The holy grail for any company is to be constantly operating at peak efficiency. It is a goal that few meet on any kind of consistent basis.
Often, however, there is a special product or service that can help one aspect of the business perform in a more efficient manner, saving the entity noticeable dollars on the bottom line. String enough of these successes together across multiple departments, and the overall cost savings can be quite dramatic, even for a complicated enterprise such as a casino resort. What follows are some case studies and product profiles of items that helped a casino department operate in a more streamlined, and profitable, fashion.
EFFICIENCY CASE STUDY 1
Choctaw Nation taps Casino Insight, a solution that integrates and automates the audit function
BY CASINO CASH TRAC
Choctaw Nation operates 21 properties in Oklahoma including resorts in Durant, Pocola, Grant, Stringtown, Atoka, Wilburton, McAlester, Heavner, Broken Bow, Idabel, Antlers, Poteau and Stigler. Keeping all these scattered properties on the same page and up to date when it comes to a complex function like auditing can be a monumental task, to say the least.
That is why the Choctaw Nation recently installed the Casino Insight suite of tools from Casino Cash Trac (CCT), a leading provider of software solutions and services. Casino Insight is an efficient way to track every cash and chip transaction for casinos and the only casino audit system (CAS) in the market.
The product captures financial transactions in the cage/vault and merges data from additional systems throughout the enterprise into a one of a kind audit and operational analytics tool.
Currency and chip management is central to casino operations. Developing a comprehensive cash management strategy is a key component to optimizing staff efficiency, reducing paper usage and enhancing profitability.
Casino Cash Trac’s technology and experience can transform cage, vault and revenue audit processes from a labor intensive, data entry process into a dynamic system that adds to bottom line and improves accountability.
Casino Insight enables their customers to:
• Streamline processes for cage/vault employees increasing efficiencies;
• Create a virtual library of all cage/vault documents, creating immediate savings by reducing paper and storage costs;
• Ensure appropriate levels of cash are maintained for kiosks, ATMs, cash dispensers and recyclers with gauges that can easily tell when it is time to refill, and reports in real time;
• Automate the revenue audit process;
• Support policies and procedures through an automated work flow that includes digital signatures;
• Perform cash balancing using a proprietary reporting tool and digital revenue audit process, reducing the risk of fraud and unidentified variances; and
• Recognize operational efficiency with a recognizable return on investment.
Casino Insight also offers full integration with casino management systems, food and beverage systems, hotel systems, recyclers/kiosks/ATMs/cash dispensers all on a single platform for superior auditing, management reporting, analytics and so much more.
Choctaw Nation uses Casino Insight to help integrate all its properties and make sure each is virtually connected, allowing great efficiencies across the enterprise. They have been pleased with the results this far.
“For us efficiency and accuracy are critical and we wanted to find a single solution that we could deploy across our entire organization,” said Christian Fenner, director of accounting for Choctaw Nation. “Casino Insight is the only solution to offer a full casino audit system which allows us to better concentrate our efforts on our core goals as an organization by eliminating several manual processes and spreadsheets across cage/vault and revenue audit. From the beginning CCT showed us it cares, their onsite presence showed great commitment and support to our team throughout the entire implementation.”
Casino Cash Trac has marketed its award-winning solution Casino Insight since 2012 with over 100 casinos utilizing the CAS solution. Casino Insight has proven to be an effective tool at over 100 casinos in 10 different states. Visit www.casinocashtrac.com for more information.
EFFICIENCY CASE STUDY 2
A better way
Clearwater Casino Resort used digital signage and wayfinding technology to maintain customer flow and promote the facility during and after an extensive renovation
Established in 1995, Clearwater Casino Resort in Suquamish, Wash., is home to a waterfront hotel, full-service spa, high-tech meeting spaces, and a casino with table games, slots, dedicated keno and poker rooms and much more. Recently, the facility underwent an extensive remodel and expansion, and the management staff worried wayfinding would become an ongoing issue for guests, who would need a way to locate games, restaurants and other amenities following construction.
