Going green may be the right thing to do to become more environmentally responsible. But today’s hotel-casino operators also must pay close attention to the fiscal bottom line.
Happily, the two in many cases are not mutually exclusive, and going green in some cases can even be less expensive than non-green alternatives, according to William Langmade, the founder and president of Dallas-based Purchasing Management International, one of the leading hospitality procurement companies in the world. The company has globally sourced and procured more than $1.5 billion in hotel, resort and casino furnishings, operating equipment and systems and construction materials. As interest in green initiatives has increased, PMI has focused on becoming more educated in that area. Langmade went through a certification process to become a LEED accredited professional. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the U.S. Green Building Council’s rating system to recognize environmentally healthy quality standards in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.
PMI helps educate clients about the benefits of recycling during renovations while staying abreast of myriad green product available for a reasonable cost. The company strives to buy products from environmentally sensitive factories worldwide, reduce the impact of transporting items and to cut the amount of packaging waste or divert that waste from our landfills through recycling. Besides its green expertise, PMI has other strengths that bring hotel and gaming operators through its doors, including its ability to source worldwide for products and its expertise in project management.
“Worldwide sourcing is an extremely important value that a purchasing agent brings to the process just because it’s a global marketplace that we deal with in today’s world,” he said. “In the gaming world, most of our clients have internal purchasing departments, but yet we still do most of their projects, and the reason is that what we do is project-oriented, versus purchasing day-to-day linens, or food and beverage or replenishable items. What we do is very specific to a project, a timeline, a budget, and most people don’t have that expertise in house and that’s why we get hired.”
Langmade noted that the company started in Dallas in 1993 and over time has become one of the largest volume purchasing and procurement firms in the country. “And the number one thing that we focus on is the gaming industry,” Langmade said.
He noted PMI’s first project in the gaming industry was a 1,100-room tower at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. “We finished that, and then all of a sudden, we’ve been having our door knocked down, and we’ve been very fortunate to list with all of the major hotel companies in Las Vegas and outside of Vegas,” he said, citing Harrah’s Entertainment, Boyd Gaming, MGM Mirage and Isle of Capri as just a sampling of PMI’s clients.
Today, almost half of PMI’s client base comes from the gaming industry, from major players on down. More and more clients are becoming interested in LEED, not necessarily to be green, but to meet the increasingly required standards by cities and state governments.
“There is a bit of a disconnect between what is said and what is really done on FF&E. If you are a LEED certified building, FF&E [furniture, fixtures and equipment] really doesn’t affect a LEED certification to any great degree at this time,” Langmade said. He said a company may be able get extra points for its LEED rating by recycling trash like cardboard and carpet. But for the most part, “for the companies that say ‘We have a true green DNA,’ most of the time what they’re talking about is on the operational side, not on the renovation side.”
And some aren’t quite on board the green train yet. “We have had clients where we have said we can recycle all of your carpet in your building, and they say, “we don’t want to hear about it; we just want to get this thing done, so if the contractor picks up that carpet and takes it away, that’s all we care about,’” Langmade said.
So PMI goes directly to the contractor and offers the contractor a way to save time and money taking the carpet to the dump. “We say, ‘If you bring the carpet to the dock, I’ll arrange to have someone pick it up and you don’t have to drive it to the dump and pay the dump fees or I’ll introduce you to someone who will take it. That has been occurring now for the last 12 months for us on a regular basis, and they [the contractors] love it. And it’s not a green thing to them; it’s a money thing.”