Need a little help getting the plan ready for next year?

Need a little help getting the plan ready for next year?

MASTER PLANNING

Its Not Too Late
It’s hard to believe it’s December already and you only have a few weeks left to have your master plan ready for next year. Regardless of your particular position or title; if your responsibilities include Exterior Facilities Management, this article will help you get ready for 2003 by outlining the tools and assistance an ESM can provide.
The most demanding aspect of exterior facility maintenance is that there is no start or stop date. From landscape to snow removal, exterior service of retail outlets or commercial facilities can be a significant drain on a site manager’s time. An ESM will manage these services and allow the site manager to service your customers while managing the business.

Apprehensive About Making a Switch?
Switching to an ESM can be enlightening for most companies, but first we must address some incorrect perceptions that still impact a customer’s decision in the fragmented industry of exterior services. I’ve seen and heard numerous reasons why national and regional facility managers feel they can’t make the switch to an ESM Company for all their exterior maintenance needs.
These seem to be the most common:

Perception #1
Logistical: “I can’t get all my people and departments in synch in order to make the transition smooth.”

ESM Solution: One of the greatest benefits provided by an ESM is the freedom afforded those customer personnel involved with exterior services to focus on core tasks. An ESM will provide communicative tools and developed models to aid in compiling the necessary data and minimize the distraction to customer employees.

Perception #2
Seasonal: “It’s not going to snow for the next two months, so we have more time to decide.”

ESM Solution: Planning, Preparation, and Persistence. Exterior service is the first impression of your customer and decisions regarding its management should not be made hastily or at the last minute. An ESM can complete any needed site assessments, develop budget comparisons, and project an action plan to avoid unpreparedness and potentially costly adjustments.

Perception #3
Contractual: “I don’t know what the current contracts entail, so I guess we will just wait until the contracts are over.”

ESM Solution: One of the primary functions of an ESM is to assess current site conditions and specification development that addresses the deficiencies that are damaging to your exterior. However, a pioneering ESM will offer a Mid-Season Action Plan, or MAP, to guide their customer through a smooth transition and resolve exterior service issues that can damage sales and your customers perceptions. A MAP can get you on the road to cost savings and enhanced curb appeal.

Perception #4
Fiscal: “We are so caught up in budgets right now, we can’t even think about a change. I’m afraid to even guess what our budget is for exterior services.”

ESM Solution: In addition to providing a MAP to ease customer transition, an ESM can provide detailed cost analysis. Site assessment models will detail exterior costs allowing the customer to make informed decisions about their landscape, irrigation, hardscape, or snow removal. An ESM budget analysis will often result in cost savings from streamlined processing and specified service detail. Working with an ESM company you will not find yourself “in the dark” for capital and maintenance costs come budget time.

Landscape Specifications
A professional Master Plan will justify each and every part of facility maintenance. Here is where a national ESM Company serves as an excellent resource for writing detailed landscaping specifications that won’t end up wasting resources and budgetary allotments that could be used elsewhere. Now the specifications are written in-house, but far too often the underwriter is not familiar with current methods of accomplishing exterior tasks. Even in today’s market, an internal procurement department is tasked with finding an internal landscaping expert in the corporation. This internal expert s expected to advise a vice president in charge of facilities to draft specifications for a national format. An ESM can provide landscape specifications tailored to your company’s national footprint by growing region and need.

Covering Liability Issues
While reviewing your master plan, make sure to look at all legal aspects with regard to your exterior service needs. Unlike the busy store manager, district manager, regional manager, or understaffed facilities department, an ESM Company knows the importance of controlling liability issues and can focus on reducing the customer’s exposure. An ESM company can manage this very important aspect and provide one policy to its customer. Your people will no longer be chasing dozens of certificates of insurance and attempting to verify proper coverage. Your risk management and/or legal departments will be impressed with your decision to manage the company’s exposure in this way. With the ESM managing your national or regional exterior needs, there is one entity with one umbrella policy. Contractors are all managed by this entity, the ESM assumes all the responsibility, gets the job done correctly, and allows for your company’s peace of mind.

Freedom of Internal Resources
So, you’re in retail, it’s the fourth quarter and you are facing the goal. The quick tips below will get you into the end zone. Refer to these when making the exterior service decisions that will impact the next year or when your current exterior service plan is failing you.

  • Logistical considerations can be eliminated through implementing a Mid-Season Action Plan, MAP, and thorough site assessment.
  • Contractual concerns can be addressed through ESM portfolio analysis, specification development, and liability assurance.
  • Budgetary impact can be alleviated by an ESM through cost analysis, service selection, and often result in savings.
  • Seasonal considerations are eliminated by a MAP and allow for a smooth transition that provides seamless customer service.

Making Your New Year’s Resolution Come True
For the retail or facility manager, the New Year will definitely bring new and continued challenges for your exterior services. You can continue to devote your valuable time and energy to multi-site contract management while processing hundreds of invoices and not be assured of liability, or you can rely on an ESM company to eliminate your exterior service concerns and allow focus on some other New Year resolutions.