At a Glance:
A few of the sustainability initiatives Sears Holding Corp., takes part in include:
As the nation's fourth-largest broadline retailer with more than 4,000 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States and Canada, Sears Holdings Corporation (SHC) reported revenues of $43.3 billion for fiscal year 2010. Headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Ill., the company operates through its subsidiaries, including Sears, Roebuck and Co., and Kmart Corporation.
The leading home appliance retailer, as well as a leader in tools, and lawn and garden; consumer electronics; and automotive repair and maintenance, SHC's key proprietary brands include Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard, and a broad apparel offering, including well-known labels such as Lands' End, Jaclyn Smith, and Joe Boxer, as well as the Apostrophe and Covington brands. The company also has the Country Living collection, which is offered by Sears Holdings and Kmart.
"We are the nation's largest provider of home services, with more than 11 million service calls made annually," said Tiffany Matthews, buyer - procurement, logistics & fleet management services for Sears Holdings. In her role, Matthews manages the company's fleet purchasing and leasing management services; logistics and transportation agreement services; loss prevention items; and contract and supplier management. She works alongside an SHC fleet staff that includes positions ranging from field repair technicians to district service managers.
With more than 280,000 employees, SHC's 11,000-plus owned and leased fleet of vehicles - including Chrysler, Ford, and GM models - are utilized for both service and commercial purposes. Approximately 750 of these fleet vehicles are E-85-fueled GM vans.
Field product repair services (PRS) technicians use the majority of SHC's fleet vehicles. These technicians travel to customers' homes to repair appliances and electronics of all brands, no matter where the products were purchased. The company also assigns vehicles to associates who are responsible for multiple stores in a given area, as well as to store repair technicians.
Matthews regularly partners with fleet management companies, as well as with various SHC business departments - from Treasury and Home Services to Automotive, Loss Prevention, and Human Resources.
Total Cost of Ownership Key to SHC Fleet Mission
SHC's fleet department mission includes getting the best total cost of ownership from a vehicle and ensuring field associates best represent the SHC brand and commit to upholding the company's goal to be the first choice and trusted partner for home services needs.
"The PRS fleet reinforces this commitment every day as technicians are dispatched to customers' homes to install, upgrade, or repair Sears Holdings or Kmart products, in addition to products purchased from our competitors," Matthews said.
The fleet further supports the corporate mission through graphics displayed on service vans, which act as rolling billboards depicting its "Blue Crew" and various products sold by local Sears Holdings full line, appliance, hardware, and outlet stores, as well as selected Kmart locations.
Other fleet vehicles used by associates ensure company facilities get the support needed from an operational and management perspective.[PAGEBREAK]
Comprehensive Analyses Drive Fleet Financials
When assessing fleet financials, SHC analyzes several factors, such as a comprehensive review that includes a lease versus buy analysis on all fleet acquisitions. Once the analysis is performed, the fleet team then seeks senior management approval on the recommended direction.
"Senior management plays a very important part in fleet management," Matthews pointed out. "The senior leadership team reviews and approves all recommendations related to the acquisition of new fleet vehicles, as well as provides guidance and/or direction on new fleet initiatives."
When a new request is submitted to the procurement fleet team, Matthews works with the requesting department team up to the VP of that department.
The SHC fleet team also places a high priority on a proactive management style. SHC customers depend on its service technicians - and the company's technicians in turn depend on their fleet vehicles - to help deliver exceptional customer service experiences. Therefore, fleet vehicles must be in safe and proper working order and stay up and running.
"Being proactive helps ensure we reach the goal to both satisfy and delight our customers," Matthews said. "In addition, we routinely introduce new technologies that enable us to have a more cost-efficient, environmentally responsible fleet."
Matthews added that staying proactive in monitoring these new technologies and available incentives ensure the SHC fleet team offers the best for its customers, shareholders, and the environment.
SHC Takes Sustainability Initiatives to a Higher Level
As the 2011 ENERGY STAR Retail Partner of the Year in the Product Retailer Category, SHC continues to invest in sustainability initiatives to save money, save fuel, lower its environmental footprint by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and improve the safety of its drivers.
One such measure includes the ongoing installation of fuel-efficiency programming tools in more than 4,000 company vans. These devices led to a 10-percent gas savings by controlling the acceleration of the vans. The fleet also implemented routing software to help plot the most efficient routes for making service calls through the day.
Other initiatives include a no-idling policy, participation in the EPA SmartWay program, and implementation of a Los Angeles Clean Truck program.
