By Cheryl Higley
Salt. It’s not just how much to purchase for the winter and where to buy it. Just as important is how you plan to pay for it, and the impact it has on your company’s bottom line.
Elbers Landscape President Jim Hornung Jr., CSP, and industry consultant Diana Clonch teamed up for a SIMA webinar last week to address supply and purchasing considerations. Following are some of the key questions that were addressed:
- How does salt purchasing look on your balance sheet? Is it an asset or a liability?
- Is your customer billing aligned with how you purchase and pay for salt? Some recommend purchasing a year’s worth of salt in reserve. Unless you can afford to do that, how can you reconcile the purchasing timeline with your accounts to help cover the cost?
- How does your bank view your salt? Do they see it as an investment or cash sitting on the ground? Educating them is key in the event you need to tap a line of credit.
- Should you buy with cash or credit? If credit, do you use a credit card, house credit or lines of credit? It’s not always a cut-and-dry decision, but you must know the cost of your money and whether you can afford such a large cash outlay.
- Do you know your salt requirements per customer and per site to forecast supply?
- Do you have a restocking plan and backup vendors in place?
- What’s your Plan B in the event of a shortfall?
How to answer those questions, along with a review of best practices in salt supply and management, are available in SIMA’s Resource 24/7 Training Center. An archived version of the Salt Purchasing and Inventory Management webinar is online at www.sima.org/resources.