The solution was to employ CastNET, a digital signage and IPTV solution developed by Alpha Video & Audio, a leading national audiovisual integrator, so the property could promote restaurants, events and general marketing messaging to better inform during construction and engage casino guests on video walls and displays around the property.
To further enhance the guest experience and to drive guest the all locations at the property, CastNET’s TouchVIEW product was added. CastNET’s TouchView displays casino maps on touchscreens that zoom and scroll along with animated walking paths to highlight where the guest would like to go. This digital “you are here” feature, and the ability to show guests where to find their favorite games, amenities, events and restaurants, was exactly what Clearwater Casino Resort was looking for to help guests.
“Digital signage was the answer,” said Chris Archunde, director of marketing for Port Madison Enterprises, an agency of the Suquamish Tribe that owns Clearwater Casino Resort. “We are encouraged to keep up with technology and this was a good solution for the property and our guests.”
Four interactive kiosks were placed around the property: two on the casino floor, one in the hotel lobby, and one in the resort lobby. Besides property and game wayfinding, interactive menu boards for all six restaurants on the property were included in the wayfinding system. Guests are able to browse food and beverage options for all the restaurants without the experience being “clunky,” Archunde said. Each kiosk also includes event and entertainment information with easy-to-update prices, dates, times and locations.
In addition to the wayfinding kiosks, Alpha Video integrated video walls and displays around the property to promote restaurants, events, and general marketing messaging to better inform and engage casino guests.
Clearwater Casino Resort was pleased with the results. “This is the first greeting people see when they enter the casino,” said Christopher Hart, graphics design manager for Clearwater Casino Resort. “We wanted to have something aesthetically pleasing and easy to update. Guest reaction has been great!”
Hart and Archunde were both surprised to see how many people are walking up and using the machines for not only wayfinding but to browse restaurant options as well. “Guests like being able to search for their favorite machine,” Archunde said.
CastNET is a digital signage and IPTV solution developed by Alpha Video & Audio, a leading national audiovisual integrator for over 45 years. CastNET’s easy-to-use and powerful content management software drives messages and motion graphics on thousands of screens around the world. Visit www.castnet.com for more information.
EFFICIENCY CASE STUDY 3
MotorCity Casino Hotel sought G&A savings, and turned to Profit Recovery Partners to make it happen
BY PROFIT RECOVERY PARTNERS
Executives at Detroit, Mich.-based MotorCity Casino Hotel were faced with a dilemma: they wanted to evaluate all general and administrative (G&A) expenses and ensure they were getting the best possible pricing from suppliers, but the property lacked the internal resources to audit expenses from all its vendors.
So MotorCity turned to Profit Recovery Partners (PRP), a professional services firm that develops, implements and manages cost-reduction solutions. PRP’s first step was to conduct its proprietary in-depth review of MotorCity’s G&A costs, a process that consists of the following steps:
Step 1: Discovery—To efficiently and effectively create an assessment that will provide clients with accurate findings of potential savings opportunities, PRP requests a 12-month A/P report. Once the data is analyzed, PRP will work with the client to identify the vendors to include in the Comprehensive Review. Based on the vendor scope, a one-to three-month sampling of invoices and contracts will be collected.
Step 2: Comprehensive Review—The complimentary Comprehensive Review allows PRP to investigate clients’ potential savings opportunities. This assessment includes: savings opportunities with the client using the same vendor and same service, as well as savings which require vendor and process modifications, cost gap analysis, vendor contract observations and a labor resource analysis.
Step 3: Strategy Development—Upon the completion of the Comprehensive Review, the client has the option to move forward by executing a service agreement with PRP. Once the service agreement has been executed, PRP’s team will conduct a more thorough review by collecting 2-12 months of vendor data and contracts for all vendors. PRP’s Strategy Development team works with the client to identify savings strategies and will implement approved strategies.
Step 4: Strategy Execution—Execution of strategies will be managed by PRP with the assistance of a point person from the client. Execution includes (but is not limited to) negotiations, contract redlines, communication recommendations, project management, staff transitions and issue resolution. Implementation timeframes will depend on strategy selection and savings will be implemented in phases throughout this time period.
