It’s all about choosing the LED Lighting Package that fits your needs.
In a recent conversation with William Smith, the VP of Operations for Sherrill Furniture Company in North Carolina, we asked him to share his perspective.
ASD: “William, when you look back at your decision to go with our LED Lighting Retrofit Package, can you share some of your thoughts?”
WS: “Before we decided to implement our LED Lighting Retrofit program, we had to consider the requirements and changes from a manufacturing standpoint. We are a one-shift operation, and for years we were looking at proposals from other providers, but the expense had been hard to justify.
Your approach was different. A retrofit program was ideal for us.
Once we reached a point where we could justify the investment, we made the decision to retrofit ALL of our fixtures at ALL of our plants – not ripping out and redoing, rather using conversion fixtures that ASD was able to provide.
Aside from all the financial benefits and power efficiencies, our plants look brighter and cleaner and the mood has certainly improved.
The morale of our employees has increased tremendously. That alone made the project worthwhile.”
ASD: “Was the positive impact on your people that noticeable and immediate?”
WS: “Yes, it was the WOW factor. Everybody would come in the morning after we would do a department and they would say ‘WOW, what happened? The place looks GREAT!’
You know, we can see what we’re doing so much easier. It was like coming out of a dark cave into the sun light.
On the financial side, our power bills have significantly improved.
We are a one-shift operation. But we’ve seen as much as fifteen percent savings per plant compared to similar periods in previous years. We’re now into the air conditioning season so that percentage saved due to the new lighting may not be as quite the same compared to similar months and therm loads in previous years, but we’re still experiencing significant power savings.
We had a situation where we had a lot of older facilities with fluorescent fixtures. Older ballasts and fixtures that were de-lamped or were sitting there just flickering were using a lot of energy, and we were getting nothing out of it.
The conversion and being able to gain lighting and decrease costs was very advantageous.
We’re in a program called Power Share with Duke Energy. So when there is a curtailment, we have a baseline load that we have to share. Because of the change in our lighting, we’re projecting that we’ll be able to keep certain departments running that we would’ve had to shut down during those periods before the change.”
ASD: “What was the spark that ignited the idea of retrofitting your lighting within the company?”
WS: “Well, I think the fact that as a provider, your team was able to come in and give us a solution that was more of a common sense approach.
Other vendors we talked to wanted to come in and rip out everything we had and then de-lamp and re-lamp with different fixture counts and the labor required to do that was incredible.
Your solution made so much more sense because we had good solid fixtures and all our wiring and circuits were in place. All that was needed was to gut the fixtures and put retrofit kits into the fixtures.
I think our overall driving reason for going with your LED Lighting Retrofit Package was financial. Although we did recognize the need to brighten our facilities, the environmental, the GREEN aspect, was a priority.
We’re very conscious of our image within our industry and community. And we pride ourselves on being a leader in the green manufacturing of our products. Doing the right thing by eliminating the mercury bulbs and moving to LED technology was a significant factor.”
ASD: “Did you anticipate the positive response from employees or was that an unexpected benefit?”
WS: “That was an unexpected outcome. We recognized the need to improve our lighting in the facilities from a management standpoint but to receive the WOW factor and morale boost was a total surprise.”
ASD: “Do you think that brighter facilities and higher morale translates to improved productivity?”
WS: “Definitely, productivity and safety.”
ASD: “As a busy manufacturing company with multiple facilities, did the retrofit program interrupt your operations?”
WS: “It was important to us that it didn’t. We actually made that a condition of the contract.
Ninety five percent of all of the work was done after regular production hours, on nights and weekends.
Your team was great to work with. There was some staging and preparation and things like that during production hours or work in some warehouse areas but as far as our production floor there was no interruption.”
ASD: “How was the project managed? Did it take more involvement from your side as the client than expected? Were you pleased with how it was all handled?”
WS: “We were very pleased that it was handled so professionally. It was pretty hands off for us and there were no unwelcome surprises.”
ASD: “Aside from manufacturing facilities, did you include your corporate office lighting and exterior lighting in the project?”
WS: “Yes, this was pretty much a complete implementation across all five of our locations.”
ASD: “In addition to the other benefits you’ve described from the LED Lighting Retrofit, did you qualify for any rebates from your energy provider?”
WS: “We did. It was part of Duke Energy’s Smart Saver program. It was a significant factor in our calculated decision to go ahead with the project. The information you provided to us in advance about the rebates we could qualify for was very helpful.”
ASD: “You mentioned earlier that your company’s image to your industry and community is important. Do you think the new lighting makes a difference to your clients and your surrounding communities?”
WS: “I can see that the image of our facilities to the local communities is improved. Our building exteriors and parking lots are all brighter. We are now more visible from the late evening to early morning hours which is great, especially in the current labor market. We compete for employees on a day-to-day basis with other local manufacturers, so it helps to make such an attractive impression.
I’ll mention something we haven’t touched on. This LED Lighting Retrofit has freed our maintenance staff of the many hours they were spending each week replacing lights every time we would have a light fixture go out in a production area. Each time required an employee or manager to call, and we were putting in a lot of maintenance orders.
Now they can focus on other preventive maintenance and equipment breakdowns and handle those tasks more efficiently without interruption.”
ASD: “Has the improved lighting had an impact on security?”
WS: “There has been a noticeable benefit. Our employees arrive for work very early. Where the facility had been very dark, now they’re reporting to work in well-lit parking and drive areas, so that’s a vast improvement. And it’s good to know that when we have personnel still here late, they’re now leaving a safe and well-lit facility.”
ASD: “It’s nice to hear such a positive review. It’s a story with a happy ending and ongoing benefits.”
WS: “Well, we are very pleased with how the whole thing worked out. Especially with how all the relationships were managed – with the Energy Company and the rebate program, with the contractors and our plant operations and with the overall project management.”
ASD: “Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. We certainly value your business and sharing your story helps us better tell ours.”
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