Cox Communications provides video, voice, data and security services to more than six million residential and commercial customers. Despite our size—Cox is the third-largest cable provider in the nation—we’re relatively new to investment recovery. Prior to 2010, we had no dedicated investment recovery resources. Ownership of asset retirement functions was mixed across corporate and local market teams, and strategically, the primary focus of disposition activities was cost reduction. At the start of 2010, we piloted an investment recovery program in the Arizona market, and our first dedicated employee was hired. We knew we had a lot to learn. We needed to build a program that could quickly scale to support the larger corporate organization, so we sought input from industry experts, our own legal, supply chain, finance, accounting, tax and risk management experts, as well as our corporate and local leadership teams. Most importantly, we included the internal customer groups that owned the assets in building processes, procedures and policies that met their needs. The collaborative foundation we built has since successfully carried us through the transition to a corporate program that was rolled out to all markets in 2011. Four dedicated investment recovery analysts now support the local markets in their respective corporate supply chain regions. As we rolled out the program to each new customer group, we found that trust was the universal requirement for successful investment recovery activities. To build that trust, we worked hard to create a collaborative environment where internal customers were engaged in customizing processes to meet their needs. We were patient with the fact that their goals didn’t always appear to align with ours, persistent in showing them how they did align, and made sure to communicate our results as their success stories. Cox’s investment recovery team handles all idle assets and waste streams. We’ve literally monetized everything from boulders and boots to high-value communications network gear. With only one person supporting diverse groups across each large regional footprint, we have to be strategic about where to focus our time and resources. Therefore, our analysts manage toward three core areas: internal customer service, vendor management and innovation. Our primary focus is always on building internal customer trust, as early identification of idle assets has the most significant impact on the recovery value we can deliver. Housed within the Supply Chain Planning organization, which drives all procurement activity nationwide, we work to avoid unnecessary purchases by making regional planners aware of surplus available for redeployment.
At the Scottsdale conference, Paul Hoffman, CMIR, El Paso Corp.; Wayne Poole, Eli Lilly; and Kris Waters, CMIR, Cox Communications, shared their “Here’s how we handle IR in our organization” experiences. For assets that are not candidates for redeployment, we sell directly to qualified buyers through negotiated sale or forward auction, to contracted high-volume buyers and to niche end-user markets through specialized sales partners. We also partner with local community relations teams to donate select asset categories to local charities. Local facilities and supply chain operations teams are integral to our success as they support us on every recovery, so they are our primary internal customer service focus. Our first priority in partnering with these teams is to have a positive operational impact. Cox Communications has a multi-billiondollar business to run that isn’t investment recovery, so we work hard to ensure that our activities don’t stand in the way of standard operations and that we add value by freeing up space and eliminating potential safety hazards, in addition to our bottom-line cost benefit. Our program has steadily grown over its young life, and we know that we’ve just scratched the surface. Looking forward, we plan to continue our expansion into new internal customer groups and to optimize asset management at Cox by integrating sound investment recovery strategies into decisions made throughout the asset life cycle. “Most importantly, we included the internal customer groups that owned the assets in building processes, procedures and policies that met their needs.” Kris Waters, CMIR, Senior Investment Recovery Analyst, Cox Communications, LLC, West Region 623.328.3274