Behind the scenes of Schill Grounds Management

September 21, 2016 -  By

Photo: Schill Grounds ManagementSchill Grounds Management opened its doors to Northeast Ohio landscape professionals Sept. 15 for an evening of learning, insight and networking.

The Ohio Landscape Association tapped the North Ridgeville, Ohio-based company to host its 2016 facility tour because of Schill’s 20-year reputation of eco-friendly, innovative and profitable business practices.

With three locations, Schill provides year-round services to its commercial clients in the Northern Ohio market.

The facility tour included stations on sales techniques, training and onboarding, sustainability programs, equipment close-up, ISO certification, operations and technology.

Led by Schill personnel, each station gave attendees a brief look at how the company runs day-to-day.

Following the tour, attendees had the opportunity to network with other area professionals and talk to Schill team members about topics addressed during the event.

Focusing on eco-friendly practices

Photo: Schill Grounds Management

Rick Izold, client care specialist, talks to a group about the switch to propane mowers and how the maintenance crew adjusted to the change.

Schill has made an organizational effort to employ sustainable practices, with initiatives to reduce paper use and move to clean fuel vehicles.

Three years ago, Schill launched another environmentally motivated initiative by switching to propane mowers. Today, almost 80 percent of the mower fleet runs on propane. After adjusting to the learning curve, the crew is fully behind the move.

There have been many benefits. According to the maintenance team, a full tank of propane stretches farther than gasoline, sometimes up to a full day, and offers more consistent prices than ever-fluctuating gasoline prices. Plus, most of the maintenance needs are relatively similar.

Jerry Schill, co-owner and president of Schill, said switching to propane was the right move for his company. The fuel’s positive impact on the environment was the major factor in the decision.

“Propane produces a clean burn with no pollutants,” he said. “Plus, propane is a readily available, predictable source of energy that also creates jobs in our own marketplace.”

The switch also helps out propane dealers in the area. Summer is the off-season for the propane industry, so the Schill team’s use of the fuel helps local businesses during the industry’s traditionally slow months. It’s a win-win, according to Schill.

But that doesn’t mean that propane is right for every company, Schill said.

“It’s another tool in the toolbox,” he said. “Just because it works for us doesn’t mean it will 100 percent work for another business.”

Photo: Schill Grounds Management

At the end of the day, team members bring back their tablets and plug them in for the night.

The company has also reduced its paper use. Each morning when the crews are gearing up to head out for the day, they grab their tablet. The tablets equipped with Aspire, a business management system on which crews compile reports from the field. It’s been an efficient way to get quotes together for clients and reduce waste. Surprisingly, the Schill team has yet to break a tablet.

Additionally, the company has launched initiatives to use bio-nutritional fertilizers and grass clippings to create its own mulch. Other green practices include reusing the best parts of mowers and scrapping the rest when it comes time to replace the unit. The company’s account managers even drive Toyota Priuses.

Best practices

Schill’s client mandate can be summed up by its C.A.R.E Commitment: Consistency, Accessibility, Reliability and Expertise. With an in-depth audit system, scheduled service calls and digital service help desk to keep them organized, Schill prides itself on its ability to provide customers with dedicated and personalized service.

Additionally the Schill team operates by the Sundown Rule, meaning they address any issue a customer has by sundown of the same day. Every attempt to address issues by the end of the day is made—whether that means resolving the problem or communicating a plan of action to be taken as soon as possible.

Kelly Limpert

About the Author:

Kelly Limpert is a graduate of Ohio University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communication from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Her background in online journalism and advertising aids LM in developing a strong online presence.

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