With Spring fully in swing and more time being spent outdoors, you start to think about nature and the environment. With news organizations pumping out headlines about everything from Chinese coal usage to rising fuel prices, it’s very clear that many organizations, if not most of them, are concerned about environmental change, or more to the point, the financial impact of environmental change. So whether your concern is preventing the loss of bear habitats or preventing a bear market, here are some things to consider to give your next organizational decision a bit of a green hue.
Know the True Cost of Ownership
Many products’ true costs cannot be properly calculated until they are used up and disposed of. For example, a good portion of industrial solvents are a mixture of various chemicals mixed with a petroleum base and are classified as hazardous materials. They require specialized services to handle their disposal, adding to their total cost, and may also require specialized storage of the waste, which carries a cost as well. For a more common example, the fluorescent tubes suspended throughout virtually every office in the world, contain trace amounts of mercury and should be disposed of by specialists equipped to handle such.
By searching for alternative products that do not have such a harsh environmental impact and thus do not require special consideration or services at disposal , your organization can limit damage to the environment and their bottom line, even if there is a higher upfront cost.
Turn Stuff Off
We all remember the yellow, cheesy graphic’d “Be A Switch Hitter” stickers that were on every public school light switch in the ‘80s, but absent the poorly drawn baseball player, the message still rings true. While turning the lights off in your own office is a good start, it alone is not going to have an impact on your organization’s bottom line or the environment’s health. Employ that practice on a larger scale, however, and the results are easier to discern.
How much diesel fuel and fumes are wasted if your shipyard is idling trucks on down days? Is your production floor running machines that should be offline? Is the warehouse blasting the heaters with the garage bays open? Asking questions like these, shoring up inefficiencies, and turning things off can help the environment and your business’s bottom line, and might even save your maintenance budget as well.
If It Ain’t Broke…
Instead of junking the discolored and dated cubicles and filing cabinets in favor of shiny new ones, your organization may find savings (and environmental friendliness) in rehabbing the existing fixtures. There are service companies that exist now solely to clean and resurface old cubicles, and who can electrostatically plate old filing cabinets to look brand new.
Even in terms of your office electronics, it may not be necessary to always upgrade. Part of Source One’s telecom service offering is an equipment audit. Our in-house experts are able to analyze an organization’s existing equipment, see what is superfluous, what is outdated, and what can be reused in an existing system as they look for ways to improve an organization’s telecommunications infrastructure while cutting costs. Equipment kept in use and away from a landfill is going to boost both an organization’s bottom line and the environment.
These tips are only a starting point to boosting a company’s green image, a process that can be continued through thinking outside the box and in the recycling bin.
In this continuing series, Jennifer shares her experiences in the trenches of executing strategic sourcing projects, to give you practical insights into best practices.
As the weather turns warm again we look to our dried up, brown lawns and ponder: Is there a better way? Just as you would at your home, you can hire a professional landscaper to work their magic making the office’s grass a little greener and the flowers that much brighter, and you don’t have to pay top dollar. Like other administrative costs, facilities management costs should be reviewed carefully to ensure you are getting the most value for your budget. This article will provide a few tips on what to consider when sourcing a landscape supplier at the office this spring.
The first and most important step in sourcing your landscaping services is to perform a needs assessment. What services are you currently sourcing today or in need of? Developing an ideal scope of work is important before soliciting proposals from potential suppliers. Include year round services such as fertilization, winter services such as snow removal and salt distribution, leaf removal, and so on. Leveraging the services throughout the seasons will be important to partnering with the right provider.
Your final scope of work should include, but not be limited to, the following:
Other considerations include periods of time that services can be performed within; what pesticides and chemicals can and cannot be used; and the establishment of expected service levels and penalties for non-performance, if desired. In order to ensure performance levels are met, a clear channel of communication should be outlined including a chain of command for reporting issues and work requests. If there are multiple facilities or locations, the scope of work and service level expectations should be standardized as much as possible. Besides the scope of work, an estimated budget for the services should be established. Determine what you are paying today for services and what you would like to pay including any reductions where possible.
