While facilities management can be somewhat similar for different kinds of buildings, specific industries like retail face unique facilities management challenges. For example, grocery stores and supermarkets will need to focus on keeping customer-facing areas up to par by maintaining hygiene and cleanliness. Additionally, proper maintenance of essential assets and places like refrigerators, cold storage, light bulbs, HVAC, and other critical equipment, is crucial to retail survival.
The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, manifested some unprecedented challenges. We have seen the necessity and value of our functioning supermarkets and grocery stores. From ensuring the hygiene of a store for its customers to the general functions of each individual retail space, facilities management has an unwavering and firm place in our world and how we shop.
Without the right tool and resources, store maintenance at multiple locations or facilities that take up a large footprint can be challenging and inefficient. Popularly, many progressive businesses leverage technology and utilize asset management or facility management software to streamline maintenance tasks, manage inventories, and much more.
Understandably, the retail sector is highly competitive, and maintaining the margin is the key to success. Retailers must implement proactive facilities management practices to help keep overhead costs down. Before moving on to the benefits of proper facilities management in the retail sector, let’s look at the consequences of the substandard facilities management approach.
The Result of Substandard Facilities Management
Today’s retail market is highly competitive. Consumers can order anything they want online and get it delivered within an hour. And if once the customer decides to walk to the store but sees that the refrigerator is out of order, the HVAC system is not working, or the window is unclean, he or she might never come back to your store again. If your approach to facilities management is substandard, you might experience either one or all of the following:
- High costs of service and maintenance
- Poor service resulting in the loss of brand value
- Extended periods of downtime due to maintenance
Fortunately, managing commercial properties and assets is not as challenging as managing properties in asset-intensive industries. Here a few common challenges of managing grocery and supermarket facilities:
- Managing repair and maintenance budgets can be difficult in any industry, and retail is no exception. Each time maintenance is performed on refrigerators, freezers, and other appliances, it is essential to keep an accurate record of the timeline and the costs.
- Store corridors must be clean and visually appealing. All appliances and electronic devices must always be fully functional. When there are too many customers going in and out of the store, maintaining cleanliness can be difficult. Safety, hygiene, and functionalities are fundamental to brand image and attracting customers.
- Due to the high volume of movement of products in and out of inventory, and the variety of equipment in use, managing and monitoring inventory and all related information from service history up to guarantee information can be difficult.
The Need for Efficient Facilities Management
Here are a few reasons why efficient facilities management is highly desirable in the retail industry.
Consumer’s expectation for sustainable practices
Consumers expect their favorite retailers to implement sustainable practices, and retailers that forgo investment in sustainability are more likely to have lackluster profit margins and face bankruptcy. With the advent of smart technologies, facility managers can even use their smartphones to refine shopping forecasts and get feedbacks on customer’s shopping experiences.
To stay in the competition
More and more retailers are looking for ways to improve their sustainability practices. Government-sponsored plans indicate that retailers should actively seek to improve their existing facilities management strategies to stay competitive. As such, retailers that actively invest in sustainable practices can apply for and receive tax credits and incentives for improving their equipment and existing facilities management system.
Progressive business owners are already utilizing new technologies
The advent of new technologies like facility management software and computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) enables efficient facilities management like monitoring building refrigeration systems across the enterprise. This helps facility managers to immediately react when problems that could negatively impact shopping experiences arise.
The fight against e-commerce
Brick-and-mortar stores are forced to cut costs due to the rise of e-commerce platforms. Consumers have become more cost-conscious, which means they prefer retailers that make shopping comfortable and affordable. By leveraging efficient facilities management practices, traditional brick-and-mortar stores can save themselves from the demise due to rising e-commerce platforms by combating shrinking profit margins.
The Benefits of Efficient Facilities Management
Supermarkets and grocery store managers must keep their store clean, safe, and attractive. This responsibility falls in the realm of facilities management. Efficient facilities management means that maintenance teams and technicians are assigned to tasks, such as cleaning floors, windows, restrooms and assembling and maintaining display products. On certain occasions, facilities management teams are also responsible for stocking shelves and other supplies.
Facilities management teams support retail establishments by handling maintenance issues behind the scenes. As a result, store managers and other retail staff are relieved from the burden of maintenance and upkeep issues, which allows them to focus on their customers.
Better control of product quality and inventory
Retailers can directly benefit from efficient facilities management. By mitigating and preventing system or equipment failure, retailers can reduce the risk of lost inventory. This way food retailers and grocers and minimize product spoilage and ensure better shelf-life of products.
The volume of customers going in and out of stores frequently presents high maintenance and cleaning requirements for supermarkets and grocery stores. Maintenance teams need to be discreet when performing their job so that consumers can shop without being bothered. This cannot be possible without the right tool at your disposal. What’s more, facilities management in the retail industry is transforming as more online shopping avenues are opening up. Online retailers can lower their cost and price of products by eliminating overhead costs. On the other hand, consumers are not bothered by your overhead costs. Instead, they want purchases that exceed their expectations. Therefore, efficient facilities management practices can be the key to help your business stay competitive and to your survival in the retail industry.