A private, equity-owned, Fortune 500 discount retailer operates more than 18,000 stores in 47 states. The stores sell frequently-used products including food, snacks, health, and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, basic apparel, housewares, and seasonal items at everyday low prices in convenient neighborhood locations.
The retailer is expanding rapidly with approximately 1,000+ new store openings per year. General contractors put utilities in their name during construction. Responsibility for the utilities transfers to the corporate office once construction is completed. Unfortunately, this transition was not happening in a timely manner. As a result, the client was missing utility turnover deadlines and shut-offs were frequently occurring.
Once permitting is complete and build-out dates are set, a lack of organization in initializing utility accounts can delay store openings by up to 30 days. In addition to lost sales, committed salaries are paid out with no actual work attached. These factors have a direct negative effect on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).
Additionally, stores were often caught off guard when initial utility bills went unpaid and services were turned off with no notice. When this happened, stores had only two to four hours to save refrigerated and frozen foods. Water, heating, and air conditioning were turned off and stores were forced to close down until utilities came back online. The company stood to lose $15,000 – $20,000 in perishable food products in addition to the opportunity cost of lost revenue while closed down.
The retailer hired Cost Control Associates (CCA) to help them proactively avoid missed store opening dates by managing the their utility open and close process for all new stores.
CCA established a one-month pilot project to ensure success and is now working on a multi-year project to manage the effective opening and closing of all utility accounts. As part of this process, CCA confirms
that the first bill is properly sent and that the store numbers are correctly assigned to utility accounts. Additionally, CCA created a process to review existing store billing errors and rectify legacy issues that they were unable to address with internal resources.
CCA helped the growing retailer avoid $6.75 million in lost revenue with a more effective utility account transfer service. The growing retailer went from five months behind in transferring services to working ahead by 1.5 to 2 months. They no longer deal with disconnects and avoid costly shutdowns and loss of perishable products.
Joe Scicutella is an energy procurement analyst for Cost Control Associates. He helps his clients obtain energy supply at the optimal price. He keeps his thumb on the pulse of the energy marketplace by monitoring supply, providing insights, working with suppliers to obtain pricing and negotiate contracts. Joe currently manages more than $2.5 billion in total client annual spend and has saved his clients more than $2.8mm on costs since July 2019. Learn more.