| Sep 13, 2022

A Truly Holistic Approach to Help Your Customers with Savings & Sustainability

Grocers with an eye for cost savings already have the tools they need. By integrating data from a variety of their operations, executives can increase KPIs, improve CSR, and build sustainability — all while delivering serious savings to their customers.
By Paul Smith |

4 minutes

It’s a tough time to be a grocer. In a time of high inflation in which customers are trimming the fat and cutting down on unnecessary purchases, grocers — with margins that have always been razor-thin — will need to cut costs, as well.

Additionally, grocers need to prepare for 2030 — the year by which the U.S. has pledged greenhouse gas pollution will be reduced by 50%. Responding to this pledge accordingly will cost grocers money to get the sustainability updates they need. But in the long run, this will save grocers a lot of money. So, C-suite executives in this industry are under a lot of pressure — to cut costs as a result of inflation and to spend more on sustainability efforts to drive future savings. Executives who are able to look at the current climate as an opportunity will be able to maximize their savings, build their sustainability, embrace corporate social responsibility (CSR) and boost their key performance indicators (KPIs).

This might sound like pie-in-the-sky thinking, but it won’t take a miracle. These huge wins can be had through the prudent use of data to guide decision-making. The companies that will come out on top are those that can gather data from all their operations and synthesize insights to help optimize, while developing a holistic approach across those operations to deliver serious savings. It will come through the heightened control they have over their entire business.

The Importance of Control and Outsourced Expert Self-Delivery

Outsourced expert self-delivery can give a business the control it needs to be proactive (instead of reactive), and to drive KPIs using data and insights that otherwise wouldn’t be available when other important processes are outsourced. Outsourcing critical services, like facilities management (FM), can deliver savings, but it may often come with a cost, particularly the loss of key data and metrics to help drive sustainability.

On the other hand, an integrated FM approach ensures key data from energy management systems (EMS), temperature control or other facility metrics are captured and used to improve sustainability and drive savings. By bringing on a team that manages all aspects of FM, including engineering, remodeling and energy, it’s much easier for businesses to be assured that they’re getting the most out of every dollar.

Instead of piece-mealing outsourcing efforts, leaders need to examine services more akin to integrated FM. Outsourcing FM to one company that handles everything internally from HVAC to food prep not only ensures self-delivery; it gives executives access to real-time data. When this data is correlated expertly, it can provide hither-to-unseen opportunities for cost savings. Integrated data from all operations delivers unprecedented control to executives looking to achieve multiple business objectives. This process isn’t automatic, though. Often, the c-suite might be wary of trusting so many integral business processes to one vendor. It takes transparency and a proven track-record of excellence to build trust. Then, the impacts on savings and sustainability can be truly incredible.

Asset and Engineering Services

Of course, we don’t need to wait until the store is built to take a holistic approach. If executives can access quality data during asset engineering and planning, they can create a solution that’s designed for customer value from the ground up. Instead of bringing in vendors after a store or warehouse has been built or remodeled already, leaders should bring in essential specialty services from the beginning of a project.

The earlier we think about customer value in the design process, the more likely our final product will deliver that value. Luckily, most companies have a plethora of internal data they can use to better understand how their company operates and what their customers need.

Energy Management

Another opportunity for executives to pull in data and improve outcomes is in energy management. There are many tangible benefits when leaders can improve this critical area of their business. First, it helps them meet CSR goals; by getting a handle on their energy consumption and usage, leaders can identify areas for improvement, particularly in sustainability.

With the ambitious goals for carbon reduction set by the U.S. and other countries around the world, businesses can’t afford for energy management to be an afterthought. They also can’t afford to miss out on opportunities to manage their own energy consumption better. With fragmented data sets, it’s easy for executives to miss key insights that could lead to big savings in energy consumption. By integrating their data better, opportunities that were obscured previously can be more illuminated. Beyond reducing energy usage, this reduces costs and can deliver big savings to customers.

Fragmented data isn’t a reason to avoid tackling the energy management challenge. Modern tools like artificial intelligence (AI) make it easier to take data from multiple sources and derive critical opportunities for savings and growth. Looking at your energy management can benefit businesses far beyond environmental compliance; it can help create significant opportunities to save and pass those savings on to the customer. Using the data provided by energy analytics platforms can help deliver better energy utilization, reduce waste and improve KPIs — all of which make a company more sustainable and create savings for the customer.

A Holistic Way to Improve Business

Integrating multiple disciplines within your business is more important than ever. We’re well beyond the point of approaching FM in a piecemeal fashion; modern tools provide the means to take vastly different data sets from engineering services, self-delivery, asset management and energy management, and tie them together to identify areas for improvement. Fragmented data has been the rule of the land for a long time, but connecting available data can unlock new opportunities for savings and ultimately, deliver value to the customer. Additionally, this holistic approach is a lot more feasible with the right team of people who can pull this data together to synthesize it and make recommendations to optimize performance and make processes more efficient.

With effectively analyzed data and an interdisciplinary approach, c-suites don’t need to look at CSR as yet another block to check. Instead, they can build a socially responsible business from the start and create a sustainable atmosphere for operations. It’s time we stop seeing these as competing objectives but rather see them as synergistic ingredients to a winning formula.

Paul Smith
Executive Author

CEO, City FM

Paul is the CEO of City Facilities Management – an end-to-end facility management company. view profile


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