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October 29, 2012 -
Today's tip is to thoroughly prepare your pitch for new equipment to senior management. In most cases, the keys to success are simple: Compile a lot of information to support your case, take advantage of technology, get creative, and draw on your track record of past successes.
Bert Gumeringer, director of facilities at Texas Children's Hospital, is focusing on managing information. The hospital is working on a platform that will present all equipment information in one place, giving Gumeringer and his team the ability to tell what's going on in the entire organization at a glance.
Having accessible data is key to taking full advantage of what technology can offer, says Craig Cherry, operations manager, State of Oklahoma, DCS/Facilities Management Division. Cherry's team has recently replaced a number of chillers, and the new ones can interface with the building automation system. By doing so, they provide in-depth information that helps inform decisions on how the systems should be run.
Extra information from new systems helps make the case for a capital investment or budget flexibility. In addition to that, it can save time and money when a piece of technology can report its data as opposed to someone having to go record it.
However, technology has to be used correctly to see a benefit. And no facility manager wants to be the one to have to explain why the fancy new technology isn't living up to expectations.
Being flexible and creative can help to justify a new project or get more bang for your buck. Kevin Folsom, director of facilities and plant operations, Dallas Theological Seminary, establishes a maximum price for the energy procurement budget but also sets a minimum price that he expects to pay, using historical data and insight from his providers to get within 5 percent. Anything extra goes into the surplus fund, which can be used for projects such as lighting retrofits.
No matter how creative you are, the financial gatekeepers will be more impressed by a track record than a clever idea, Folsom says, citing his energy budgeting success.
Cherry has found that suppliers and vendors are willing to go the extra mile to help with training, information and insights on how to set up and operate equipment. That way, they can then show other potential customers that a state entity is meeting or beating the energy efficiency expectations in the sales pitches.