Leaders in facility management provide insight on cost savings during a crisis
Since mid-March, retailers and facility management leaders have been forced to navigate a crisis that altered nearly every aspect of their business. Chain Store Age caught up with three FM executives at a webcast to learn about their response to COVID-19 and how they cut costs during this critical time.
The panel included Jason Cesare, CFO of NEST, a leader in integrated facilities management, Craig Edge, VP of store development & facilities at JoAnn, and Randy Rokosz, director of procurement & Facilities at Boot Barn. The trio has more than 75 years of combined experience.
A clear take away from the discussion is the importance of an integrated approach to FM, which can lead to cost savings by analyzing the data, utilizing technology, and leaning on industry expertise. (A replay of the presentation is available here.)
“An integrated approach creates consistent data from across all the trades,” said JoAnn’s Edge.
“Within five days into the month, NEST can predict what you are going to spend,” added Rokosz of Boot Barn. “NEST put together a spend analysis and forecasting tool and they kick it out to me every single week. That way, I can look at different trades. I can take away (an expense) from a non-critical spend category and put it into a sales, safety or security category.”
In response to the pandemic, updated forecasting was top of mind for NEST and their clients, which includes JoAnn and Boot Barn.
“At NEST, we already had reporting and analysis in place – but soon after COVID, we realized that we needed to review what our clients were spending,” said NEST’s Cesare. “We developed a ‘COVID Savings Report.’ This report showed where spend was year-to-date verses a year ago, what spend was on hold or deferred, and more importantly, laid out the budgeted costs for the balance of the year.”
Acting quickly with consistent communication was important for Boot Barn and JoAnn, as the pandemic drastically affected their business and operations.
“The solid partnership with your suppliers and getting on a phone call once a week (is key),” explained Rokosz. “Everyone at NEST is approachable and they all think like a retailer. They allow you to be open with them and they allow the criticism and feedback.”
Cesare spoke in depth about helping their clients during these difficult times, even if it means lower revenue for NEST. He believes in the importance of acting as a strategic financial consultant to deliver more value to their clients.
“Value comes in various forms,” said Cesare. “Whether it’s through restructuring a company’s expense program or spotting anomalies in repairs data and reacting on behalf of our client. Additionally, we focused on keeping those stores maintained and maintaining that customer shopping experience.”
“NEST has leverage in the community,” added Cesare. “When we can gain price efficiencies with our service providers, we can pass along those savings to our clients and it’s a win for all parties in the long-term.”