thinking about how to implement a chemicals management program for your entire supply chain. Know that this is a process and, just like exercise, consistency is key. Set smaller, clear, attainable goals for yourself and your team which will lead to bigger and bigger gains. For Greg, these goals are focused on building out their database and then taking a deeper dive into a specific aspect of their work.
I’m building a database around our chemical inventory, including approved chemicals, which is coupled with a tracking system and risk-based list. We’re also looking at greening the rubber supply chain, so I’m compiling all of the different rubber mixes and compounds and we’ll use SciveraLENS to understand the best opportunities to transition to safer chemicals. Then, we will run all of the CAS numbers through and then pull a report of how all of those CAS numbers stack up in terms of hazard.Greg Montello Global Director of Product Chemistry, New Balance
2. Assess the full gamut of resources at your fingertips for additional support.
Even if your company has an in-house toxicology team, there can still be more work than can get done in your ideal time frame—especially when it comes to communicating out to your supply chain. Think about what resources you have and that may help you figure out what your process should be. For instance:
Because we have suppliers all throughout Asia, I’m working to break down our existing formulations and safer alternatives by country, so that I can circle back to our regional teams to help with implementation.Greg Montello Global Director of Product Chemistry, New Balance
3. Maintain a future-forward vision that includes flexibility.
While setting quarterly goals will help you establish a strong sustainable chemicals management foundation, set those goals thinking about the long term. For instance, this may mean taking on more work in-house for the short term so that you can establish a solid process that you can then include your supply chain in for the long term. And use current events to help you gauge what to take on when.
When we’re sourcing materials, we have our supplier partners who are sourcing formulations for those materials, and we have a lot of oversight there, but ideally we’d also have our supplier partners using SciveraLENS as well to help empower them and supply us with the safety information we need. I can envision going to my suppliers and saying, ‘Hey, become a SciveraLENS partner so that you can upload your formulations and run a report for us.’ That would be the pinnacle of a supply chain relationship. That said, our suppliers are under a lot of pressure to get us product right now with all of the impacts of COVID-19 on the supply chain, so I do want to be aware that asking them to do more needs to be handled with a lot of planning and forethought, because our main priority is getting quality materials so we don’t want to get away from that.Greg Montello Global Director of Product Chemistry, New Balance
4. Ask about best practices!
When you subscribe to SciveraLENS, you become part of the Enhesa Sustainable Chemistry family. So, for instance, if you aren’t sure what to ask for from your suppliers, ask us! With more than a decade of experience in the field, we’ve got best practices coming out of our ears, and we’re happy to share them out with you.
We hope this leaves you with some food for thought about your own sustainable chemicals management program. As you’re thinking through your next steps, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more or schedule a SciveraLENS demo to see how it could help your journey.