Paving the Way

By Edward Sullivan, Editor  

Does this situation sound familiar? A manager works hard to reduce costs, and the department comes in well under budget. The manager’s reward? Less money in next year’s budget.

Although many facility executives have similar stories to tell, the manager in this case wasn’t responsible for facilities. Nor is the story recent: It appeared in a book published more than 20 years ago.

Having company in misery is small comfort to anyone who has justified an investment on the grounds that it will reduce costs, achieved those savings, and had their budgets trimmed. One way to ease the frustration is to think like a facility executive who pointed out to a group of peers that savings from facility initiatives belong to the organization, not the facility department.

Even so, the money saved can still benefit facilities. For example, the proposal justifying the investment can specify that savings stay in the facility department. If that isn’t possible, the savings can help win additional facility investments. Or they can show that the facility organization delivers what it promises.

The twentysomething-year-old book I mentioned was written by Phil Crosby, a consultant best known for coining the phrase “quality is free.” His point was that steps to improve product quality produced such enormous savings that better quality was in effect free. It was a marketing pitch for a business opportunity, a pitch based on years of successful quality improvement efforts.

The lesson for facility executives is that every success has at least one payback: bragging rights. And judicious bragging just may pave the way for other successes.

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  posted on 12/1/2005   Article Use Policy

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