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Time is Money: Speed to Market in Retail Environments
The phrase “time is money” is more than a trite quote to retailers. Time is often a retailer’s biggest concern when it comes to capital expenditures. The quicker the doors open, the sooner the investment starts returning. On the other hand, when a project is delayed, it postpones more than just the initial ROI.
Pushing back a grand opening by just days can cost the retailer a substantial amount in lost revenue. In order for stores to open on or ahead of schedule, potential obstacles need to be identified early in the process and proactive execution strategies need to be in place.
The technology and human interaction balance for rapid roll out is using an experienced team of architects and engineers who are equipped with the right technology to work effectively with different regulatory bodies throughout the country. Of course, no one person can know all codes throughout each different municipality, but when technology is used effectively, experienced professionals can use their knowledge to seek out intricacies in code books, and firms who are invested in national work have a comprehensive database for reference.
For example, the Progressive AE team, a 50-year-old full-service architecture, engineering, and construction company, has rolled out 200,000-square-foot supercenters as well as 2,000-square-foot loan center tenant fit outs in each of the 48 contiguous United States. The firm has a dedicated team of professionals whose job it is to turn over projects to retailers on time and on budget – every time.
This experience and the technology investments the firm has made toward the process allows people to identify obstacles in the beginning of a project, like long lead-time equipment, individual code requirements, and other areas that add time to projects so they can be proactive in keeping projects on schedule. The team has a proven track record of using technology, from team online portals to web meeting technology to Building Information Technology (BIM), which has enabled them to successfully open 10,000 stores for more than 30 different brands through its history.
Experienced professionals also understand the particular obstacles certain retailers face and can assist in devising strategies for efficient roll out. Automotive retailers and big box stores, for example, often face challenges that other businesses avoid, as smaller business take up much less land and market share. Name brand auto dealers must be careful in some states when it comes to their proximity to other dealerships. Many retailers also have very distinct branding or sustainability standards that need to be applied to comply within the specific municipality and environment.
One specific instance in which Progressive AE’s invested team proved advantageous was during a store renovation for a woman’s clothing retailer. The store’s team originally requested only architectural and electrical work. Throughout planning, though, the retailer decided to maximize their construction investment by adding elements that would refresh the brand. One aspect was to add more glass to the storefront in order to entice shoppers. This change had structural implications, though, and required professional structural engineering expertise. Since Progressive AE is a full-service team, they were able to easily consult with an in-house structural engineer for the solution. It was this level of responsiveness that allowed our team to help launch 21 new stores in malls across the nation in less than one year.