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Getting The Green Light

Energy-efficient lighting systems reduce customer’s expenses.

green bulbMorrison Industrial Equipment’s sales force is constantly in warehouses talking to people about their equipment. During the course of sales calls, we noticed that many factories are dark, dingy places. Not only is this dingy atmosphere unsafe, it also is a subtle way of discouraging productivity in the factory workers. It endorses a non-energetic state of mind.

Couple that realization with the fact that one of our largest accounts is a manufacturer of light fixtures, and it’s easy to see why our company began seriously looking at lighting as a sales opportunity.

About two years ago, we converted all 12 of our branches to energy-efficient lights. Not only did we notice an immediate difference in our utility bill, but our people were much happier. Our technicians in the shop were commenting on how much better lit their work areas were. We got excited about the potential for our customers.

Our customers are looking at ways to reduce costs, and there are lots of incentives these days to reduce energy consumption. Looking at the bottom line, energy-efficient lights offer energy savings of about 50 percent. At Morrison Industrial, we saved thousands of dollars after we switched. Consider that many of your customers’ monthly electric bills are tens of thousands of dollars. Lights are a big part of that, particularly if the lights stay on 24 hours a day. Being able to help them reduce even just the lighting portion of their energy bill by 50 percent makes a huge difference. Also, the lights themselves don’t cost much more than a typical high-intensity discharge (HID) light found in most factories. It won’t take long for your customer to realize those savings.

The light output is much better today and the lights stay brighter for a longer period. Over the life a bulb, which is about 24,000 hours, it will lose only about 6 percent of its brightness, compared to 40 percent luminosity lost by an HID light. It is very noticeable out in a factory, particularly in areas where workers are working in aisles, reading bar codes and looking for products. Plus, even after an HID loses brightness, the same amount of energy is still needed to operate it.

Another benefit to tout when talking to your customers about lighting is quicker illumination. HID lights often take several minutes to warm up. Newer, energy-efficient lights turn on instantly. This can be an important feature. One of our customers is in an area that experiences frequent power surges and often loses power in its plant. With its old HID lights, the whole factory would go dark for the two minutes the power was out, plus several more minutes while the lights warmed back up. It was very dangerous, and they often had to evacuate workers out of the plant for safety reasons. Now when they have a power outage, the lights come back on quickly. That customer is now safer and more productive, just because they switched to a different lighting system.

Greg Morrison with light

Greg Morrison is vice president of Morrison Industrial Equipment Company, located in Wyoming, Michigan, and on the Web at www.morrison-ind.com. He is also 2007 MHEDA Vice President.

The “instant on” feature also allows customers to consider occupancy sensors on their lights. Say you have a customer that runs three shifts. In parts of their warehouse, they may have areas that aren’t frequented by lift trucks, maybe only a few times per shift. Setting up a motion detector on the lights will illuminate the lights instantly while a truck is there and shut off when it leaves. That’s impractical with HID lights because of the time it takes them to come on. The customer would benefit from additional energy savings by not having the warehouse totally lit all night long.

Train your salespeople to simply look up at the ceiling. If the customer has those round HID lights, have them mention the possibilities offered by energy-efficient lights.

Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association

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