10 ways to create Efficient and Effective Retail Facilities
Updated: Jul 11, 2019
Brick and mortar retail continues to become more competitive by the day. Getting customers into your store is more difficult than ever before. With this in mind, you need to make sure that they receive the best in-store experience possible, EVERY time they are your guest. Choosing the right facility maintenance professionals is one way to do this. Here are some other steps to help you achieve this goal.
1. Spend intelligently - Despite the importance physical stores play in a company's overall strategy, facilities is often seen as a cost center and a necessary evil. When money is tight, funding for FMS is frequently one of the first items on the chopping block. With this is mind, it is crucial to spend intelligently and show a return on the investment that you make in your locations.
2. Prevention is better than cure - Continuing on from #2, the first aspect of facilities to typically be cut is preventive maintenance programs. These will either be completely eliminated or reduced from quarterly to bi-annual services.
3. One trip resolution - A family have been struggling with a squeaky floorboard for several months and just haven't been able to find a carpenter capable of solving the problem. They have had 10 "professionals" take a look at the situation, and still no resolution. The 11th tradesman take his hammer, and with one tap solves this ongoing problem. His invoice comes in for $60. Two dollars to hammer, 58 dollars to know where to hammer.
4. Knowledge based decision making - With all of the information and data points available to us these days, it is crazy to make 'blind-decisions'. The information that you need to make the right decision is right there, and by using it you will save time, money, stress, and resources! The key thing is making sure that the data is valid and garbage isn't being fed into the system, as you know what will then be coming out of it...
5. Tracking AND enforcing warranties - How many of us lose thousands of dollars of our own money over our lifetime due to unenforced warranties? That broken appliance, the device that stops performing after just a couple of weeks, or the food that you have to throw out before it's sell are not typically high-dollar tickets, but you are wasting money by not enforcing the warranties and guarantees that come with them. Take this waste and multiple it over several decades and you will start to see 5 figure numbers of wasted resources. Now apply this to your portfolio of 200 stores and you will start to see 6 and potentially 7 figures disappearing down the drain and negatively impacting your company's bottom line.
6. Accountability - Too often facility professionals are tasked with so many responsibilities, that they literally spend 10 to 14 hours per day putting out fires. This prevents you from getting out of the weeds to work on higher level items, and limits the follow ups that you are able to perform.
7. Selecting a partner - As with everything in life, selecting the right running-mate is a critical decision that can make or break your success. If you take the time to diligently the vendor partners that you will turn to in your time of need, you can perform your duties knowing that your provider has their responsibilities under control.
How nice would it be to have a vendor partner that you could trust implicitly, available to your store associates 24/7/365? The feeling that you would get from knowing that your stores were in safe hands and you can go to a family dinner without the worry of an emergency service request interrupting you? The ability to work on strategic items and solve the cause of the problem, before it becomes a problem? The comfort of knowing that you have a fully vested partner in your corner who is committed to your success and well being?
This is all possible if you just spend the time finding the right group to be an extension of your team. Don't believe me? Schedule a consultation today and explore how your days will change when you have our team of trade expert project managers at your disposal.
8. Clear expectations - As a former teacher and a parent of three young boys, I understand the importance of setting clear expectations and holding people accountable. One of the most popular books for educators is "The First Days of School" where one of the key ideas is establishing expectations and explaining the rules of the classroom from the very first minute you are introduced to your students. You share what is acceptable behavior, what isn't, what the consequences will be if expectations are not met, and then comes the challenge of CONSISTENTLY enforcing them. When engaging with a service provider set out your expectations from the first interaction, schedule regular check-ins (daily reports, weekly conference calls, quarterly business reviews etc.), and hold them accountable for their actions. As any of you with children can relate, this can be exhausting on the front-end, but once the foundations are in place, you will experience much simpler days, better value for money, and higher performing facilities.
9. Frequent communication - In the world that we live in we are always communicating, whether it be directly through face-to-face conversations, over the phone, or through email, or indirectly through social media, news outlets, and podcasts. Stay engaged with your store associates and service providers to stay on top of things and have the ability to deal with things before they become serious problems.
10. Gather feedback - As a director of facilities you are responsible for a large portfolio of properties, and have numerous stakeholders to listen to. Be sure to frequently gather information from customers, store associates, and your vendor partners to continue to make intelligent decisions. Provide surveys to your store associates regarding the customer service they experienced from the HVAC tech that visited their store. Ask your customers how they feel about the comfort, safety and general experience of their in-store engagement with your brand.
From our 25 years of experience in the retail facility environment, these are the key ideas that we hear from the retail store maintenance professionals that we partner with. This list might seem overwhelming, and you are probably wondering how you are meant to implement this behavior when you can't seem to ever catch up on service requests. However, we promise that it is possible!
By partner with a service provider who can remove the fire-fighting responsibilities from your daily to-do list, you will be able to get out of the weeds and start working on, rather than in, your business. Our goal is to help our clients to quit their careers as "fire-fighters", and make the shift to becoming strategic facility professionals where they can enhance the in-store experience their guests receive, positively impact the bottom-line, and continue to grow their brand strength.
If this sounds appealing to you, we would love to connect. Schedule an appointment today to discuss how partnering with Royal could completely change your daily activities as a retail facility professional. We look forward to working with you!