Step 5: Ongoing Program Management—PRP’s Solutions Management team is responsible for ensuring that the implemented savings are preserved and enhanced through line item verification. In addition, the Solutions Management team will continue to identify and present new savings opportunities throughout the term of the engagement at no additional charge. The Solutions Management team is available at all times during the engagement, and will report at least quarterly on key metrics and value add opportunities.
For MotorCity, this process worked the following way: After presenting MotorCity with a Comprehensive Review that quantified potential savings available to MotorCity, PRP conducted a holistic assessment of four key areas of MotorCity’s G&A spend: merchant services, outsourced printing, janitorial supplies and mobility services.
In this strategy development phase of the project, PRP negotiated with MotorCity’s vendors from those four areas and secured significant rate reductions on the casino’s behalf. PRP then compared the new rates with its proprietary benchmarking database to ensure that MotorCity’s contracts were best in class.
Afterward, PRP recommended several behavior changes to MotorCity’s procurement staff that would secure even more savings for the firm. By the end of the engagement, in those four expense areas alone, MotorCity will realize a total cost savings of over $300,000 annually.
“Why wouldn’t a CFO go through the cost reduction process with PRP if this much money could be saved,” MotorCity CFO Bruce Dall said.
Profit Recovery Partners is a professional services firm that develops, implements and manages cost-reduction solutions for FORTUNE 1000 companies, law firms, private equity firms and private companies throughout North America. PRP’s spend management, supplier management and procurement strategies have resulted in more than $3.8 billion in client savings. Visit www.prpllc.com for more information.
EFFICIENCY CASE STUDY 4
A clean slate
Eliminating trial-and-error cleaning product selection in casinos
BY MICHAEL WILSON, AFFLINK
Let’s peel the roof off a 35,000-square-foot casino so we can see how many different areas it has, most of which must be cleaned daily. Then let’s start right in the middle with the “casino pit.” That’s where all the high rollers are playing blackjack, craps and roulette.
To the left of the pit we see two large bar areas and, beyond that, three restaurants, including a more formal, high-end restaurant.
Surrounding the entire “pit area” is the rest of the gaming area, filled with slot machines, blackjack and baccarat tables, and lots and lots of people. And of course there is also a 1,500-seat entertainment showroom; retail shops and stores along a separate corridor; restrooms scattered here and there; and, because the casino is part of a hotel, a nearby lobby, office area and more shops.
The typical observer likely sees all of these areas as one huge amusement park for adults. But a janitorial distributor working with the housekeeping staff and administrators of the casino instead sees a massive area that needs all kinds of different cleaning solutions, products and equipment to keep the casino clean and healthy on a daily basis.
Selecting what may be many different products can be a daunting task, and with thousands of people using the facility every day, there’s no time for a trial-and-error approach to cleaning product selection. The right products need to be selected from the beginning so that effective cleaning can be achieved right away.
Things get all the more complicated when the casino is also striving to promote sustainability, especially when it comes to reducing waste, as well as transferring to a green cleaning strategy. This throws an entirely new set of cards—excuse the expression—on the table that casino administrators must take into consideration.
CASINO CLEANING NEEDS
Before addressing cleaning product selection challenges and solutions, let’s take a look at what it takes to clean this 35,000-square-foot casino. Let’s say there are 50 custodial workers in charge of cleaning the casino. Most start work at 5:00 a.m. and must finish their cleaning tasks by 8:30 a.m. (These are best times do to less foot traffic)
As you can imagine, one of the biggest jobs is to vacuum the acres and acres of carpeting in the casino. This is a time-consuming process, and because there are always concerns that someone will trip on a vacuum power cord, custodial workers must spend almost as much time making sure traffic lanes are safe for early morning gamblers as they do vacuuming.
But vacuuming is just one of scores of duties. Essentially, the custodial crew must be experts at cleaning just about any surface, including such things as crystal chandeliers, slot machines, marble floors and countertops, game table felt and also spot cleaning those miles of carpeting. A mistake could scratch a mirror, etch a marble countertop or damage carpet.
