Intermountain Healthcare (IHC) Case Study

Businesses, such as Intermountain Healthcare (IHC), who use raw materials, energy, water, and other natural resources more efficiently are realizing significant money savings and reduced regulatory obligations. DEQ’s BizHelp program can show you how. Resources available include case studies, fact sheets, and on-site visits.

Located at 7302 S. Bingham Junction Blvd. in Midvale, IHC’s new Supply Chain Center (SCC), a 327,000-square-foot medical distribution center and warehouse, will not only deliver medical supplies to its many facilities, but also deliver energy and waste reductions by practicing the three R’s—reduce, reuse, recycle.

The facility will supply everything from suture kits to laptop computers as part of its $1.3 billion it spends a year on supplies.

“No one buys as much stuff as us,” said Brent Johnson, IHC’s vice president of Supply Chain Organization.

Background

IHC is a non-profit system of 23 hospitals, 160 clinics and home care operations, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, serving patients in Utah and southeastern Idaho.

Environmental Goals

IHC goals:

  • Reduce the amount of waste produced
  • Reduce energy used through efficiency initiatives
  • Reduce transportation footprint
  • Recycle as many products as possible that can’t be reused

Environmental Benefits

Before the SCC was built, IHC operated a largely decentralized system, where the majority of IHC’s 15,000 vendors made deliveries to individual facilities. Instead of practicing “just-in-time” inventory strategies, which means receiving products only as they are needed, IHC facilities were forced to order larger quantities and provide their own storage space. The decentralized
system complicated efforts to convert to reusable shipping containers.

The new SCC gave IHC an opportunity to implement the first of the three “R’s” of the Environment: Reduce the amount of waste produced. IHC is reducing its packaging waste by buying in bulk using a centralized ordering system and working with manufacturers to limit packaging materials as much as possible. Energy use is being reduced through efficiency initiatives, such as using natural light to light inner space, LED lighting for all exterior lighting, and ceiling circulation fans in the warehouse. Centralized courier and heavy fleet operations result in better utilization of transportation resources, resulting in a reduction of IHC’s transportation footprint.

IHC also practices the second of the three “R’s” of the Environment: Instead of throwing things away, try to find ways to reuse them. IHC uses reusable pallets, crates, and totes to delivery
products within the closed loop healthcare system. Reusable containers also helps IHC use trailer space more efficiency, due to uniform container sizes and nesting capability.

Lastly, IHC is implementing the last of the three “R’s” of the Environment: Recycle any products that can’t be reused and then buy products made from recycled material. IHC has initiated a comprehensive recycling system for all waste with an overall goal of reducing 20 percent or more of their solid waste stream.

IHC’s commitment to reducing its overall environmental footprint is exemplified by its pursuit of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for the SCC, meaning that it was designed and built to achieve high performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

Questions?

Eleanor Divver, Business Assistance Coordinator: (801) 536-0091