the energy wiz: SLIP THIS UNDER The Boss's Door
DEAR BOSS:Remember how you said your "door is always open to new ideas"? Well, the guys in the facilities department came up with a few.
‘WAIT AND SEE' IS NOT A RISK MANAGEMENT STRATEGYThe purchasing department tells us you didn't sign the energy contract we sent up to your office last week. They said you wanted to "wait and see if prices would drop on their own." Remember how you had us spend a lot of money and time with an energy consultant to figure out the best time to lock in our energy pricing? Well, prices jumped last week, and the cost difference is now several times your annual salary.
We heard that you based your thinking on a statement by one of your stock-trader golfing partners that "the market is not responding to the fundamentals." Well, that may sound cool and corporate, but such statements never cut anybody's energy bills. The pricing in that proposal you ignored was well within the budget goals you gave us. Merely hoping for something better, without any basis, has instead ensured that the company's energy budget has been blown. Maybe you should start listening to the consultant instead of your buddies.
YOU MAY BE A BOSS IN THE COMPANY, BUT YOU'RE NOT BOSS OF THE WORLDWe also applied for a utility rate cut based on the new jobs generated by adding a night shift at the plant. That program was open on a first-come, first-served basis, so the paperwork had a tight deadline. But you told us you didn't like "to be rushed into a decision." Others moved quicker, and now the program is closed. While it's nice to savor an opportunity, maybe it's better just to seize it.
And last summer, when a similar opportunity arose, all you company bigshots went on vacation at the same time, leaving nobody around who could sign the deal. You've often told us "a dollar is a dollar," so why aren't good ideas that originate in the boiler room as worthy of attention as those coming out of the boardroom?
NOT RESPONDING IS NOT A POLICYDo you recall receiving a proposal from us for a lighting upgrade that would save $200,000 a year, and pay for itself in two years through reduced energy costs? At first, you wouldn't give us an answer one way or the other, despite several requests. Then you told us "further analysis" was needed. We did that - twice. At this point, we've analyzed the option to death. Ever hear of "analysis paralysis"? Some shrinks call it a "decision avoidance" tactic.
Here's a suggestion: calculate a week's worth of savings from our proposal. It turns out that about $4,000 is being lost every week we don't move ahead. Isn't your salary about $4,000 a week?
TRY REWARDING INITIATIVE INSTEAD OF STOMPING ON ITWhen Jeff came up with that great idea for saving on water we use in our process, you were never around to watch our test runs. As you apparently heard, it worked really well and the CEO loved it. But yelling at Jimmy in front of the other guys because you wanted to be the one to tell the CEO discourages them from taking any other initiatives. Maybe you should leave your ego at home where it can keep an eye on your golf clubs.
IT'S TIME TO START DESIGNING FOR THE FUTUREAny chance you could speak to the guys in the construction department about how they choose designs affecting the energy costs at our facility? They always seem to install the cheapest system instead of the one that costs least to run. Then they crow about "coming in under budget" without stopping to realize that all they did was shift higher operating costs into our facility's budget to run the junk they installed. Maybe you could ask them to learn-life cycle costing and give "value engineering" back to the "Department Of Cutting Off Our Nose To Spite Our Face."
Who knows? The salary you save may be your own.
Yours truly, The Guys Who Keep This Place Running