Business Achievement: Organizational Innovation

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EcoAnalysts, Inc. (Moscow, ID; www.ecoanalysts.com), a taxonomy service laboratory, for implementing a mentoring program that improved operating efficiency and turned around a recession-induced decline in project win rates. In 2009, EcoAnalysts' RFP win rate dropped from 65% to 10% as competitors slashed prices. In response, EcoAnalysts identified areas of opportunity to improve its efficiency and reduce costs. In its taxonomy lab, 20 laboratory technicians spend 35,000 hours annually sorting macroinvertebrates from benthic samples. Analysis of the sorting operation revealed a four-fold difference in sorting times between the company's fastest and slowest sorters. EcoAnalysts implemented a mentoring program and teamed its top five laboratory technicians with its seven slowest technicians for one month. During the introductory meeting, it was made clear why each person was selected for the program and what their individual performance expectations would be after mentoring. As a result, the difference from the fastest to the slowest technician declined from a factor of four to two, reducing overall sorting expenses by 30% and total sample analysis costs by 15%.

EcoAnalysts was also nominated by the EPA for its contribution to the U.S. EPA National Lakes Assessment survey processing 4,792 samples from over 900 water bodies across the country.

EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc. (Hunt Valley, MD; www.eaest.com) for achieving several objectives during the first full year of implementing its Corporate Sustainability Program. During 2009, EA invested significant time and resources incorporating sustainability concepts into its business operations and project-delivery systems. To implement this corporate-wide commitment, a core team of more than 60 employees has been actively involved in establish a sustainability framework encompassing all aspect of EA's operations and project activities. Significant results included the following: all offices use Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper with 90% post-consumable recycled content, which, along with other initiatives, has resulted in a 35% reduction in paper use at the corporate headquarters; EA has, as of December, recycled more than 2,000 pounds of electronic equipment, including cell phones and computers; the company has designed and constructed a remedial system that employs in situ and passive remediation technologies to treat contaminated media; EA has "greened" much of its fleet with the addition of hybrid vehicles; the firm purchased carbon credits with savings derived from sending an electronic holiday card; and through their volunteer efforts, EA employees have passed along this sustainability commitment to their communities.