And beyond that, according to Gary Sheahan, former environmental services manager at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind., casino guests can be quite fussy about the appearance of the casino . . . and quick to complain. Many expect red carpet treatment as soon as they walk in the door, and this extends to the overall cleanliness and appearance of the casino. “[The] clientele want a clean environment to play in; they don’t want to be sitting at a machine that has ashes in it,” Sheahan said.
And while our focus here so far has been mainly on the gaming areas, don’t forget that custodial workers also must clean the restaurant outlets, restrooms and other common areas of the facility. It’s a lot of work that must be accomplished in a very short period of time.
To help make sure that all the work is completed in a timely manner, many casinos “workload” cleaning using guidelines such as 612 Cleaning Times, from ISSA—The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association. This booklet lists how long it should take, on average, to clean each area for different cleaning tasks, from vacuuming the casino to cleaning a sink. However, because of the short work time period in casinos, in most cases, custodial workers must beat the averages listed in the booklet, so administrators should just use it as a guide.
DISTRIBUTOR AS CONSULTANT
As mentioned earlier, not only must custodial workers be cleaning experts, but the cleaning products selected must be the right products to address the many different cleaning tasks in the facility. To get product selection right, casino administrators must work with an astute janitorial distributor familiar with the challenges and cleaning needs of a casino. And what administrators need to look for is someone who will become a partner, not a salesperson.
Typically, this means selecting a distributor who is a consultant. Often this is referred to as consultative selling or value-added selling. A working definition of consultative selling could be the following:
“An exchange of information with casino administrators and custodial workers to uncover the true cleaning needs of the facility and to help them select products that best address those needs.”
Please note: Administrators should always include housekeepers and custodial workers in the cleaning product selection process. Very often there is a resistance from cleaning workers when new products are selected without their input. Including them in the product selection process helps minimize if not eliminate this resistance.
However, even the most astute distributor will not be aware of every cleaning product or type of equipment available for the effective cleaning of a casino. Along with an array of cleaning chemicals and solutions, administrators and custodial workers will also need to select such things as:
• High-speed burnishers for polishing floors;
• A grout cleaning machine or system to clean grout and ceramic tile in the restrooms;
• Degreasers and stainless steel cleaners for kitchen areas;
• Power washers to clean exterior areas;
• Carpet cleaning extractors, carpet shampooers, as well as dry carpet cleaning systems (and the cleaning solutions these machines need); and
• Supplies for restrooms and common areas, including paper products, trash can plastic liners, soap and hand sanitizer.
And with more than 1,300 manufacturers making a variety of these chemicals, tools, supplies and equipment, you can see how complicated it can quickly become selecting the right product for each casino cleaning challenge. Because of this, new online “dashboard” systems (some of which are free to casino administrators) along with other computer programs have been developed to help with the product selection process.
And because the casino in our scenario is now transferring to a green cleaning strategy and wants to begin selecting only products made from renewable resources, this complicated product selection process becomes all the more complex.
For instance, many administrators believe that all green cleaning products are essentially the same. After all, they are designed to meet the same green standards and criteria. However, that is not the case at all. Some of these green products perform better than others, some perform better on certain surfaces than others, some are more cost effective, some are easier to work with and so on. Plus, to promote sustainability, the casino wants to select cleaning solutions that are available in large multi-gallon containers. This reduces packaging, transport, and fuel needs, which also means fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
When considering cleaning equipment, a whole new set of issues appears. For instance, the casino wants to select only quiet vacuum cleaners. Plus, it may want to select only those vacuum cleaners and carpet extractors that are approved by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) and bear the CRI’s Seal of Approval (SOA).
These online dashboard systems mentioned earlier and some computer software programs are designed to help address all of these issues. They enable administrators to make what we can call “data-based” product selections, based on the cleaning needs and criteria of the casino, eliminating trial-and-error purchasing, a key concern in casinos.
In addition, selecting the right products and equipment from the start helps reduce procurement costs, reduce storage needs, cut down on cleaning times, improve labor productivity, enhance cleaning efficiencies, and ensure more effective, healthier cleaning.