To Perfect Green Manufacturing, Get Your Hands DIRTT-y To Perfect Green Manufacturing, Get Your Hands DIRTT-y

To Perfect Green Manufacturing, Get Your Hands DIRTT-y

by Alex Goldmark

December 8, 2011

For many sustainable businesses, the gap between between startup status and success is measured in the tired conventional wisdom: ‘Green costs more.’ But what if lean manufacturing, rigorous and innovative staffing systems, and cutting-edge technology allow an environmentally sustainable products company to win on price, not just ethics?

"To show that the social aspect can work in harmony with the business, you have to look at our company,” Morgens Smed says of his six year-old Alberta-based company DIRTT Environmental Solutions, a GOOD Company Project finalist. “We've gone from zero to $116 million [in sales] and I hear there's been a recession." 

Now clients can see their floor plans visualized in 3D with proprietary DIRTT technology. In addition to the virtual walk-through, when a client selects a final plan and clicks "yes," the software instantly sends manufacturing instructions to the factory. That can cut production times by a week or more, and costs too.

In many ways, DIRTT is doing well because they behave like a tech company, both superficially—the pace of growth and Google-style restaurant lunchrooms—but also in evolving and improving products. Since founding, the company has never raised prices, even offering a decrease in freight costs with new regional production facilities in Savanah and Phoenix—which also lowers their carbon footprint. Price and quality, Smed insists, are why DIRTT is winning; eco-friendly is just part of the strategy.

“We’ve sold Google millions of dollars [worth of products],” Smed says. “Apple. We do all of LinkedIn’s work. One of our big accounts in New York is Morgan Stanley... they don’t care about the environment, you know damn well they don’t, but you know what? When they see it’s cheaper and better for their business, they’re going to buy it.”

Images courtesy of DIRTT

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To Perfect Green Manufacturing, Get Your Hands DIRTT-y