In an effort to eliminate unnecessary fuel consumption, the Sears Holdings Logistics Services (SLS) team enforces a no-idling policy for all vehicles executing business operations at SLS distribution facilities. All business-related vehicles awaiting access or parked on distribution properties must adhere to the policy.
Participation in the EPA SmartWay program includes several environmentally friendly transportation initiatives that combat global warming through a reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The sustainable initiative also promotes clean air. By participating in this program, more efficient shipping strategies, such as intermodal shipping, full truckloads, etc., are implemented.
SLS also participated in the original L.A. Clean Truck Program, which encourages better air quality in the region through cleaner truck emissions. SLS requires all containers that are picked up from Long Beach or L.A. ports to be carried by clean trucks. These clean trucks, which must be manufactured after 2007, have cleaner emissions compared to traditional trucks. Participation in this program helps SLS improve air quality and decrease GHG emissions at its L.A. operations.
Sears Holdings also plans to install 30 Ecotality's Blink Pedestal electric vehicle charging stations at 10 retail locations in summer 2011 as part of a pilot program from The EV Project - which has a goal to install 14,000 commercial and residential charging stations in 18 major cities and metropolitan areas.
"We continue to be active in monitoring new technologies and available incentives so that we can be aggressive in finding green opportunities for our fleet," Matthews added.[PAGEBREAK]
Sears Holdings Automotive Embraces Sustainability Initiatives
The Sears Automotive team also implemented various environmentally sustainable initiatives, including the adoption of recycling programs for oil, antifreeze, tires, and batteries.
"SHC, in conjunction with our vendor, remains dedicated to recycling oil through our many auto centers," Matthews stated. "As we continue to conserve oil, we reduce the need to extract new oil as it can be recycled without diminishing quality."
The company's oil recycling efforts have resulted in an impressive reduction in waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2004, some of the company's achievements include:
- Recycling 12,756.15 tons of used oil and 886 tons of oil filters.
- Through recycling, every oil change performed at a Sears Holdings Auto Center avoids emission of 11 lbs. of GHG emissions.
- Additionally, the company's efforts have prevented the disposal of 5 million pounds of oil-soaked metal and residual oil into landfills.
SHC also began recycling antifreeze several years ago. In fact, since 2004, the company has recycled 1,604 tons of used antifreeze. Recently, the automotive team implemented a closed-loop antifreeze recycling system. Through this process, in conjunction with vendors, Sears Holdings sells, uses, recycles, and then reuses all antifreeze in its auto center operations.
The antifreeze recycling system, in conjunction with recycling efforts, has helped eliminate the release of more than 107,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. This reduction is equivalent to taking 20,501 average cars off the road for one year.
"We are also proud to maintain a closed-loop recycling system within our lead-acid battery operations," Matthews added. "This recycling initiative greatly reduces the amount of hazardous waste released from our auto battery sales."
In fact, through this initiative, more than 97 percent of the lead used in Sears Holdings' batteries is recycled and old batteries are replaced, recycled, and their components are reused indefinitely.
And while not a new initiative, SHC has been a market leader in environmentally friendly tire recycling and disposal for more than 30 years.
"In conjunction with our vendor, we recycled 53,294 tons of tires in 2008," Matthews said.
The company's recycled tires are being used in several different environmentally friendly methods and products, including tire derived fuel (TDF), tire derived aggregate (TDA), and crumb rubber feed stock.
Used tires burn cleaner than coal and are used in power plants and cement kilns. TDF can supplement nearly 20 percent of the power generation needed in these processes. It also represents the largest recycling process that utilizes Sears Holdings' old tires, accounting for more than 50 percent of recycled tire use.
Through the TDA process, tires are shredded and can be used in the place of gravel as a filler material on construction sites. This product allows gas and water to more easily flow through the filler, preventing possible flooding and environmental damage. TDA use accounts for 10 percent of Sears Holdings' recycled tires.
Crumb rubber results after shredding the tire and removing the fiber and steel. The remaining pure rubber can then be used in various products, such as rubberized asphalt concrete (RAC). These quieter roads cause less tire wear than conventional asphalt roadways. Crumb rubber feed stock accounts for 8 percent of Sears Holdings' recycled tires.
All of these initiatives contribute to SHC's commitment to operate a more cost-efficient, environmentally friendly, and customer-oriented fleet. Moving forward, the fleet team plans to continue operating in a proactive and ever-evolving mode.
"We are constantly looking forward and asking ourselves, 'What can be done to boost customer and associate satisfaction and is in the best interest of the company?' This is a question that we explore every day and continue to seek answers for," Matthews said. "We intend to keep moving forward and doing what works."
Originally posted on Fleet Financials