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7 Lessons in Strategic Sourcing from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

Just because it’s Back-to-School season for kids doesn’t mean we adults can’t learn a thing or two. That’s why I created some Continuing Energy Education using famous quotes from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a classic movie about the importance of getting an education in the real world. It should be a good primer on some of the finer points of energy management. So, without further delay, please enjoy these seven lessons on strategic sourcing.

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Ferris: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Lesson 1: Don’t miss the markets.
Energy markets move pretty fast. That’s why it’s important to look around once in a while at market conditions and price drivers – e.g., current supply, market demand, feedstock pricing, current and historical trends. Having a strategy in place to proactively assess markets can ensure sure you don’t miss strong buying opportunities.

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Economics Teacher: Bueller?… Bueller?… Bueller?

Lesson 2: The devil’s in the details.
Can’t get an answer from your supplier when it comes to the tough questions? With energy contracts, you have to sweat the small stuff – the Ts & Cs (terms and conditions), price components and performance elements, such as balancing or accurate billing. A meticulous review is the key to avoiding unnecessary risk and cost over the life of your contract.

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Simone: My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it’s pretty serious.

Lesson 3: Go straight to the source.

Thankfully, there are better ways to gather market intelligence than from your best friend’s sister’s boyfriend. From market volatility to regulatory changes to physical and financial hedging, the implications of bad intel can be pretty serious. Be sure your source is reliable.

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Ed Rooney: I don’t trust this kid any further than I can throw him.
Grace: Well, with your bad knee, Ed, you shouldn’t throw anybody.

Lesson 4: Trust, but verify.
As we pointed out in a recent whitepaper, you should use supplier competition in deregulated energy markets to your advantage. We strongly recommend conducting a competitive RFP prior to signing or renewing any energy contract. This doesn’t mean you can’t trust your incumbent supplier, but we think trust should be re-earned from contract to contract.

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Ferris: Four thousand restaurants in the downtown area, I pick the one my father goes to.
Cameron: We’re pinched, for sure.
Ferris: Only the meek get pinched. The bold survive.

Lesson 5: Be bold. (But not too bold.)
There may not be 4,000, but there are certainly plenty of energy contract structures out there, and picking the right one for your organization can sometimes be difficult. Understanding your options is a smart (and bold) way to balance risk and reward.

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Ferris: Ladies and gentlemen, we’d like to play a little tune for you. It’s one of my personal favorites and I’d like to dedicate it to a young man who doesn’t think he’s seen anything good today.

Lesson 6: See the big picture.
If you only focus on rising energy prices, it’s easy to miss opportunities to leverage the size and shape of your energy profile. Strategically managing demand can be very advantageous, for instance, and we’ve also seen a number of emerging integrated opportunities that combine the supply- and demand-side. Sometimes you don’t see anything good until you look at the bigger picture.

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Garage Attendant: You fellas have nothing to worry about. I’m a professional.
Cameron: A professional what?

Lesson 7: Seek professional help.
Optimizing energy sourcing opportunities can be a very big task and many companies turn to energy consultants. If you’re looking for help, we recommend you seek out reputable, independent and unbiased energy experts. That way you know what you’re paying for their advice and, more importantly, confident you’re getting value in return.

So, with that in mind, if you’re looking for advice on sourcing, strategic energy management or any other topic across energy and sustainability, we can help. Just click or leave me a comment below. Also, feel free to leave your favorite FBDO quotes below.

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Read any of my previous posts here.

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You’re still here? It’s over. Go home. Go.

 


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