Here’s a question I think you should honestly ask yourself: Are you effectively communicating the value of investment recovery within your organization?

One of the situations I’ve faced—and I’m sure you do too—is how to make IR so ingrained with the rest of the company’s mindset that we are never forgotten about or overlooked on a project involving surplus equipment or scrap/ recycled materials.

Ever heard (after the fact) that someone thought we only would want “the good stuff?” Or that someone thought we wouldn’t have the time or interest, so they let the contractor involved in the demo project write it into the scope? Ask yourself: Is our process simple enough? Are we fair and easy to do business with? Are we responsive enough to their needs? Do our clients really know what we do? We need to make sure that the internal departments we serve know as much as possible about us.

Our Investment Recovery Benchmark studies certainly have shown that IR consistently drive bottom line results for our organizations. Big time! Dollar-earned-for-dollar-spent, perhaps the most efficient and effective department within our respective organizations. And while we may not be looked upon in the same as key players in Procurement, Finance or Engineering, we certainly have a critical role in end-of-life assets, revenue generation, scrap management and environmental stewardship. So how do we communicate that?

Getting out and meeting the managers, supervisors and the people involved with the day-to-day work in these areas is still the best method. Articles in your company newsletters about projects in which IR had a major impact can result in additional awareness and business, but even if everyone read them, these have a limited shelf life. Offer to do short presentations showing a little about Investment Recovery to various staff meetings.

But you still need to be visible in the plants and on the shop floor. I’ve been involved in investment recovery over 25 years, and I’m still surprised to see how many employees don’t have a good understanding about who we are and what we do. Take the time to spread the word about your services, your profession, and the impact your department can make for your company. You’ll be glad you did–and your department and your company will both benfit.

This issue has some interesting articles to help underscore our value. There are two articles on the Circular Economy and how it may affect us in IR . Another article I found worthwhile was written by Michael Beardsley, CMIR , titled, “Keeping it Simple”…I couldn’t agree more! Sometimes bigger and more complex isn’t better when it comes to business processes.

The Investment Recovery Association Directors are meeting in Chicago in mid-October. We have a full agenda as we work towards wrapping up the final plans for our next conference, March 29-April 1, 2014 at the Palmer House Hilton in downtown Chicago’s famous Loop. If you’re reading this, you need to clear your schedule to join us…even for just a day.

For those of us who still have seasons, it’s about time to put up the lawn mower, get out the rakes and get the snow blower tuned-up. I wish you all the best as we head into the final months of 2014. See you in Chicago next March! Until then…keep promoting IR in your organization.

Todd Thompson, CMIR, Colorado Springs Utilities President, Investment Recovery Association tmthompson@csu.org