Landscape Service Departments at Michigan State University Streamline Operations

By Dave Lubach, Associate Editor  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Michigan State Grounds Management Groups Find Benefits from SharingPt. 2: This PagePt. 3: Landscape Management Team Tracks Users' Needs at UniversityPt. 4: Sharing Resources Results in Money-Saving Measures for Michigan StatePt. 5: East Lansing, Michigan State Merge Some Grounds Operations to Save Money

In 2009, the university needed a different area to store topsoil and mulch for projects around campus because of other developments taking place on the 5,200-acre campus. The Beaumont Depot planning team included the past landscape services manager, physical plant vice president, and other architectural service employees. The team sought to centralize the storage facility so workers had easier access to the topsoil.

At the same time, the infrastructure planning and facilities unit needed a place to store stone for construction projects. After pairing the plans, Beaumont Depot emerged as an all-purpose storage operation that supported additional campus projects and operations and promoted the sharing of resources between groups and departments.

In addition to sharing mulch, stand, stone, and topsoil, the departments inside infrastructure planning and facilities combined their inventory needs for parts, tools and vehicles. By working together, the departments achieved streamlined, across-the-board operations.

“We’ve reduced the number of parts that were being inventoried between other departments, which ultimately reduced the overall equity tied up in inventory for the university,” says Adam Lawver, assistant manager with landscape services. “We have also reduced the number of individual contracts our unit held with vendors.

“As a unit, we now have one contract with an outside material vendor, rather than having a separate contract for each department. This has allowed for us to combine inventory needs across multiple departments. And through partnering with our purchasing department, we have reduced the unit prices for certain supplies because of larger volumes.”

The departments also share equipment when possible, reducing costs for expensive vehicles.

The departments “share equipment, such as a larger dump truck, which maintenance purchased and uses for utility excavations,” Lawver says. “If the truck is available, landscape services will use it for hauling topsoil, mulch, or spoils. This (arrangement) sends equipment revenue back to our maintenance stockroom to help maintain the truck and replace it in the future and saves us from the expense of purchasing our own truck.”

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  posted on 9/17/2014   Article Use Policy

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