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ESPO TELLS FMS Facility managers still have enough time to get ready for the winter gritting season if they quickly organise salt supplies and spreading equipment, said ESPO, the UK’s largest public sector buying organisation.

In view of big variations in the winter weather in recent years, ESPO said that buyers need to ensure they have adequate salt supplies - and a network of storage bins - to ensure they keep sites, pathways and access roads open.

In the winters of 2011/12, many organisations could not keep sites or services open because they only

ordered fresh salt supplies once the bad weather set in, leaving many delivery vehicles themselves stranded in snow and unable to make deliveries to customers.

For campuses, car parking, paths and landscaping needs, buying organisations such as ESPO offer buyers brown or white rock salt from leading suppliers in 25kg bags, through product catalogues.

FMs, site managers and buyers can ensure they have effective salt spreading operations by providing smaller storage bins through their amenity or parkland area. Buying organisations offer simple options such as hard-wearing 8 and 16 x 25kg-bag capacity salt bins through their catalogues.

Salt spreaders range from small, highly manoeuvrable units for

steps and pathways, to larger, more rugged units. Buyers should check suppliers’ delivery times when ordering, as spreader units are generally made to order.

Amenity organisations can also benefit from free UK delivery and no minimum order requirements offered by big buying organisations such as ESPO.

ESPO’s head of catalogue Ian Gibbins explained: “With workload and budget pressures, facility managers can sometimes struggle to maintain salt supplies going into autumn. They can quickly get organised by using the right salt supplier and equally importantly, leaving adequate time for deliveries.”


With Graham Perry, Business Unit Director of iSite

The onset of cold weather and an increased chance of ice and snow is something facilities managers across the UK should be prepared for every year. Yet research carried out by BIFM and winter maintenance expert GRITIT, suggests that more than 30% of facilities managers are still caught out in the winter months as they fail to plan effectively.

If long-range weather forecasters are to be believed, the UK is braced for its worst winter in more than 50 years. Cold weather is known to have a severe impact on the economy; research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research

suggests a single degree drop in the minimum average temperature costs the UK economy £2.5billion.

Whilst prevention is better than cure when it comes to dealing with maintenance issues, many facilities managers do not use the data they hold to their advantage.

Access to historic and up-to-date information about an entire estate, in an integrated format, can prove invaluable to facilities managers – particularly those looking after multiple sites. Not only does this enable trends to be spotted from year-to-year and across different types of properties, which can inform effective prevention planning, it also helps to identify cost savings.

With many older properties having a history of faults, a full understanding of the repair and maintenance programme that has been put in place enables facilities managers to identify issues where the implementation of newer equipment, such as a new boiler, affects the older infrastructure that sits behind it. Immediate access to data surrounding the respective

property and asset can help to identify the cause and deliver cost savings by preventing the same issue arising across multiple properties before it is too late.

The improved use of data can also help to address issues such as increased energy consumption. It is not unexpected for energy bills to increase dramatically during the winter months, yet without access to comparative figures many facilities managers are unable to identify poorly performing properties. The ability to compare energy bills helps to identify properties that are performing badly and address the issue to deliver cost savings.

Facilities managers can also use technology to enhance their operations by equipping security guards with mobile-enabled hazard and fault reporting devices.

The main opportunity lies in the prevention of problems, which if managed effectively, will enable management teams to improve efficiencies, reduce costs and, most importantly, keep their business up and running as offices are able to remain open.


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