Selecting potential suppliers is the next step once all scope of work information has been agreed upon. Some factors to consider when selecting potential suppliers may include:
All of this information can be collected through conversations and reference checks or through a formal Request for Proposal process.
When evaluating the supply base try to include different types of suppliers from local suppliers to larger facilities management companies. Also, take into consideration whether or not a broader facilities management program might be a possibility as part of this process or in the future. You may be able to leverage additional services such as janitorial or security to reduce the total program cost.
After vetting the supply base and selecting a few potential suppliers, you can solicit quotes by providing them with the scope of work and arranging site visits. Site visits are essential in most facilities management projects to ensure that suppliers quote as accurately as possible. They are able to assess the current state of the property, perform any measurement verifications needed, as well as ask any questions to clarify the scope of work.
Once finalists have been selected based on their overall fit and pricing proposals, costs should be refined with each bidder to ensure that their quotes are competitive. Compare them with contracts currently in place to ensure that you are receiving the same or better service. Final selection should be made on your comfort with their ability to provide the scope of work at the level of quality you anticipate within the budget you have set forth. When sourcing any category of spend you should select suppliers that you can build a relationship with that will provide value year after year.
For additional information or help sourcing your landscaping services, feel free to contact Source One.
by Nick Haneiko, Project Manager
Every year, St. Patrick’s Day is a time where people claim a questionable Irish heritage, find a bar that is open frighteningly early in the morning, and spend the day there bingeing on headache-inducing crap beer and whiskey. In Philadelphia, where I live, that’s your ordinary Tuesday. Despite this fact, or maybe because of it, every year my friends and I spend St. Paddy’s stuck in a boring, crowded bar drinking inflated-priced green beers while watching some college kid try and eat corned beef through his Kelly green spandex body suit or an actual girl name Kelly go green on her friend’s coat. We wanted this year to be different. This year required something different. This year, I called upon my training as a strategic sourcing expert and I strategically sourced the best St. Patrick’s Day ever. I had to — all of my friends depended on me.
Like any project in the office, this one started out by determining the parameters of what was required to ensure a great success. Given its intent, I developed a Statement of (Non)Work around it. We weren’t looking for a big crowd, though our definition of “big” was subjective given that it was St. Patrick’s Day. We wanted to hit bars in an area where most of the crowd would have similar interests to us (read: not annoying college kids with near-flammable BACs). We therefore eliminated bar crawls in the Manayunk neighborhood (this area may also be compared to Chicago’s Wrigleyville and any college town’s “strip”). We also knew we wanted places with some authentic Irish beers and at least a few big-named Irish whiskeys with some smaller brands hopefully in the mix. We also knew that, in order to properly enjoy the fruits of my labor across a span of eight hours or more, we would need to fuel up with food. Finally, we wanted to pay as little as possible, and if a t-shirt was thrown in, that wouldn’t be the worst thing.
With the scope of (non)work set, I began the in-depth market research. While most of our sourcing initiatives in the office get researched through our own robust databases and sources like WhyAbe.com, for this I used a specially tailored bar hunting resource called DrinkNation.com. Their Philadelphia page had listed all the area St. Paddy’s drink specials and crawls that would be available on the 17th, linked to their respective sites, and mapped them out. Suddenly, I had a wealth of data to analyze and spreadsheet.
In order to conduct an accurate comparison we also needed to develop a scorecard with weighted criteria as to how important each of the requirements were to us. For example, the beer selection was given more weight in the comparison than the tee and thus had more impact on the results of the comparison.
Based on our initial market research, we identified six potential organized competing bar crawls which included many of our requirements. We were able to quickly eliminate two of the crawls due to the anticipated negative crowd discussed above. The remaining four crawls met all of our criteria and scored over an 80% in our scorecard. Below highlights the main advantages and disadvantages for each of the selected finalists.
These all had promising notes – save for the mental imagery that comes with “Chocolate Leprechaun”. I weighted the results heavily on estimated total cost, quality of crowds, and ease of travel, with medium weight given to whiskey selections and freebies. After reviewing the scorecard with the team and getting their overall feedback, the choice was made.
