Seven Ways We’re Keeping Quality High and Prices Affordable

We may have been in business for more than 60 years, but the Saskatchewan Minerals team is always trying to find ways to be better at what we do. Sometimes we launch major initiatives, and sometimes we make small, daily efforts that add up.

Here are a few of the many things we’ve been doing to manage our operational costs, maintain a premium quality product and ensure competitive pricing to our customers.

1. No resource wasted. We capture and store all used oil, oil filters and antifreeze for recycling, and we segregate scrap metal and steel from other waste material. These materials get used on factory repairs or salvaged by a scrap dealer.

2. Insulation program. Our plant has several exposed surfaces that get hot during operations. Recently, we insulated all these surfaces. This simple effort has reduced the plant’s energy consumption, improved production and reduced costs — and it’s also made for a safer workplace.

3. No such thing as “waste” sodium sulphate. Instead of disposing of leftover material, we gather it as part of the railcar cleaning process and place it along the Chaplin reservoir banks. Why? It reduces erosion, and also allows the sodium sulphate to dissolve back to the lake system where it originated.

4. Clean plant effluent. We measure and test the waste products of our plant to ensure nothing harmful is returned to the lake system.

5. Minimal purge rates. To maintain a high-quality product, we have to purge the system of raw sodium sulphate from time to time. We constantly monitor purge rates because they vary from harvest to harvest and season to season. The lower the purge rate, the more raw material we have on hand to convert into premium product. Raw material costs make up 20% of total plant costs, so reducing unnecessary purging makes a huge difference to our bottom-end costs.

6. Finely tuned boilers. We’ve implemented a boiler-monitoring program to track the efficiency, chemical makeup and carbon dioxide levels of all our boilers. Efficiently operating boilers increase productivity while reducing costs and emissions.

7. Carpooling. We encourage the entire Saskatchewan Minerals team to share the commute. In this way, we save money, reduce energy consumption and have more fun.

Next month: Saskatchewan Minerals and the village of Chaplin have co-existed for more than six decades. How does today’s thriving community compare with Chaplin of the 1950s?