Facilities & Money-Saving

The Facilities crew (L-R: Don, Quang & Neal) looks through a tool catalog, trying to find the best value for their money.

Have you ever thought about buying an elevator? Fortunately or not, that’s not a situation that most of us are in. After all, the thought of buying an elevator for your house seems a little bit excessive. But for DISH and the Facilities Department buying an elevator is something that’s happened twice in the last two years. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that I turned to Facilities for guidance on how to follow DISH Value #6, Be mindful and prudent: with income and expenses.

“All my tasks are related to income and expenses,” says Quang Nguyen, Facilities Administrative Assistant. “Job efficiency, make readys, ordering supplies, training—they all deal with income and expenses.” Don Lewis, Facilities Manager for the Star, Camelot, and PBI, agrees. “A majority of my job deals with expenses,” Don says. “How you manage your materials, the application of labor, what you purchase, when you purchase, the quality of the work that you do, and even your training—all of this directly affects how much we spend.”

Wait, so even when you’re going to a training, you’re helping to save DISH money? Absolutely. “We used to have to have contractors come in and do some of our painting and flooring work,” says Don. “Since we’ve done trainings with the facilities team now they do all of that work themselves. Every time we had a unit turn we used to have to bring in a contractor.” Think about that. Every time a unit was turned, DISH had to pay more than $1000 to finish the process. Not only that, but as DISH learned more about flooring and creating a “defendable room” from bedbugs, more practices went into place, such as putting down a mesh in the floor to prevent bedbugs from crawling under the floorboards from room to room. Such practices which have developed over the years, save DISH thousands of dollars as time goes on and fewer bedbug incidents are able to spread and cost us the big bucks. Those are dollars that, instead of being eaten up by bed bug treatments today, can be used to forward our mission of great service in ending homelessness for more people.

This is the ethic that pervades the facilities department. Every action is focused on helping to save money. It’s led to the standardization of paint across the hotels, making the job quicker, easier, and cheaper for the maintenance workers. It’s also led to changing of the blinds, from Venetian blinds that couldn’t be repaired to newer blinds where blades can easily be switched out if they become damaged.

The tiniest things can have the biggest impact. “I switched all the paper towels at the Windsor to rolls,” said Neal Taikeff, Facilities Manager for the Windsor, Empress, and Le Nain. “Our janitor now only has to change that set of rolls one time a month, instead of everyday. So if there are 10 taper towel holders and I save 2 minutes on each one (a conservative estimate) seven days a week, that’s like 2.3 hours a week or 119.6 hours a year which saves over $1600 and allows our janitors to be elsewhere.”

So let’s give it up for the dedication of facilities to prudence and mindfulness with finances!

Published on July 10, 2012