On a wet and windy Sunday morning, my friends and I headed for Crawl C and paid our $35 service charge (which was more than we wanted to pay but agreed the overall value was worth it). We ably downed our free pints and converted their all-you-can-eat pancake policy into all-they-said-we-could-eat. As morning turned into afternoon, we continued on from bar to bar, thoroughly enjoying a great selection of delicious beers and whiskey. The festivities continued on as did the continuously emptying of glasses. Some of the members of our group (aka stakeholders/end users) began getting tired and were ready to start making our way back to HQ but we weren’t ready to give in just yet. Due to the extensive market research that was done, we knew there were multiple options. Because we knew there was no cover and it was on the way home, we decided to jump into Crawl B. Consider it a happy version of “project scope creep”. The crawl wasn’t ideal in regards to drink selection, but we had been drinking all day and at that point didn’t need anything fancy. With it being cheap and close locations, we all agreed and rallied on.
By the time we made it back to the house safely, everyone had their fill. We all had a great time and the group thought it was the best St. Patrick’s Day they had had in a very long time. Despite the adjustments to the “contracted” plan, everyone agreed it was a great success.
Just like the strategic sourcing initiatives Source One successfully conducts, things are not always clear cut and you need to be flexible and have the ability to meet all of the stakeholders changing needs.
Next St. Patrick’s Day? We may need to take a year off.
by Alexa Guidone, Marketing Project Analyst
As winter comes to an end and thoughts turn to spring, it means the end of short days, cold weather, and all the excuses to call out from work that those two conditions allow. But as winter departs so do the last big retail holidays until the fall — St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. So as we sleep off the last bit of that St. Paddy’s hangover and move from dying beer to dying eggs, let’s look at some of the numbers associated with these holidays.
Whether they are Irish or not, enough people celebrate St. Paddy’s in America that it has become a billion dollar industry — $4.14 billion to be exact. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average person will spend about $35.27 on St. Patrick’s items, ranging from green attire, home & office decorations, and the ever-present food and drinks. The largest two food and drinks on that list? Corned beef and cabbage and a proper pint of Guinness.
The U.S. beef industry puts out more than 26 billion pounds of beef a year, mostly from Texas. While no stats are available on just how much corned beef is produced in the U.S. or consumed on St. Patrick’s Day, it is safe to say it is more than was ever consumed by St. Patrick. That is because beef has been a historically rare food in the British Isles and was typically reserved for royalty. The Irish common folk’s staple was salt pork and cabbage, at least until they immigrated to the U.S. and found that beef was not expensive and that their local Jewish delis’ corned beef was pretty close to salted pork. Thus, the “Irish” dish of corned beef & cabbage is just as American as apple pie or hot dogs.
Guinness, however, is a custom actually rooted in Ireland. Every Guinness sold in the U.S. is brewed in Ireland, though the company has begun brewing elsewhere, notably in Africa and Indonesia as their worldwide appeal grows. The official line is that 5.5 million pints of Guinness consumed daily worldwide but that on St. Paddy’s Day that number nearly triples up to 13 million pints. That has to be some sort of beer-consumption record and probably should be tracked in some sort of record-keeping digest should someone or some company ever choose to create one. Ahem.
The last blip on your holiday radar, at least for a while, is Easter. Looking back to the NRF, their estimation of American spending for the day dedicated to bunnies & eggs was $16.8 billion last year meaning the average American spent close to $150 on candy, clothes, decorations and food; just about an 11% increase from 2011.
One Easter staple that we spend millions on, whether in bunny or chick form, is Peeps. The sugar-coated marshmallow’mals are all made in one big factory in Bethlehem, PA from a short list of ingredients including corn syrup (in its syrup form as well as in manufactured marshmallow), gelatin, sugar, and carnauba wax. If that last ingredient sounds familiar, that is probably because it is also the primary ingredient in car wax. This eyebrow-raising (but assuredly edible and non-toxic) ingredient is sourced from one country – Brazil – to the tune of 22,500 tons of it annually, a full quarter of which is destined for the U.S. to be used on cars, surfboards, and candy.
