Supply Chain

Sharing Our Energy-Efficiency Findings

Working to reach our goal to become supplied 100 percent by renewable energy has forced us to innovate and think in new ways about our energy use. We’ve realized that by communicating what we’ve learned with our network of more than 60,000 suppliers, we can multiply the effects of the changes we’re making. So, we’re excited by the discoveries we’ve made, and we’re working to share those innovations with others.

Today, we offer suppliers a survey of their facilities and suggest energy-efficiency improvements based on technologies we’ve used in our stores, Clubs and distribution centers. Upon survey completion, we provide a proposal detailing both the potential savings they can reap and the costs of making the recommended changes. If the proposal is accepted, we utilize our supplier relationships and our bid management expertise to obtain the lowest costs possible for project implementation. To date, we have only done this in the United States. To have a truly meaningful effort, we will have to expand it abroad.

In addition to working with our suppliers, we are starting to pilot a similar initiative for the businesses we serve. Sam’s Club has partnered with General Electric and Applied Energy Services to pool our combined expertise and help small business members run more energy-efficient businesses and ultimately save them money on their energy bills (see Hughes Performance/Sharing Energy Efficient Practices with Small Businesses.)

Case Study: Dana Undies

Dana Undies, a manufacturer of children's clothes and underwear, is one of the suppliers that have worked with us to become more energy-efficient. The company conducts operations and distribution in a building of approximately 65,000 square feet and distributes its products worldwide through retailers such as Wal-Mart.

When Dana Undies decided to work with us to learn how to reduce its energy use, our engineers conducted a facilities audit and made several suggestions for operational changes and capital improvements. These recommendations included planting trees near the facility, cleaning air conditioning coils, installing a white roof and retrofitting the facility with T12 lighting – many of the innovations we use in our own stores and distribution centers.

We then assisted with lighting design and utilized our relationships with lighting suppliers to secure the best price available for the renovation. As a result, Dana Undies has seen a 52 percent reduction in its electricity bills. After 12 months, the improvements it made paid for themselves in energy savings.