Energy Saving at KFA
3rd November 2022
There’s an ever-increasing number of emails related to energy-saving ideas flooding both my work and personal inbox. The reason is very clear, we all know we have to do our bit to reduce our energy bills, it’s a hot topic for EVERYONE – and with obvious reasons.
Growing up I was taught that if you were cold, put another jumper on, or if your feet were cold put another pair of socks on. If I was hungry just before dinner, I was always told to have an apple, but I didn’t always listen to that advice either if the biscuit tin was calling to me! My thrifty parents were always hot on my heels if I left a room without turning off the light and we always had to switch everything off at the plug overnight.
As a teenager, I’ll admit I thought this was all a bit of a drag – especially turning the electricity off at the power sockets. As an adult, I had probably lost sight of the reasons behind these vital lessons that I learnt as a child and became used to just tweaking the thermostat rather than layering up – not good I know, but true. Fast forward 30 years (OK, maybe it’s more like 35 years) and I’m going back to these roots, big time. I’m repeating those same words to my kids that I heard so regularly from my parents….
“Shut the door – were you born in a barn? You’re letting all the heat out!”
“Turn the light off when you leave the room, it’s like Blackpool illuminations in here!”
“What do you think that money grows on trees”?
“What have you got to be sad about, you don’t have a mortgage?”.
Honestly, I could go on and on… and I laugh about it with my family now, but it’s not funny – they are all 100% valid.
That same frugal mentality should follow us to work. Saving the company that you work for money will, in the long run, help to secure the financial future of the business, and subsequently the future of your job. It’s quite simple really if you think about it. I do feel sorry for companies who have a large number of Gen Z’s working for them if their attitude was anything like mine at that age. I’m hoping they have a better understanding of these matters.
Confession time, I was still guilty of leaving my monitor in the office on standby overnight and at weekends (and I know I wasn’t alone). Not such a big deal you might think, but when there are dozens (or for some companies hundreds) of desks, and if everyone did the same it can quickly ramp up the electricity being used unnecessarily. I think you get the point.
So, we started a new phase at KFA, thinking about our impact; individually, as a team and also as a business – how we could reduce waste, save money and be even more environmentally friendly and all-round good people.
I guess it started (some years ago now I might add) with number one:
We’re a paperless office
We have been committed to being a paperless office for several years already. Without even considering the positive impact we are having on the planet from not printing and saving trees etc, in our industry, it is a huge benefit from a security / GDPR perspective to not have confidential customer information lying around the office or sitting on people’s desks.
We ‘hot desk’ in the office now so we would never have the opportunity to leave paperwork on a desk anyway. A brilliant way to eliminate office mess by the way – no more desk trinkets gathering dust for us!
Our team have been given ReMarkables – electronic notepads to use. These devices also ensure that any notes taken by our team members relating to our customer’s IT systems are secure on these password-protected devices.
Recycling – We donate equipment & furniture
Over the years we have donated any usable electrical equipment to charities that are able to re-purpose them in the community. This was especially great when the schools were looking for donations of operational but unwanted laptops for children who did not have access to one at home during Covid. We replace our equipment fairly frequently, so this made sense to us as a business. We have also previously donated monitors to a local charity that looks after homeless people, which is a great thing to be able to do. When we moved offices earlier this year, we even donated office furniture to a local start-up business too.
During the first Covid lockdown, just like many other businesses, our entire team quickly adapted to working from home. The KFA Directors sensed the direction the pandemic was heading because they sent us all to work from home two weeks before the Government announced the first lockdown.
Moving to work from home was not difficult for our team, since many of us already regularly worked from home one or two days a week, so the infrastructure and security procedures were already in place to support this. There were minimal changes, as we already used Teams for meetings with our customers, so we just became more reliant on this to communicate as a team daily as well.
After months of working from home during the lockdown, many of our team found that it gave them a better work/life balance without having the commute to and from the office. Others found being able to spend their lunch break exercising either on equipment at home or by going for a walk or run was beneficial to their mental health and so they continued to work from home beyond the lockdowns, which has led to the following additional savings;
Travel Costs and associated environmental impacts have been reduced.
Covid has reduced (and in some cases eliminated) the cost of travelling to and from work, which inevitably also helps reduce emissions from these additional vehicles on the road.
The Covid pandemic also seems to have changed how KFA communicates with our customers and potential customers for good, with many favouring online meetings instead of travelling for face-to-face meetings. Although I personally miss that face-to-face relationship-building opportunity (you can’t beat a good handshake), I can also see the obvious benefits of not spending hours in the car or on the train and the cost of fuel or train tickets to the business, the environmental impact of the journey, and of course, the physical time saved.
At KFA were very supportive of the team members who wanted to remain working from home, ensuring they had the right equipment and giving due consideration to their working environment and health and safety. This continued arrangement relies on dedication to the business from the individual and mutual trust. We are lucky that the entire KFA team are very business focussed – always ready to go the extra mile.
This shift in the norm for KFA meant that the team who were left in the office were rattling around in a large and very expensive office, which was now too large for the numbers who were regularly using it.
This felt like another natural nudge towards more changes to help save energy and ultimately money. So, the Directors of KFA decided to remain in this hybrid working situation on a more permanent basis and downsized the office to a smaller space. This led to other natural on-site savings, starting with…
Relocation of server room = lower on-site business costs.
This change, which was beneficial in more ways than one, was to do away with our on-site server room. Server rooms have to be kept cool at all times with costly air-conditioning, so we strategically relocated ours to a UK Data Centre prior to the office move. We would be using the Data Centre’s Air-Con instead of having to run our own from that point.
We have since turned our attention to what other long-term changes we could make around us, and this one reminds me of another of my Mum’s favourite sayings; “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves…”
“Alexa, Power On!”
Following the office move, we carried on the cost-saving theme, installing Alexa and Smart Plugs in the new office. Now we “Alexa, Power On” at KFA each morning – and “Alexa, Power Off” At night. Alexa does all the leg work, and she makes sure that no equipment is left draining electricity overnight and at weekends.
It was a simple, but effective change and no one (me) will ever be judged again for being the one to leave their desk equipment on standby!
We’re continuing to think of new ways to save money, energy and the environment. We’re aware that all three of these things often go hand-in-hand – and we do want to do our bit.
We know that all businesses are looking to do the same, focussing on;
- Saving time.
- Saving money.
- Reducing manual effort.
- Increasing customer satisfaction and customer retention.
- Eliminating human errors.
- Improving productivity.
- Automating business processes.
- Enhancing Management reporting – for better decision-making.
Those who sell online will also be looking to:
- Improve their customer’s eCommerce user experience.
- Allowing any trade customers to order online at any time of the day.
- Improve their stock accuracy.
- Streamline warehouse pick, pack & despatch processes.
At KFA our team spend their time developing software solutions and systems integration solutions that either directly or indirectly tick all of the above boxes.
If you would like to test this theory – give us an example of an area of your business which could be improved, and we can talk through how we would approach and deliver the requirement. We do love a challenge!
Our integration skills, business process automation experience, eCommerce know-how and ability to increase your customer satisfaction and retention, will allow your team to get on with growing your business.
Get in touch today.
Nicki SmithSales Manager