Planning for proactive Dark Store Management during and after the COVID-19 pandemic
During these past few weeks, the global COVID-19 pandemic has become the reason for thousands of multi-site facilities to temporarily close. This raises the challenge for facility managers to maintain stores while they are closed and preparing to reopen.
Dark Store Management is critical to implement during this uncertain time. To maintain existing stores that are closed and keep the premises safe and secure during the COVID-19 crisis, there are multiple challenges facility managers face. Here are four of the most important considerations to address if you find yourself in this situation:
- Security – Protect the building, any assets that may remain in the building and any employees who may still need to do work in the building. Also address the potential for theft and vandalism, which often involves hiring security guards.
- Systems management – Determine which services must continue and which can be turned off or must be managed going forward. These include HVAC, electrical, and water.
- Exterior maintenance – Maintain landscaping, signage, exterior lighting and parking lot maintenance and in some areas, snow removal. Often times we suggest a reduced scope of work and service frequency to ensure properties are maintained and accessible for employees and emergency vehicles if necessary. Failure to maintain these can result in local fines.
- Establish a schedule of facility assessments – This may include multiple checks per day or simple weekly checks. And, it’s critical to have a network of suppliers ready to address any issues they discover during these checks.
As you can imagine, Dark Properties are a major challenge for multi-site companies right now. The solution is to work with trusted service providers who can “step in” to provide solutions, execute this process across a wide network of properties, and do it quickly and properly. This ensures properties remain maintained and prevents large capital expenditure costs down the road. Speak with your vendor partners and give them clear expectations and an implement the plan. As this passes, properties will re-open quickly and the transition from closed to open will be smooth.
To know more about Dark Store Management, listen to Teresa Phelps, National Sales Director with DENTCO, in the Daily Grind’s first episode by Connex with host Bill Yanek, CEO of Connex, to learn about DENTCO’s service to help facility managers maintain existing stores during this uncertain time.