How often is a business owner or manager confronted with having to make a Cost/Benefit Ratio decision for a prospective expenditure? Regardless of the frequency, when it’s time to meet that determination head-on, it can be a jarring, frustrating and potentially a distasteful experience.
The decision is decidedly less painful if the ROI is easily understood and favorable. The problem arises when the proposed expenditure is tainted with the immediate presumption that it is a “non-productive capital expense!” (Non-c-ense!)
Understandably, the dollar amount has an obvious impact on the level of angst generated. Perhaps a $1,200 expense to replace your 3-4 year old computer may not be too painful and can be justified because: it’s faster and will save you time; has a bigger hard drive and more RAM so it won’t be as prone to crash and just maybe there’s the subjective decision “that I want it!” But now suppose you’re considering a decision to buy a new piece of production equipment for $100,000! Oh, Boy! The struggle within can cause a much higher level of gastric juice generation. As mentioned previously, if it means your company can increase productivity and profits, that can ease the stress considerably.
Now compare that example to perhaps an adjunct expenditure of a similar amount to meet your Township’s Noise Code for your new diesel-generator that is being purchased to insure your computers won’t go down if/when your electric supplier’s system abruptly goes off-line!
Having dealt with managers faced with such a decision, since the late 1960s, I can tell you the first reaction of many is: “Non-c-ense!”
The whole build-up to this point, is to suggest that maybe —- just maybe, there is a positive ROI for this type of investment. Doesn’t avoiding taking more money out of your pocket, in effect, go equally to the bottom line as making the same amount of profit?! How much in sales do you need, to generate to provide enough profit to offset a fine/fee/law suit you might otherwise have to deal with?
You might say, “Well, maybe ——- but is there any way it could be made a little better?” And I say, “Oh, yes it can!” Suppose you determine you need to expand your plant or install a good sized cooling tower. To move ahead with your project you find out you need to go before your local Planning or Zoning Boards for approval. What are your chances for gaining that approval if you’ve ignored neighbor complaints about noisy equipment, in the past? If the Township Supervisors are getting calls during their dinner time, about the noise from your plant, how well disposed will they be towards your request?
Are these unlikely scenarios or scare tactics? I can tell you based on all the years I’ve been in the noise control field; they’re not far-fetched at all!
You don’t get any ROI on your auto insurance —– until you have an accident. You can’t easily put an actual value on the goodwill generated by something like contributing new lighting for the local high school football field. Or, making sure any new equipment installed inside or outside your plant doesn’t increase the ambient noise levels. Yet, most business people will acknowledge it’s usually worth it.
Wouldn’t it feel good when you walk into that Zoning Board meeting and you’re greeted with smiling faces on the Board members and on those of your neighbors?! Believe it or not, understanding and acceptance go both ways.
That last statement extends to your noise control supplier, as well. First, fully understanding your problem and then recommending an adequate fix, is paramount. The supplier’s intent should not be to see how deeply he can jam his hand into your pocket! Rather he should always be looking out for your best interests, because in actuality, in the long run that’s in his best interest as well!