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High Street FM

15 June 2009

Total FM providers can offer retailers in hard-pressed high street across the country many service and systems that will help to keep their shops open for business and compliant to a broadening range of regulations, as Mark Cooper explains

WE ALL KNOW THAT RETAIL IS A FAST MOVING, highly competitive and dynamic business sector, and that more than ever outlets are facing increased competition from other sources, such as the internet when fighting for market share.

So what does this have to do with effective facilities management? Well, in order to succeed they need to ensure that their spaces are not only well-stocked and well-managed but they need to be safe, clean, tidy and inviting to impress today’s increasingly discerning and demanding customers. These factors are essential to the overall success of a retail outlet, but a visually exciting and high impact environment can be incredibly demanding to maintain. This makes effective facilities management vital in the battle on the high


Some retailers, in particular, smaller and speciality traders haven’t always purchased FM services centrally. Many have left the procurement and management of the necessary services to individual store managers. Whilst buying locally is often thought to be an easier option, is this really the best way to get the job done for multiple site retail portfolios? At first glance it may appear to be the simplest and most cost effective way to manage your facilities but this reactive means of sourcing a supplier can have its downfalls.

There are a number of issues to be aware of if you choose to work with independent or locally sourced suppliers and in my opinion these are the ones to bear in mind. The first to be aware of is Compliance. Are you sure that the workers you are using are fully insured, trained, have the right to work and will adhere to health and safety regulations? Without correct insurance, any injuries sustained whilst working on your premises could result in legal action being taken against you. The low cost option could end up costing you the earth. It is, therefore, vital to know that any contractor you choose to employ is fully covered.

Another area within compliance to be aware of is staff training. Without it, consistently high standards will not be achieved. For example, all cleaners should be thoroughly trained on cleaning methodology, product use and equipment use for best results. Not only this but Health and Safety Training must be undertaken and should include COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health), manual handling, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), warning signage and use of electrical appliances.

Moreover, compliance with security, fire precautions and other site rules must be adhered to at all times… and if this isn’t enough of a minefield, don’t forget that as an employer, you are also legally required to ensure that every member of staff has the legal right to live and work in the UK for the job in which they are employed. It is a criminal offence to employ someone who doesn’t have the appropriate immigration permissions; therefore you need to ensure the correct procedures are in place.

This is where total FM providers come into their own. Any good supplier will take care of all of the above compliance issues so that you don’t have to. This includes full risk assessments and the preparation of method statements, removing any potential risks and allowing you to concentrate on your core activities.

The next areas to be aware of are the importance of transparency and visibility of cost and service levels being provided. Using multiple providers can make it difficult to be able to forward plan budgets.

What about traceability of spends? Are you aware of the effectiveness and value of your FM spend, or how much money is actually being spent? £10 a week for window cleaning may not seem like a hug cost but total it over a year and multiply by the number of sites you have and suddenly it isn’t so insignificant.

As for how well the job is being done, Performance Management through the setting of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is crucial. Without them you could be left wondering how well the job is being done. Did your cleaner actually show up? Was the job completed in time and to the correct standard? Who is responsible for monitoring the quality of the work undertaken and how can they measure it without specific systems in place?

As a full-service FM provider, Anabas offers full reporting to all clients on a weekly and monthly basis. The quality of our cleaning is regularly audited via our bespoke performance management systems and operative attendance is measured centrally. Any changes can be implemented centrally and rolled out across multiple sites ensuring consistency at all times.

For one client we provide services over 240 sitesand use KPI’s to measure service levels. A 95 percent delivery rate across all stores is achieved which is monitored via our national network of dedicated regional managers and our central helpdesk facility.

Mark Cooper, MD Anabas

Maintaining multiple relationships and managing multiple invoices is just a small part of the bigger picture, not to mention the benefits of having a financially stable provider. Using a single sourced contractor can also reduce administrative overheads significantly, negating the need for multiple invoicing and ensuring one main point of contact. In addition to this, managing everything centrally provides flexibility meaning that your service delivery can be altered to meet any changing market conditions with a minimum of fuss at any time.

The experience a single provider will gain about your portfolio can be crucial in meeting store opening or refurbishment deadlines, whilst flagship operations can be used as a best practice model for national portfolios.

Accordingly for retailers who wish to stay ahead in the game, ensuring that your outlets are the best they can be is fundamental. Implementing a standardised service delivery is how we helped one major retailer and by undertaking a full audit of services delivered, money spent and time required, we managed to save them 12 percent per annum on their costs.

We all know that these are challenging times and surviving the recession is front of mind for all retailers. As annual consumer spending in retail is predicted to fall by £19.4bn by 2010, the only way retailers can increase their sales is to work harder and excel in every way possible. Compliance, transparency and easurement add value to your offering and often come at no additional cost once these services are centralised. So whilst your focus is on your customers, let the FM experts do their job and manage everything behind the scenes.

● Mark Cooper is managing director of Anabas

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