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Focus On Facilities Management


Keeping stores in peak condition remains the top priority of retail facility managers, who are increasingly being asked to do more with less. Chain Store Age spoke with Lauryn Blank, CEO of Global Facility Management & Construction, about the impact of technology on store maintenance and other trends. She also provided some timely advice for winter challenges.

What trends are you seeing in retail facility management?

There has been an increase in the use of score carding by retailers, and we are excited about the positive impact the trend is having on Global. With the data, clients can see how well we are performing and compare our numbers with our competitors for an apples-to-apples review.

Another trend is the use of GPS and mobile check-in tools. These provide an added means of validation that doesn’t interrupt store personnel through repeated use of their phone lines. With the adoption of smartphones sharply increasing year over year, we envision GPS and mobile check-in eventually becoming the standard in lieu of the widely used IVR (interactive voice response) systems.

In light of last year’s bad winter, what advice do you have regarding snow and ice removal?

The best thing retailers can do is to start planning early. The ability to negotiate rates prior to the season and secure materials that become scarce in a snow event is crucial to a successful plan.

The next step is ensuring access to forecasting tools, which advise in advance of an incoming event as early as possible. Monitoring weather forecasts for a large retailer can be a full-time job, so it helps to sign up for early warning forecasting tools. This enables you to receive notification of a pending weather event without having to devote time and resources to monitoring the forecasts for all of your locations.

Upon completion of the snow event, neutralizing the salt on the sales floor is key to preserving the asset. Salt eats through floor finishes and can damage wood and other flooring materials.

Tell us a little about Global Facility Management & Construction.

Since its founding in 2004, Global has been focused on providing facility maintenance services to commercial clients nationwide. It has grown into one of the leading facility management companies in the industry and has performed more than 475,000 work orders across more than 165 different clients to date.

Global provides real-time communication on every ticket we receive. Our proprietary management system, GEMS, is state of the art and facilitates our entry of real-time status updates for all work orders.

Our areas of expertise include repair services, floor maintenance and cleaning, rollouts, remodels and construction services.

How do you qualify your technicians and ensure high service levels?

Every technician we utilize has gone through an extensive qualification process by our procurement and compliance department. We have a dedicated team of specialists who work directly with our vendor partners to ensure compliance and negotiate the best rates.

We truly take pride in our relationship with our vendor partners. We pay them before we get paid, and for this reason, we receive better pricing and better service than our competitors. A core principle at Global is to value our relationship with our vendor partners as we do our retail customers.

Are you seeing much activity in terms of retail rollouts?

Retail rollouts happen to be a specialty of ours. We see a trend in terms of the scope of work being performed, in that many of our clients are going with lighter “refresh” type remodels as opposed to the more costly closed-store new concept full remodels.

These smaller, open store “paint and powder” style jobs are being performed on a rollout basis to refresh many or all stores in a chain. These are performed after-hours over the course of a few days as opposed to a four-to-six-week, closed-store full rebranding.

What criteria should a retailer use in evaluating a facility services provider?

To start, retailers should always check to make sure that the facility services provider is fully covered by acceptable levels of insurance, including workers compensation.

In addition, they should ensure that any subcontractor used by the service provider is also fully insured with the same levels and in possession of workers compensation. This should be included in the facility services provider’s documentation.

It’s also important to pay close attention to the quality of the service that is being provided. This can be determined by analyzing a company’s key performance indicators.

When evaluating new potential facility service providers, the best way to check on their performance is to speak with other companies they’re already working with. Ask for references and follow up with those that you receive.

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