Some examples of Bob’s areas of Turnaround/Restructuring expertise Includes:
Quickly identifying opportunities for incremental cost reduction in industry
Assisting companies with funding Turnaround or Restructuring
Designing processes to enable cost reduction through waste elimination
Empowering industry’s profit increase and revenue growth through disruptive innovation
Designing processes to enable cost reduction by reducing energy costs
Designing processes to increase revenues through product quality and value
Incorporating a total enterprise plan to help industries thrive.
Bringing to enterprises the highest level of creativity to enable dramatic financial Turnaround and/or Restructuring
Transitioning personnel into positive thinking employees
While working his way through college, Bob was a first line supervisor for Chevrolet Motor Division of GM. While working in the finishing department he experienced firsthand the materials waste that was part of cleaning, rust proofing, priming, and painting automotive sheet metal. GM was Bob’s introduction to replacing waste treatment with waste elimination which became Bob’s trademark approach to reducing costs while protecting the environment. It marked the beginning of a career of disruptive transformations that Bob spread throughout industry when he left GM upon graduating from college. While working as a frontline supervisor for Chevrolet, Bob submitted and had approved more than 30 Management Improvement Proposals (MIP’s) per year. This number of MIP’s exceeded those which were submitted and approved by all the other supervisors combined.
After Bob left Chevrolet, he joined a company that supplied chemicals, equipment, and consulting services to industrial plants. As a field engineer, he became an expert in managing water into plants, managing water used throughout plants, and managing the treatment of waste leaving industrial plants. In the early 1970’s the Clean Air, Clean Water and Clean Land Acts were enacted. When the EPA started to establish discharge limits on what pollutants could be emitted from industrial plants, most industries feared that if they complied with the rigorous discharge limits being imposed, they would go out of business due to the cost of compliance.
Bob instructed his industrial clients that the cost of EPA compliance could be made affordable if approached thoughtfully. He taught his clients that raw materials, intermediate process components and finished products leaving the back door of a plant at a cost rather than leaving the front door at a profit, is illogical. He advised that elimination of waste was less expensive than waste treatment in most situations.
In 1980 Bob started Performance Consultants, Inc. (PCI) in parallel with WaterScience, Inc. (WSI) to demonstrate to industry that waste elimination could be profitable as compared to waste treatment. In manufacturing enterprises, contaminants which impact product quality must be removed or the finished product will be defective and rejected as a salable product. Contaminate removal is costly unless the contaminates are converted into virgin materials that can be used in the manufacturing process or can be used in other processes as a raw material. Throughout the 1980’s PCI designed and started-up processes in more than 200 manufacturing plants to reduce operating costs and/or increase revenues to increase profitability.
August W. Hager III (Chairman of the Board) credits PCI with saving the company from closing through their creative and comprehensive turnaround expertise. PCI implemented a comprehensive process improvement campaign. Production was increased by 50% increasing revenues to $150 million/year and net profits to $38 million per year. Rejects were reduced from 26% to less than 1%. Salt Spray Corrosion Tests were improved from less than 24 hours to more than 100 hours. Overall finish quality was improved from fair to good/excellent. Production and maintenance overtime were reduced by $240,000 per year. Chemical and on-site waste treatment and off-site hazardous waste disposal were reduced by $1.2 million per year.
An example of a Turnaround enabled by the principles of waste elimination includes a large building hardware manufacturer in the southern U.S. In 1997, the manufacturer, with loss of $20 million on annual sales of $100 million, was facing bankruptcy after 150 years in business. The CEO hired Arthur Anderson Consulting to attempt to save the company. The Arthur Anderson Project Manager reached out to PCI, specialists in turning around distressed companies.
James Warren, Mgr. Cold Rolled Steel, confirmed that the continuously regenerating process provided superior steel pickling with no acid vapors emitted to atmosphere. He stated at an American Iron and Steel Institute conference that PCI and Bob essentially eliminated their cost of purchasing acid and hauling off-site the hazardous spent liquor. The mill makes more money selling the IOP than they do steel on a per pound basis.
