Planning for Success
Holiday Hustle . . . or Hassle?
It’s that time of year again. The season when Jack Frost nips at your nose, the thrill of the holidays fills the air and, of course, your master plan sits on your desk, still far from perfection. As 2003 draws to a close, so does the amount of time you have left to prepare next year’s plan for your exterior maintenance. While a thorough and well-organized plan is the first step to ensuring a successful new year, the plan alone may not suffice. Each year, thousands of companies spend countless man-hours and excessive amounts of money attempting to self-manage their exterior services. Unfortunately, the store personnel tasked with this responsibility typically do not have the qualifications to effectively manage the intricacies of exterior maintenance. Moreover, any member of personnel assigned to this task, from the regional facility manager to the checkout clerk, is being diverted from their primary responsibility of serving the customer. Consequentially, monetary and value-oriented costs begin to escalate, ultimately causing both the customer and the bottom line to suffer. The most efficient and cost-effective method of avoiding these pitfalls is to centralize your exterior maintenance needs with a professional exterior services management (ESM) company.
A Better Choice
A specialized ESM company offers numerous advantages for maintaining your exteriors. Foremost, these professionals are specifically trained to manage the myriad of responsibilities involved with exterior maintenance, while simultaneously providing a safe and aesthetically-pleasing environment for your valued customers. An ESM will be able to provide cost-efficient management of your landscapes, irrigation systems, parking lots and snow and ice removal. Furthermore, an experienced ESM will be able to minimize your costs and liability, thereby allowing you to dedicate additional time and resources to your customers.
The Power of One
Centralizing your exterior services with one capable and tested ESM means that you only have to deal with one contract and one invoice, helping you manage your company more efficiently. At this point, you may still be wondering exactly how one contract translates into benefits for you and your organization. Basically, the ESM system creates a streamlined environment for the decision-making process, resulting in numerous advantages when compared to an in-house system. These benefits include:
- Minimized Responsibility and Liability: Consolidating your exterior services with an ESM eliminates the need for involvement by unqualified store personnel, saving the organization time and money. Additionally, a professional ESM will include an umbrella provision for liability in your contract. This policy not only significantly minimizes your liability, but also eliminates the need to manage individual insurance certifications for possibly hundreds or thousands of vendors.
- Increased Budget Efficiency and Value: An experienced ESM firm will provide your company with state-of-the-art management information and tools that typically cannot be acquired through an in-house operation, including: Web-enhanced inspection comments, pictures, capital assessments and technologically-advanced work order tracking. The costs associated with obtaining these valuable management tools are generally far too great for a self-managed system.
- Streamlined and Consolidated Services: An ESM helps you consolidate your exterior services by eliminating countless vendors, providing your organization with further savings. This streamlined management grants you the benefit of having one dedicated contact person responsible for your landscapes, hard surface areas and even your winter liabilities. By packaging these services under one management company, you receive efficient invoicing, significantly reduce call center volume and obtain a consolidated assessment of your exterior services. An established ESM specializes in providing and implementing innovative procedures that create a cost-effective and centralized operation, freeing up your personnel and budget resources.
- Quality and Consistency: Maintaining the quality and consistency of your exteriors can be a daunting task, especially considering the levels of time and knowledge required. This challenge is compounded for any company attempting to build brand image and consistency across numerous store locations. Exteriors are the first impression your store makes on customers, making quality maintenance essential for upholding brand image. An ESM has the training to cost-effectively design your exteriors according to your specifications, as well as make suggestions for quality assurance and consistency that would further establish your brand. Above all, a practiced ESM will have the resources to create a uniform image for all of your organization’s locations, even if your stores are scattered across the nation.
- Professional Exterior Management: Would you depend on a purchasing agent to ensure your grounds are safe and attractive? Can you rely on a store manager to guarantee that your parking lot overlay and striping meet municipal and federal standards? While these staff members may be capable of handling elements of exterior maintenance, diverting attention from their core tasks would be a misguided use of personnel resources that would only lead to increased costs and liability. Furthermore, exterior management encompasses a multitude of specialized services that should only be entrusted to specialists trained in such disciplines. An ESM company is staffed by seasoned professionals in all areas of exterior maintenance so that you can be assured an expert assessment of your needs and the correct conduct of work on your exteriors. ESM field professionals analyze and monitor your exteriors throughout the year, guaranteeing a safe and secure shopping experience for your customers while enhancing your brand and sales through curb appeal.
Managing the Myth
Although many companies are aware of the various benefits presented by centralizing with an ESM, just as many choose not to make the switch because they feel the challenges are too great. This belief is the number one myth facing facilities management today. In fact, an ESM makes the consolidation process easy and stress-free and provides immediate benefits and savings. These professionals work with you every step of the way to guarantee a successful master plan, quality assurance and customer satisfaction.
How Do I Choose?
When searching for a professional ESM company to manage your exteriors, ask for an action plan that not only details how consolidation and centralization will work for your company, but also provides you with the tools to ease your transition. From site assessment to contract development and management, look for an ESM that offers innovative solutions and a structure that facilitates effortless decision-making. Make centralization of your exterior services your new year’s resolution and reap the benefits of cost savings, effective management and a streamlined operation that allows you to focus completely on your valued customers.