Christmas in July (Part 12)
The Christmas in July initiative was already showing promise for a very good return on invested time and energy. The owner of S and Company had done a masterful job of not only including everyone but also engaging their participation and ownership of the objectives. Reward systems had been set up that would leverage dollars brought in. New ideas for making money and saving money had been implemented.
Being an entrepreneur, he knew that using money proactively brought greater opportunities. The time was ripe with the momentum that had been created to put some ideas into action that would use money effectively. While there were many opportunities, he selected one that was politically, socially, culturally and most important economically advantageous. He knew that the popular environmental movement would work on his behalf.
The idea came as he saw a number of posts on Facebook regarding the impact of plastic water bottles in landfills. The posts talked about the cost and challenges to produce, package, store, refrigerate and dispose of use and toss bottles. A little research brought up many sites with facts, costs and impact of bottled water. What had been a convenience now was turning into consciousness.
He asked the accounting department to pull information related to the cost of supplying bottled water in his company with calculations as to the approximate cost per bottle with everything from procurement to disposal calculated. He was surprised to find that even though the price per bottle ranged from .30 to .50 depending on whether they bought custom labeled or not, the total costs were closer to a dollar per bottle. The number of bottles that were being used, consumed and disposed of in his company alone represented staggering cost and impact numbers. It was a line item that had basically been hidden as a part of “kitchen supplies”. The number had taken a big jump each year for the past few years but no one had broken out the costs.
He began researching what it would cost to have nice customized, reusable water bottles in sport and other formats and found costs ranging from .50 to $5.00 in quantity. There were even ones in which an individual’s name could be individually applied. It would not take very long before the cost spent was fully recaptured as long as there were viable sources for refilling the bottles.
Most of the larger locations had water fountains permanently installed. There were refrigerators (many with water in the door) in the smaller locations, access to water fountains in the mall kiosk locations and a number of water coolers installed. Access and refrigeration should not be the problem.
Working with the marketing team on the design for the bottles, an order was placed so that there would be at least one bottle per person and two for the staff who were always in the office. The bottles ordered were designed to have a name written in permanent ink to identify and personalize the bottles and were dishwasher safe. Additional bottles were ordered to be sold through the company store as replacements or used for marketing purposes. Even if sold at cost, there would be a positive net gain at the end of the year. For a reasonable additional cost, sales people could have a quantity of the bottles further customized with their name in addition to the company name and logo.
The next manager’s meeting was just around the corner and the owner decided that it was a perfect opportunity to launch the campaign and begin distribution of the bottles. It would be an internal and external promotion leveraging the green aspects, social responsibility and letting those in the company know that this was another way that the company was also looking for ways to achieve the goals that had been set.
It was a good use of money. The only bottled water that would be bought in the company would now be for the water coolers where there was not another bottled water source and those would be bottles that were refilled and delivered. No more storage, no more bottle refrigeration, no more picking up bottles left around and there would be a lot less sent to recycling. It was company, budget and environmentally friendly. An investment of less than 8% of the annual cost would reduce the overall cost nearly 72% of what it had been in the previous year.