AIKEN, S.C. – Employees with the management and operations contractor at the Savannah River Site (SRS) achieved $12.7 million in cost savings in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2020, exceeding the $12.5 million in cost savings EM tasked them to find and reinvest toward improving processes, programs, and infrastructure across the site.
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) Continuous Improvement Manager P. K. Hightower credited SRNS organizations for obtaining the cost savings through continuous improvement and streamlining initiatives.
“The workgroups who submitted the cost saving recommendations strived to ensure they were implemented promptly and optimally,” said Hightower.
SRNS Business Planning & Integration Director Freddie Grimm said a significant percentage of the savings can be attributed to process efficiencies.
“The icing on the cake has been our employees’ ability to insightfully examine how we do business and then evaluate potential improvements, often from a completely different perspective,” Grimm said. “This has resulted time and again with new ways to efficiently and effectively streamline processes and procedures, leading to major cost savings.”
Grimm noted that more than $4 million in savings resulted from reusing equipment parts instead of purchasing them. For example, SRNS found cost savings from outfitting a cybersecurity laboratory with existing equipment.
“The wisdom and creativity displayed, combined with the practical reutilization of existing resources, has been inspiring,” said Grimm.
Workers improved the site’s circuit breaker maintenance, leading to $1.3 million in savings. They developed a new process to safely avoid performing arc flash calculations and other work for more than 1,630 molded case circuit breakers, decreasing potential exposure to electrical risk.
Employees also streamlined the SRS bidding process for procuring new roofs and repairing them, decreasing the time required to seek bids and award contracts. Those improvements also resulted in $1.3 million in savings.
In fiscal 2020, SRNS took a fresh approach to marketing the site’s employee suggestion program called IDEAS, or Individuals Developing Effective Alternative Solutions. The marketing included creative posters and comical, yet informative, video vignettes to motivate greater participation in the program and encourage employees to find workplace cost savings.
“Using imaginative and often humorous marketing initiatives created a surge in the growth of this program, which helped ensure our success towards meeting the cost savings challenge,” Grimm added.
Cost savings also resulted from the effectiveness of passive groundwater cleanup technology powered by solar energy.
“We are striving to perform more work scope with less funding,” said Hightower. “I’m really proud of our continuous improvement team and all those within SRNS who have stepped up to synergistically accomplish so much in one year.”