$3K Investment Leads to $20K in Savings for 20 Companies

Categories: Distribution

By Joan Weis | June 28, 2017 << Back to Articles $3K Investment Leads to $20K in Savings for 20 Companies

Whether you are passionate about the environment or believe it’s all politics, adopting cleaner, more efficient internal processes can improve your company’s bottom line significantly. ISSA, in partnership with Sustainability Dashboard Tools, LLC, developed the Distributor Efficiency Analytics & Learning (DEAL) program in 2016 to help its members streamline their operations and save money—and early adopters of the program have excelled accordingly.

DEAL is a comprehensive program that incorporates learning, analytics, and awards to help distributors, wholesalers, and manufacturers benchmark their performance, streamline their operations, and realize savings in warehousing and fleet expenses of up to 30 percent.

“I’m extremely gratified to witness the achievements of the initial 20 DEAL participants,” said ISSA Executive Director John Barrett. “We believe this program can help our members on several levels, and it’s coming to fruition. I look forward to watching DEAL expand and evolve in the coming years.”

The initial group of DEAL participants was composed of 20 ISSA-member companies looking to increase their efficiency, reduce their carbon footprints, save money, and provide better services to their customers.

The recurrent online Learning Sessions component of DEAL provides actionable, low-cost/high-impact improvement measures that guide participants toward increasing the efficiency of their facilities and fleets. Then DEAL’s Analytics component helps users track their performance, identify opportunities for improvement, and compare their operations to other companies with similar attributes on a national level. The program’s Awards component kicks in to recognize companies that have successfully implemented the program and to distinguish their achievements.

To experience a recent DEAL Learning Session, “Driving Success: Leveraging DEAL to Differentiate Yourself in the Marketplace,” visit Presenter Steve Ashkin, CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tools, described the core of DEAL. “It’s a matter of being more efficient to reduce cost and risk. It isn’t about politics, but about best business practices in efficiency. DEAL helps participants understand and support their customers, and become respected industry leaders.”

Moreover, ISSA’s partnership as an affiliate with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR and SmartWay transportation programs provides an additional wealth of pertinent resources, best practices, and benchmarking information for DEAL participants.

“SmartWay encourages any size organization, large or small, to improve sustainability,” explained Cheryl Bynum, national director at EPA’s SmartWay and Supply Chain Program Center. “Partnering with ISSA on its DEAL Program helps cleaning product distributors save money through cleaner, more efficient transportation practices, while contributing to clean energy and clean air.”  

As DEAL users make progress, the program tracks their results, and the findings so far indicate success. “Collectively, the 20 participants achieved US $400,000 in savings to date,” stated ISSA Market Research and Analytics Director Jonathan Adkins. “If you do the math, that’s an average savings of $20,000 per company for what amounts to about a $3,000 investment annually.”

Adkins highlighted the environmental benefits as well: “Participating companies have reduced their greenhouse gases by 1,550 metric tons; that’s the equivalent of planting 40,000 tree seedlings and letting them grow for 10 years. It’s incredible when you think about it.”

DEAL participants can parlay these cost-saving achievements into important certifications beyond the DEAL Program—certifications that customers recognize and seek out in their vendors. Because of DEAL participation:

  • North American Corp. (Glenview, IL, headquarters facility) and EBP Supply Solutions (Milford, CT; Tewksbury, MA; and Cranbury, NJ, distribution centers) achieved ENERGY STAR certification from the EPA
  • North American Corp. won the EPA’s ENERGY STAR 2016 National Building Competition for distribution centers.

The DEAL program isn’t a one-and-done certification; it is an ongoing process. To foster continuous improvement, DEAL consultants provide semiannual performance reviews, providing evaluations of past performance and benchmarks. These reviews identify new opportunities for improvement. “Some of the savings we’ve identified through DEAL are an elimination of or a reduction in the use of space heaters, which cost thousands of dollars in extra electricity usage,” Adkins said. “We found irrigation water being billed under sewage, creating thousands of dollars in unnecessary wastewater costs.”

In addition, during the Learning Sessions, DEAL subject-matter experts identify practices that can save participants an average of 5 to 20 percent in fuel costs once implemented, and transform waste streams into potential revenues, such as a pallet buy-back program that could result in rebates in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Some early adopters of the DEAL program shared valuable insights into the process.

“We are very transparent with our clients in terms of how we operate our facilities and fleets,” said Stephen Marlin, marketing manager at EBP Supply Solutions. “The ISSA DEAL program provides a neutral third party that reports on our organization’s performance.  Just as we proudly supply third-party verified products, we proudly supply third-party verified operational data.”

Renae Hesselink, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accredited professional and vice president of sustainability for Nichols, explained why her company opted to participate. “Our headquarters is LEED-EBOM [Existing Buildings Operations and Management] Gold certified with an ENERGY STAR score of 89 out of 100. Despite these significant achievements, we will never get comfortable and say, ‘We have done it all,’ because we can always do better. The DEAL program pushes us to keep learning and to keep improving.

“For example,” Hesselink continues, “The DEAL Learning Session on modifying driver behavior to improve fuel efficiency helped us realize that modifying driver behavior behind the wheel improves safety, while reducing fuel consumption and costs at the same time.  As a result, I am working toward incorporating this training for our drivers. Using the data captured through the DEAL Program, we can quantify our results and strive for continuous improvement.”

For more information about the DEAL Program or to sign up for a free, one-on-one demonstration, visit, or contact ISSA Market Research and Analytics Director Jonathan Adkins at [email protected].

About the Author.

Joan Weis is the Senior Marketing Communications Specialist for ISSA. She can be reached at [email protected]