July 26, 2016 | Ed Carnevale
Connecting Program & Project Management to the Store Lifecycle
OK, we’ve all been there. Can’t find any information on which intestore design was used for a location that was built 6 years ago? Don’t know the brand or number of tons of HVAC on the location built 15 years ago? What are the current prototypes and layouts across the 150 remodels you are planning to rollout this year? You may find some information in one system, but then will likely need to reference multiple other systems to hopefully find the remaining data.
Often, the development department of multi-unit retailers find themselves spending countless hours digging into files to try and locatedetails they require to make key business decisions. More often than anyone wants to admit, that information is impossible to locate and they end up having to resurvey locations again and again to address questions and plan projects. When new projects are completed, the cycle continues – and the information is again relegated to a file or disconnected software system making a similar effort 5-10 years from now another costly and cumbersome one.
Over the years many companies have had to develop multiple point solutions to manage various parts of the business. Real Estate, Construction, Lease Administration and Facilities each have dedicated software systems that are disconnected from the others and typically none of them integrate with the accounting and procurement systems. Tracking down the information necessary to make business decisions becomes a major effort that may produce inaccurate, incomplete or no information at all.
This can have serious consequences for development as the full lifecycle of the property may be 20 to 30 years or more, touch multiple internal employees and external suppliers and make numerous changes and upgrades to the property.
DEVELOPMENT AT THE CENTER
Development is both a consumer and provider of key data that impacts both their processes, and other areas of the real estate lifecycle. The information developed through and by development supports and helps informs decisions made by departments such as facilities, merchandising and loss prevention. The inability to obtain timely and accurate information regarding new and existing locations has a negative effect on the efficiency of these and other departments that utilize the information to make appropriate business decisions.
For example, by collecting all the required data upfront – and memorializing business decisions that affect time, cost and design – retailers have the ability to go back to understand what affected profitability – and what the impact of remodeling had on the business. It also provides downstream functions, such as Facilities Management, a way of sourcing key data on equipment as well as warranty information.
Having timely access to accurate information allows the Facilities department and its 3rd party providers the ability to proactively understand and manage immediate life cycle decisions and future capital needs for furniture, fixtures and equipment. Just as important is the ability for Facilities to have a place to update the existing store records, thus allowing for accurate recordkeeping throughout the lifecycle of the location.
Development is also the keeper of the floor plan, which is often utilized by merchandising as they manage seasonal changes and additions and deletions of programs. When changes occur over the duration of the stores lifetime, Merchandising also requires access to the current information, which enables them to manage these potential changes to the store environment and not be surprised later by an altered plan.
And when it comes to remodeling, knowing a facility’s condition – whether it require a refresh or full upgrade - and having photographs and the ability to pull a record of all the equipment and fixtures on site without having to visit the site, as well as all the physical dimension and restrictions, saves both time and money. Say you want to add a new program to a set of 500 locations – think of the savings if you have the ability to access that information without resurveying each store to the tune of $300-$500 per location. Additionally, the time spent surveying locations can delay your ability to order the equipment and materials necessary to complete the remodels.
The challenge is that when you have disparate solutions that don’t speak to each other, the key information collected by - and required by – the development, facilities, merchandising and loss prevention departments is not easily accessed to utilize or update.
WHAT'S THE SOLUTION?
Having an integrated single solution that allows the user to build, manage and capture the events and decisions that are made throughout the property’s lifecycle will facilitate greatly improved decision making, and save time and money. The information that is developed and utilized to locate and select a site is then transitioned to the project where it’s executed against to build the store.
Once a construction is complete and the store is open, that information is then transitioned to the store’s record to be leveraged to determine future strategies for renewals, relocations, remodels, image upgrades and future programs that have yet to be developed. Not to mention allowing Facilities Departments the ability to effectively manage day to day maintenance and capital planning. Along the way there is a single source of history and data that is available for current and future decision making.
In today’s development and property management environment, timely access to accurate and up to date data is the key to quick and effective decision making and execution of capital investments.