Webb said they are looking to nail down metrics for influence on the community, such as travel times for people in the region. There are a lot of things they would like to track annually, but don't have the capability to at this time.
Webb said as much as the transit industry talks about being a social pillar for communities, unless we show people what our role is in things that they can count, such as how long it takes them to get to work or how much their business loses because of congestion, we won't get to that place that we are seen as an integral part of their world.
She said a "next step" is to embed values. "The values of equality are embedded. If sustainability can get to that point, it just becomes good business practice, then we have won." When it is simply a value, it's no longer a program because it is so embedded in the culture of what we do.
From the business member side, New Flyer's Director of Marketing Amy Miller talked about their route toward sustainability.
"Sustainability to us is our capacity to endure as a group," she said. She added that it's so that they're here for the long haul. With customers needing OEMs to provide parts, service, training, it's a long-term relationship.
They are the only transit bus OEM certified to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 and she said the way they frame up those programs is: A better product, a better workplace, a better world.
Setting out to create a better product, they heard from customers that they needed lower operating costs. Miller said with the Xcelsior they achieved a 10 percent reduction in weight, which translates to improved fuel economy. She added that it has achieved the best fuel economy recorded at Altoona, of 5.88 miles per gallon.
When it comes to a better workplace, they have launched a New Flyer institute for ongoing training and iBus, their employee intranet which includes a variety of ways for employees to connect, to catch the latest company news and a place for people to say thank you in a public forum.
Miller shared that since corporate changes were implemented, the grievance trend has dropped even though they now have more employees. Also noted were the decrease in lost time rate, the OSHA rate and the voluntary turnover.
New Flyer had initiated the 5S process, originally from Japan in the 40s, it is a part of lean manufacturing: Sort, straighten, standardize, shine and sustain. It's about organizing your workflow so there is a place for everything and everything is in its place.
Mark Fisher, the Western Regional Sales Manager with New Flyer, said employees take to it in an amazing way. "They like the ease of finding things; it's contagious." He also said it gets tools away from employees that they don't need, so they don't need extra tools to "fix" things that instead they should be sending back so it also flushes out any quality issues.
With shadow boards highlighting the placement for tools in an area, taped off floors marking placement of everything on the shop floor, organization is taken to a new level. "Without 5S, waste is very difficult to see because the physical space is disorganized and distracting," Miller said.
The changes have saved the company millions of dollars and allowed them to stay in business five days a week and they have seen a labor efficiency increase of 7.5 percent.
An approach to a sustainable culture was presented by David Carlson, Parsons' VP- director of sustainable development. He said there were a lot of things already in their tool kit, they needed the ability to communicate more effectively and to better evaluate the effects and outcomes. "The public has gotten a lot more savvy," Carlson said. And with that, more demanding from what they want to see.
Sustainability was going to be a core value, along with the other core values, such as safety or integrity. They created working groups to focus on what that means and how they were going to implement this. And Carlson stressed, getting employee engagement in those committees creates ownership and increases the buy in.
Parsons created a sustainability handbook for employees, which focused on the triple bottom line: the creation or enhancement of environmental, economic and socio-cultural balance. Those goals are realized through client deliverables, business activities, employee actions and community engagement.