In the late 1990’s Bob and PCI were called upon to address the expense and hazards involved with transporting Spent Pickle Liquor with a Hazardous Waste Designation of KO61 off a steel mill site. Acid is used to remove metal oxides from steel before it is finished. When the acid is consumed by dissolving metal oxides it is replaced with virgin acid. The spent acid is trucked off site and converted into ferric salts with a value of 5 cents a pound. Bob invented an electrolytic process which continuously removes the soluble metals and regenerates the salt anion into fresh acid. The metal salts are simultaneously regenerated into $1/pound value iron oxide pigments (See Figure 1).
Closing manufacturing loops into zero discharge configuration allows installation of disruptive innovations that otherwise would not be possible. The electrolytic process used to regenerate Spent Pickle Liquor can be converted into a process to produce hydrogen from water. The process uses 1/9th the electricity consumed by standard water electrolysis. Using renewable energy, the process can store hydrogen until it is used to generate electricity or for other multiple process uses.
Ron Elkana, a licensed Professional Engineer, has known and worked with PCI and Bob for over 20 years. He states Bob is one of the most creative and experienced process designers in North America. Ron has collaborated with PCI in various projects, supplying bulk tanks and other components required.
In 2014 the Executive Director of the largest Municipal Wastewater Treatment facility in Central Illinois, challenged Bob and PCI to eliminate pollution of drinking water and oceans with fertilizer losses from farmlands. * To meet the need to eliminate pollution from farmlands, Bob developed Smart ProCell, a class of fertilizers designed to stay in soil until needed by plants.
Stanton Browning, Exec Director, praises Bob and PCI, in accepting his challenge to stop pollution from farmlands and in the process do so in a manner designed to increase growers’ profitability. The farmland pollution abatement process also reduces pollution from various wastes which are disposed of on farmlands as a method of disposing of them. This includes animal manures and biosolids from municipal wastewater treatment, both very difficult problems to solve. Bob’s success in solving these complex problems demonstrates his ability and experience in developing and implementing disruptive innovations where and when needed.
Commercial demonstration of the Smart ProCell over Urea Ammonium Nitrate was an outstanding success. 49% less fertilizer as nitrogen equivalent was applied during the 2017 growing season on the experimental site and comparable yields obtained with the much higher nutrient rich control site. Run-off pollution from the experimental site was 80-90% lower than run-off pollution from the control site. The amount of fertilizer retained on the experimental site allowed half as much fertilizer to be applied for the 2018 growing season and still provide comparable yields.
*Drinking water and ocean contamination is a crisis which must be stopped. White Paper by R. J. Littmann.
Conclusions by Trent Barth, demonstration site farmer
Results of the demonstration have concluded for the following demonstration criteria on the effectiveness for Smart ProCell fertilizer from PCI:
1) Crop yield: effectively equivalent
2) Cost effectiveness: 50% savings in 2017, and the high nitrogen retention with Smart ProCell will require 50% less fertilizer in 2018.
3) Application rates: 49% less fertilizer, as N, applied with Smart ProCell
4) Run-off rates: Smart Pro produced 62.7% less nitrogen runoff
5) Nitrogen utilization efficiency: 100%+ for Smart ProCell vs traditional fertilizer at 3.8%.
6) Fewer fertilizer applications equal labor and equipment savings. (One less trip in 2017; two fewer trips in 2018) Each application equals $8.50 per acre.
Examples of some of Bob’s unique approaches to increasing enterprise profitability:
Eliminate waste through innovative regeneration of potential waste products
Increase production through-put
Make raw materials at lower cost than purchasing them
Make processing reagents at lower cost than purchasing them
Increase product quality and functionality
Increase markets for enterprise’s products
Reduce energy costs through unique waste energy recovery processes
Dramatically lower energy costs by modular on-site energy production and storage process.
Power Plant Efficiency Improvement
Refrigeration/Chiller Efficiency Improvement
Potential 85% reduction of evaporation costs
Make-up Water cost reduction
Bob is based in Peoria, IL, which is halfway between Chicago, IL, and St. Louis, MO.