Alongside sugar-smothered animals, what would any holiday be without some kind representational flora? Like roses are to Valentine’s Day, Bermuda Lilies are to Easter. Originally brought to the US in 1919 from their native Ryukyu Island in Japan (fooled you there) 95% of the worlds “Easter Lillies“ are now cultivated by only ten growers located primarily along the California-Oregon border. Every year, in a sales window that spans about two week, this region produces and ships roughly 12 million bulbs to greenhouses in the US and Canada, that translates to about $1.2 Billion in flower sales for this holiday. Due to their popularity during the Easter season, Bermuda Lilies have become the fourth largest crop in whole sale value in the U.S. According to the USDA demand has increased so much so that the Pacific Bulb Growers Association now maintain their own research station used to help solve production problems.
As we welcome spring with the last major holiday, it’s time for a fact that corresponds to both holiday traditions: while Guinness no longer sanctions dangerous or gluttonous world records, famed eater Kobayashi set an official record by eating 25 peeps in 30 seconds last year. That’s a pretty serious game of “Chubby Bunny”.
To follow up on last month’s article announcing the death of “The Cloud” as a term to describe the relatively recent barrage of products and services with some element of remote storage, this month’s article will take a look at some of the more popular services billed as residing in “The Cloud” and break down what they actually do.
How it’s billed: Computer backups in the cloud
Noteworthy tagline: Carbonite keeps what’s important safe in the cloud
What it does: Carbonite is an offsite backup service, with several offerings targeted both to consumers and organizations. Depending on the subscribed service level, a program installed either on a personal computer or a network server will identify files of a certain type and back them up periodically to a remote hosted server until your subscribed file limit is reached.
What it really is: Carbonite is largely a remote hosting service, as customers lease/subscribe to a specified amount of server space for file storage. Specific tasks, like the automated backup, are performed via a program residing on the customer’s equipment.
How it’s billed: A cloud-based expense reporting program
Noteworthy tagline: Submit your expense report online or from your mobile – anytime from anywhere
What it does: Concur is a travel and expense management service, letting your organization’s employees track their travel and expenses through a website or a mobile app, and allowing your organization’s finance department keep track of expenses and monitor for fraud.
What it really is: With nothing required to be installed on the client’s machine or network (the mobile app is not required, or necessary) and everything hosted remotely by Concur and accessed via a login and password at Concur.com, this is a classic example of Software as a Service, or SaaS.
Google Drive (formerly Google Docs)
How it’s billed: Web-based office productivity software and storage
Noteworthy tagline: Wherever you are, your stuff is just… there.
What it does: Google Drive combines the rudimentary word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation offerings of Google Docs with separately accessible online file storage, all tied to a free email address.
What is really is: Google Drive is a true hybrid, with file storage services rooted in remote hosting and the Doc applications rooted in SaaS.
Microsoft SkyDrive and Office 365
How it’s billed: Web-based office productivity software and storage
Noteworthy tagline: 7GB of free cloud storage that’s accessible from anywhere (SkyDrive), Your complete office in the cloud (Office 365)
What it does: SkyDrive is Microsoft’s online file storage answer to Google Drive, and SkyDrive Apps are its answer to Google Docs. Office 365 is a new method of licensing Microsoft Office software that includes a larger online file storage capacity. SkyDrive, and SkyDrive apps, are a storage solution first and a software solution second as the Apps are mid-grade versions of their namesakes. Office 365 is a software solution first and foremost, as the apps are full-featured that still offer the ability to save a file offline.
What it really is: SkyDrive and SkyDrive Apps not surprisingly follow Google’s lead, with the Apps rooted in SaaS and the file storage using remote hosting ideas. Office 365 is a more robust SaaS offering, with file storage available in either remote hosted SkyDrive or on local physical media.
In summary, the next time you hear someone bragging that their product or service is in “The Cloud”, know these two things: 1) a 2012 study conducted by Citrix showed that 29% of people interviewed thought “The Cloud” involved actual, in-the-sky-and-making-rain clouds and 51% thought stormy weather would interfere with “cloud computing. 2) You are one of the apparently rare people who know that everything on the Internet is in “The Cloud”.