One of the things that I am often asked by clients and industry colleagues when talking about my RelampIt business is how we are able to keep our manufacturing in the US — New York no less, with some of the highest labor rates in the country. Sure, it affects our bottom line and sometimes even affects our ability to compete with certain overseas vendors. My response to these curious colleagues is this: we are able to control our quality better when it is in house, we are able to have a quicker turn around time for our clients, and we are able to support our local economy and keep jobs on Long Island. While the first two reasons seem to be most important to our clients at this time, the last reason is most important to me.
When reviewing our own sustainability policy, one of the items we have to take into account is our social responsibility. What types of evaluations/checklists have we put into place to make sure that we are sourcing from socially-minded suppliers? What standards are we requiring, as a business, to ensure that we are not only environmentally responsible, but also socially responsible? This goes beyond a moral “gut check” for executives, but also rains down to all the employees. Social responsibility must be part of the company culture, just as I have mentioned about environmental responsibility. Those who are not on board are not the team members we need.
When our actions and priorities at RelampIt are reviewed by outsiders, many say that they don’t make sense. They believe it’s got to be impossible to stay competitive manufacturing a consumable like projector lamps when we are so socially- and environmentally-minded. But our priorities were defined when the company was born, and have been steadfast and non-negotiable. And I tell them those priorities are one of the most important values that set us apart from our competitors. Maybe you can’t see it from the outside — a lamp is a lamp to them — but when you sit down and evaluate your own supply chain, your own business initiatives, what is important to your company, you will decide to align your company with like-minded partners. That’s when it makes sense. That’s when you have found a mutually beneficial relationship with a company you can grow with for years to come.
On a practical side, one of the more important things I touch on when I present “Making Money in Green AV” with rAVe’s GaryKayye is the new government requirements for public institutions and facilities to develop a sustainability plan and follow it. This includes a thorough review of suppliers’ and contractors’ manufacturing and business sustainability policies. Those with documented policies will start getting the government jobs. And from there, those requirements will be adopted by schools public and private, by corporations large and small — by the vertical markets in which we all work.
So I say to all those curious colleagues and doubtful clients: while our price, quality and quick response times are a huge benefit and are big selling points, the biggest value we offer is being a company dedicated to sustainability and social responsibility. It not only affects our clients, but our employees, our town, our state, our country and our future. And we are dedicated to partnering with like-minded companies to support sustainability in our industry, the local economy and our employees’ families.
PS: The picture is just too cute not to post- but it has nothing to do with my celebration. He doesn’t look cold, just confused.