If we were to assemble a few dozen facility maintenance professionals in a room and ask those who expect larger operating budgets for 2017 to raise their hands, chances are pretty good we’d see few, if any, hands in the air.
If we then asked those same facility managers who among them will be tasked with slashing their facility management budgets for 2017 by five to 10 percent and still provide the same levels of service, we’d probably see lots of those hands being raised.
At CLS Facility Services, we understand the challenges that you face. Day in and day out, year after year, facility managers must continually find ways to cut costs.
We want to help, and that starts with providing useful information. In our two-part “mini-series” on strategies to cut your facility maintenance budget for 2017, we’re offering insights on cutting costs in several ways.
In Part I, we discussed cost-cutting strategies as they relate do day-to-day services. In this Part II installment, we’ll talk through some project cost-cutting strategies, as well as strategies to achieve energy savings.
We believe there are two keys to cutting project costs in 2017 – whether they’re for HVAC, lighting and electrical or signage maintenance. Those keys are planning, and cost estimating. Let’s look at planning first.
Fall is a perfect time to begin planning projects throughout your portfolio of stores. From planned repairs to retrofits and more, you’ll certainly have to implement many projects throughout 2017. You should begin preparing now.
Take lighting retrofit projects, for example. Many rebate programs roll out January 1 of each year, so waiting until after the New Year to begin your process could potentially mitigate any cost savings realized through those rebates. If you wait to assess your needs, then initiate asset surveys, analyze data, distill recommendations and seek approvals, you’ll probably be well into May before you’re ready to pull the trigger. If a rebate program kicks off full steam on January 1, you may well have missed out. We see this happen fairly often.
As you read this, forward-thinking facility managers are already looking ahead to their potential projects, so when the New Year hits, they are prepared to immediately implement the decisions that they and their company’s management have made.
Next, let’s consider cost estimating. One of the biggest budget drains we see for companies of all sizes and scopes occurs when project estimates and actual project work don’t align.
Have you ever received a half-page quote with two line items and the price? If so, were you able to understand from that document what you were really getting?
Simple isn’t always better—especially when it comes to project estimates. In the bare-bones estimate above, who’s to say that labor costs are all inclusive? How much time is estimated to get the job done right? What parts are required? When will work occur?
The questions go on, but the point is the same: When it comes to reducing facility management costs, it’s essential to demand thorough quotes which outline the project scope in complete detail. Otherwise, you’re leaving too much to chance—and chances are, you’ll pay for it.
Energy-Saving Initiatives Can Cut Facility Costs Dramatically
It’s always a good time to consider energy-saving initiatives throughout your portfolio. Saving energy can reduce operating costs dramatically, and also offers other important benefits.
If you haven’t considered an LED retrofit project, we think you should. A lighting retrofit is a superb opportunity for your business to reap thousands of dollars in energy and maintenance savings, while also realizing the benefits that more well-lit stores and facilities provide (see below). Now more than ever, you would be wise to take advantage of energy-efficient technologies, utility rebates, and the many benefits that LEDs retrofits can offer.
So Just What Are Those Benefits of LED Retrofits?
- Energy savings: With advancements in technologies, today’s LED retrofits can create energy savings ranging anywhere from 40% to 90%, depending upon the type of project.
- Maintenance cost savings: LEDs and other modern technologies are fostering significant maintenance savings due to the extended life or “burn hours” of the new lighting. Many LED technologies exhibit a rated life ranging from 50,000-100,000 hours, more than three times the life of the old T-12 and HID technologies of the past.
- Improved aesthetics: Today’s latest-generation lighting technology delivers a better color rendering mix, better uniformity and spread of light, and better lumen maintenance (i.e., light levels will hold at higher levels for longer periods of time).
- Better security and employee safety when areas, both interior and exterior, are optimally lit with better lighting technology.
- Environmental sensitivity: Unlike Metal Halide, High Pressure Sodium, and T-12 lighting, modern LED lighting technologies eliminate mercury from facilities, creating a safer environment and “go green” image for businesses.
- Tenant satisfaction, health and efficiency: Some building owners and managers have implemented lighting retrofits in order to capitalize on rebates. Others have implemented them for energy savings, security and other reasons. Yet we at CLS help clients implement lighting retrofits every day, and one of the greatest benefits we see is tenants’ reaction once it’s completed. We’ve literally had tenants thank us personally on site for implementing the retrofit – they tell us their building looks so much better both inside and out, and it’s just a more pleasant and safe environment in which to work. Tenants want to be in spaces that are well-lit, pleasant and healthy. Studies now underway are attempting to measure potential correlations between lighting and physical and emotional well-being. We believe those correlations are real, and will show up in the data to underscore the significant benefit of lighting retrofits on employee health and productivity.
If you’re not yet ready to implement an LED retrofit project of any size, there are small steps to take to reduce energy consumption at your facility and keep costs in check. For example, installing occupancy sensors in and around your facility can slash usage costs. These sensors turn lights on and off, depending on occupancy.
Additionally, energy management systems (EMS) are increasingly being used to control energy costs—and remote operation also makes them incredibly convenient. Look for in-depth information on EMS in upcoming CLS blogs.
As we mentioned in Part I of this cost-saving mini-series, we think budgetary savings can best be realized by partnering with a single facility management company to service all your locations. Doing so will help to ensure that the scope of work being performed – whether it’s PM, repairs or replacements – is thorough and based on a single system and operating philosophy. It also ensures that you’re benefitting from the expertise of a company that stays on the leading-edge of technology and innovation within the facility management arena.
We hope you found this mini-series on cost-saving strategies helpful. If you are looking for a facility management company, learn more about CLS Facility Services by contacting us at 800-548-3542 or by filling out our contact form.