The DEAL Program: Smart Sustainability + Smart Business = Solid Profits

When ISSA introduced the DEAL program as a pilot program in 2016, our goal was to help jansan distributors save as much as $15,000 in operating costs annually, which I said at the time was comparable to increasing sales by as much as $150,000.

Well, I was wrong. When we added up the savings, it appears our distributors saved closer to $20,000, which is close to $200,000 in increased sales. Because the majority of janitorial distributors in the country would be considered small businesses, the equivalent of $200,000 in increased sales is no small change.

But now the numbers are in for the first six months of 2017, and I am happy to report they are up once again. As of June, distributors participating in the DEAL program have now saved an average of $12,000 for the first six months of this year. This means they are on their way to saving more than $4,000 in operating costs by the end of this year. In six months they have been able to reduce costs by nearly as much as I expected these distributors to save in an entire year.

For those that do not know, DEAL stands for Distributor Efficiency Analytics & Learning. It is an online “portal,” designed to help warehouse distributors – jansan or otherwise – reduce operating costs and be more efficient. The program does this by helping distributors measure and monitor their fuel and resource usage.

This includes such things as fuel consumption for product deliveries; building energy consumption; water use, etc. The DEAL program also provides learning sessions for users, data gathering, and benchmarking services for participating distributors.

But it does much more. What it does is get people thinking about sustainability. That’s why the numbers are up for the first six months of this year. Participating distributors are finding new ways to reduce operating costs by becoming more sustainable, and it is opening the doors to new cost saving sustainability initiatives.

Some examples of how this is being accomplished are on the ISSA website. For instance, Nichols, a janitorial distributor based in Muskegon, MI, is headquartered in a LEED EBOM Gold Certified facility.   This is a significant accomplishment, and you might think the company would stop there, having attained Gold certification. But according to Renae Hesselink, Vice President of Sustainability at Nichols:

“Despite these significant achievements, we will never get comfortable and say, “we have done it all” because we can ALWAYS do better. The ISSA DEAL program pushes us to keep learning and to keep improving. For example, the DEAL Learning Session on modifying driver behavior to improve fuel efficiency helped me realize that changing our driver’s driving behaviors improves our driver’s safety while reducing fuel consumption and costs.”

These distributors are doing more than just finding ways to reduce operating costs. They are also making their companies more “risk adverse.” They are better able to adjust to changing economic conditions, shifting weather patterns that impact business, and rising energy, fuel, and water costs, etc.