Schindler Elevator Puts Sustainability First
Corporations around the globe are integrating sustainability and “green” initiatives into their day-to-day operations. And, Schindler Elevator, a global manufacturer of elevators, escalators, and moving walks, is one of the good corporate citizens making sustainability a primary goal for its worldwide operations.
Schindler Elevator operates a fleet of more than 2,600 vehicles in North America, and out of that total, 500 are sedans used by its salespeople and managers.
One way the company is making its operations more sustainable is by replacing the 500 sedans in its fleet — 2009 and 2010 model-year Ford Fusion SE and SEL models —with Toyota’s Prius Two hybrid-electric sedans over the next three to four years. Green Fleet spoke with John Impellizzeri, vice president of supply chain for Schindler North America, about the switch to the Prius and the benefits the company expects to reap.
Although optimizing fleet efficiency is important to Schindler, the company’s main reason for choosing the Prius is to improve sustainability, according to Impellizzeri.
“The primary motivator was not total cost of ownership (TCO),” Impellizzeri said. “We acquire vehicles; we don’t lease them. While the acquisition cost of the Prius might be a bit higher, we’re making that up on fuel consumption and resale. Essentially, it was break-even from a TCO perspective. It was more about efficiency, safety, and sustainability.”
The company said the replacement cycle for vehicles in its sales fleet is based on age and mileage, specifically three years and 75,000 miles. By replacing the existing sedans in its sales fleet with the new Prius sedans, Schindler expects to reduce CO2 emissions by 42 percent.
“We’re looking at going from 191 to 111 grams per kilogram in CO2 emissions,” Impellizzeri said. “We view the fleet as another tool for us to optimize efficiency and safety on all fronts. Our fleet will continue to evolve as our needs change. Our goal is to provide our employees with the safest, greenest options possible to satisfy our customer requirements. [The fleet is] not the ‘tail wagging the dog.’ It’s just one of the tools in the toolbox.”
In addition to reduced CO2 emissions, Schindler looked at two other key factors when choosing a new sedan: fuel economy and safety.
“With published fuel-efficiency numbers of 50 mpg, [fuel economy] was absolutely part of our decision-making process,” Impellizzeri said. “But, again, we want to be as conscious of our carbon footprint as possible with these models, as well as their safety record. They will be equipped with dual seat-mounted side air bags. Safety trumps everything in our business. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our employees and our riding public on our elevators and escalators. At every management committee meeting, safety is on the agenda.”
Replacing the 500 sedans with hybrid-electric models is Schindler’s most recent fleet sustainability effort, but not its only one. Out of the 2,600 vehicles in its fleet, 1,000 are Ford Transit Connect vans, which the company brought in a few years ago to replace large trucks it was operating at the time. Doing so reduced that fleet segment’s emissions by 100 percent, according to Schindler.