Rolling Out Multiple Locations

As the adage goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”.

Executing a multi-facility “roll-out” program can seem to be daunting.  However, by clearly defining goals and parame­ters, this assignment can be streamlined to a manageable, efficient process.  Careful planning and disciplined plan implementation are the keys to success.  Incorporating the following elements should yield positive, measurable results:

  • Simplified Space Standards
  • Thorough Articulation of Requirements
  • Clear Decision-Making Authority idea as to how and where to set up
  • Timely Communication and Follow-up

Simplified Space Standards

Let’s assume your business requires the addition of several field offices in multiple states.  First establish space stan­dards, by determining what type of property suits your needs, i.e. should you locate in office buildings, retail centers, or business parks? Secondly, ask what quality of property is appropriate?  If the answer is “Class A”, identify the services or amenities you desire, such as on-site security, restaurants, courier pick-up, etc.  Since “Class A” properties come with a Class A price tag, if a “Class A” image is not required, consider a “Class B” building, which will frequently offer many of the same amenities as “Class A” but at lower rents.

Next, consider how the typical location will be used, including how many staff associates will be housed there.  Will the staff have private offices, cubicles, or a mix?  The mix of types and sizes of individual work spaces will drive how much space to lease.  Once the assigned spaces have determined, add space for IT room, conference rooms, break areas, or other common spaces needed for an efficient office.  The sum of these elements, plus a “circulation” factor, will yield a working estimate of space needed.  Consider using a space planner to layout the leasable space required.

Thorough Articulation of Requirements

Once you have established space standards, expand your requirement by articulating those business or customer requirements that are not space-centric.  For example, is nearby public transportation important to your customers or your staff?  What about working outside normal business hours or on weekends (which may require after hours heating and air conditioning)?  If so, consider buildings where tenants control their own heating and air conditioning, i.e. tenants have direct access to thermostats or the mechanical systems serve only the space leased.  Such additional requirements impact which properties and spaces you should consider.

Communication and Follow-up

Once standards are articulated, how do you effectively implement the choices you have made? In our example, let’s assume you need fifty locations in thirty different markets.  This means you have a minimum of thirty (and probably fifty) field managers, each with a different idea as to how and where to set up shop.

Decentralized decision-making, while an efficient technique for running operations, tends to lead to deviation from facility plans, often resulting in unexpected results.  Centralized facility decision authority, while more restrictive, increases the likelihood of compliance to standards, resulting in better cost control. Exceptions to your established standard can increase costs dramatically.  

However you organize decision-making, facility standards must be clearly disseminated to those responsible for the   decisions.  One valuable technique for communicating facility goals and standards is to develop and distribute a company real estate guide.   This invaluable reference should detail your specific requirements, including workspace types and sizes, property type and quality guidelines, and any economic constraints.  Clear lines of authority and responsibility for facility decisions are crucial to containing costs and promoting an efficient ongoing operation.  

Managing The Program - In-House vs. Outsourcing

Studies have shown that outsourcing the real estate function to outside specialists can shave as much as 25% of real estate occupancy and management costs.  In fact, these studies show that half of the companies with multiple facilities now outsource all or part of their real estate functions.  Should you outsource or manage in-house?  This decision requires a careful analysis.  

Every company wants to save money. However, when you evaluate the benefits of outsourcing, reducing costs is only part of the equation.  Empowering your managers to add value to the company’s bottom line by doing what they do best is a central consideration.  Further, any outsourced specialists you consider should not only be expert in all aspects of real estate, they should also thoroughly understand the personality of your company and be able to consistently respond quickly to your needs.

Galaxy Partners is a national corporate real estate firm headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.  Galaxy provides Consulting, Transaction, and Management services exclusively to corporate clients throughout the USA. 

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