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  • Writer's pictureJamie Leeper

Using immersive technology to reduce construction costs

Updated: Jul 11, 2019

As part of a national program, the team at Royal Services provided multi-site project management solutions in the form of construction services, vendor management, low voltage services, and electrical services across a roster of more than 400 stores for a client in the telecommunications sector. Royal Services provided one point of contact for this entire project, meaning streamlined communication, uniform expectations, consistent deliverables and continuous improvement throughout the process. Throughout their project, Royal's team of construction project managers are able to use the power of immersive technology to capture scans of the store environment without needing to physically be onsite. This provides a tool for the client to use to ensure corporate compliance across their entire portfolio, as well as valuable data and images that can be used on future projects to eliminate the need to make site visits in person.

Dollhouse view captured using immersive technology
Dollhouse view of luxury retail store captured through immersive technology

Royal Services' Refresh and Remodel team led by Travis Hagen, have surveyed 409 stores and completed over 350 front of house and back of house retail refreshes over the past 9 months. The project, which started in September 2018 and is still currently running, is part of a national initiative to increase brand strength and consistency across a portfolio of almost 2000 locations. As a retailer and wireless carrier within the telecommunications industry, the client's retail environment is always changing, and with this in mind there was a need to get all locations back on the same page. These environments typically experience between 8 and 10 changes each year including fixture resets, refreshes, remodels, retail merchandising roll-outs, technology upgrades and branding material updates. With all of these changes taking place there were a lot of inconsistencies between locations which prompted the surveys and execution of follow up work.

With the 400 sites included in this program, Royal Services' team of dedicated project managers surveyed, quoted, and performed construction services across an 18 state territory. The scope ranged from patching and painting a wall on the sales floor to a complete store refresh consisting of front of house & back of house paint, floor replacement, ceiling replacement, & fixture repairs/replacement. The stores ranged in size but the average was roughly 2000-2500 square feet which is a typical footprint for the stores that Royal Services work with. Royal Services drove further value to the client through their unique ability to bundle services across a number of trades and knowledge areas.

Exterior 2D and 3D store scans collected using immersive technology tools
2D and 3D images using immersive imaging technology

With many of their clients, Royal Services provides turnkey solutions from procurement and logistics, all the way through to completing the punch and ongoing facility maintenance. A niche that Royal Services has made their own in recent years is the ability to bridge the gap between construction and technology which is feared by many other contractors due to the complex equipment, the ever-changing nature of technology, and the number of internal stakeholders involved in such projects (think construction, IT, loss prevention, real estate, legal, retail merchandising, ops etc.).

The most common challenge that Royal Services was tasked with cleaning up was that of correcting improperly laid undercarpet power once the floor had been removed and it was possible to evaluate the underlying existing conditions. In many situations, a scope of this nature would require vendors versed in construction, handyman, electrical and low-voltage, but with Royal Services, we bundle these services to provide our client partners with a single point of contact for their multi-site project management needs. This saves time, money, and resources but most importantly minimizes in-store disruption so that your sales are not negatively impacted.

Royal Services' scope includes surveying each location and project managers evaluate the survey photos to provide feedback for the client and provide advice as to which areas of work should be prioritized. Royal Services has been sourcing and scheduling these surveys with preferred vendors, many of which perform work at hundreds of sites on an annual basis. Based on the survey information and feedback from the client, Royal Services sourced crews based on the client provided schedule and the logistics associated with each location.

For stores that require a full remodel, upon completion of the work, Royal Services' technical experts can perform a 3-D scan of the newly finished store interior. This immersive technology provides a cloud based file which can be used by all stakeholders including facility maintenance, loss prevention, IT, retail merchandising, and real estate, to manage the site moving forward. This data provides a baseline regarding site conditions, and through the proprietary immersive technology app, any future updates can be added to the scans through a simple picture taken by a technician or store representative in the field. This is a great tool for multi-site project managers, who oversee large geographic territories and are looking for alternatives to having to travel to each individual site, while maintaining visibility of all locations.

One of the huge costs associated with multi-site brands is travel costs required to ensure corporate requirements are met across all sites. Left unmanaged, the store environment can drift, thus diluting your brand strength and the customer's experience. With access to these immersive imaging files at your fingertips, you have an up to date record of what the store looks like and can take a virtual tour of the store from the comfort of your office.

The following gallery shows some of the incredible images that are captured through the immersive imaging platform. The raw data is collected through manual cameras and drones, is 'stitched' together and then presented to the client in a proprietary viewing platform. You will see still photos, remotely measuring ceiling height through a point cloud, and a dollhouse view of the entire leasehold.

At the start of the project, the client provided the materials ordered by the Royal Services team and the project management team scheduled the logistics of those materials to site. The team coordinated with the field teams based on material arrivals, and collaborated with the store associates to coordinate all parties, while at the same time providing real-time updates to the corporate office. This communication and attention to detail is especially important when a project is complex, across hundreds of sites, and involves numerous parties all of which are responsible for differing aspects of the project.

The material orders were based on scope evaluations from the surveys that our team performed and were placed directly with the client's material vendor. At the start of this project the material orders were placed and Royal Services had to wait for deliveries to arrive. The line of communication during the freight process was creating issues with our vendor scheduling and this had a knock-on effect on the time taken to complete the scope at each site. Arrivals were not being communicated and often times the regional distribution center refused to send the material to the designated store. If allowed to continue, the inefficiencies of this process would have caused the project to run over schedule and over budget, neither of which are desired outcomes for any of the stakeholders.

In learning of the troubles with white glove delivery, Royal Services put together a proposal for the client to eliminate the white glove scope from the material vendor and take on the responsibility. The team of critical thinking problem solvers acted fast and created a mid-project solution that eliminated the middle-man. Vendors scheduled to be on site adjusted their plans, picked up the deliveries from the distribution center and hand unloaded them on location.

If you are employed within the field of multi-site project management, I know there are several aspects of this project that you too have experienced. If you are not involved in this industry, don't be scared off by all of the challenges described above. The key thing that we have found since our foundation in 1993 is to look for win-win situations where all parties can be successful, own your mistakes, over-communicate, always be thinking of ways to improve the process, and set clear goals and expectations on the front end of the project so all stakeholders are on the same page.

If you are faced with a challenging project and are interested in finding out more about how bundling services with Royal Services and the use of immersive technology can help you, please schedule a call today. We look forward to learning more about your responsibilities, and working with you to optimize your future projects.

Schedule your complimentary immersive imaging scan HERE

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