Outsourcing Convenience Store Facility ManagementHow to Make the most of the benefits & solve the challenges
f2021 was a strong year for convenience stores despite the challenges from COVID-19 seen in 2020. In fact, 66% of convenience retailers report that their in-store sales were higher in 2021 than in 2020 according to a NACS “Pulse” survey of its retailer members.
Throughout 2022, convenience store facility managers are facing trends like changes in consumer habits and the subsequent store refreshes required to stay relevant and many are looking to outsourcing to adjust to these changes at the same time than keeping sales on an upward trend.
While outsourcing convenience store facility management offers definitive advantages, it is not without its own set of challenges.
The obvious benefits of Outsourcing Convenience Store Facility Management tasks typically boil down to two major advantages:
# 1 Benefit of Outsourcing: Time and Money Savings
Convenience stores have a unique combination of equipment and inventory that requires special attention. Convenience stores have to rely on highly specialized vendors for things like coolers, freezers, espresso machines, fast-cooking equipment, and other C Store-specific assets. These vendors will already have a set of processes in place that are proven to work, which saves your organization the time it takes to develop these processes through trial-and-error – which in turn, saves you the money it takes to figure out the best ways to manage your locations. Research has shown that outsourcing facilities management services can help you achieve annual cost savings of up to 10-15%.
# 2 Benefit of Outsourcing Convenience Store Facility Management: Easy Access to Precise Expertise
By using a vendor that specializes in facility management for convenience stores, you are gaining all the experience that their team must handle the exact challenges that your business faces. These vendors work with different companies in different industries, so chances are they have seen the unique complexities associated with your stores and their assets, and already knows how to handle them.
As beneficial as outsourcing can be, it comes with disadvantages. Below is a list of the 3 main challenges of outsourcing facility management, and how to solve them.
#1 Challenge of outsourcing Convenience Store Facility Management: Less Control Over Operations
As an in-house team, you have a clear idea of how you want your projects to be completed. When you bring in a group of vendors to handle the individual aspects of those projects, you lose control of the overall delivery of those services. When you divide a project into separate teams of vendors, you divide the points of contact associated with that project. Multiply the number of vendors per location by the number of store locations and you’re left with a confusing, complicated set of individual vendors handling tasks for multiple locations.
It is therefore important that you select a group of service providers who excel at convenience store-specific tasks as well as have proven to be reliable and accountable for the work completed. Those key vendors become your points of contact for all the projects they manage for your operations.
For instance, if you have a group of stores that need to be cleaned out as part of a store refresh initiative, work with a company that handles all the asset liquidation, recycling, trash removal, and cleanout tasks with a dedicated team of service providers, as well as coordinate the work with the construction crews. All aspects of the cleanout should be documented and communicated to you as they are completed, leaving you to only manage the next steps of the store refresh, instead of following each location individually. Your key vendor will handle all communication related to their activities and leave you to handle the highest levels of the overall goal.
The same goes for facility management tasks like preventative maintenance. You need to choose one key vendor that will develop a maintenance program that fits your operation. The key to a preventative maintenance program is consistency. By allowing one key vendor to manage the moving parts and minute tasks, you’re left with a big-picture approach to maintain all the stores throughout your business.
# 2 Challenge: Lack of Knowledge of Your Organization’s Needs
Individual vendors don’t always have an idea of what your business needs, simply because they don’t have to. An HVAC service provider doesn’t know about the other aspects of your operation and how they affect them. As critical as a group of vendors may be to a single location, their impact is usually reduced to what it is they do themselves – not the location as a whole.
It is important to choose a vendor that understands how all the individual service providers you use need to work in sync with each other. That key vendor needs to take the time to get to know what your business needs and coordinate those service providers for you – no matter what the project is.
# 3 Challenge of Outsourcing Convenience Store Facility Management: Dedication Issues
If you choose a vendor to handle an aspect of your facility management program, you should keep in mind that the vendor doesn’t work just for you. Just like you’re juggling multiple locations, these vendors are juggling multiple clients. This can cause issues with timelines, budgets, and the level of service you receive.
Your key vendors need to focus on your business first and foremost. If there is a problem with a service provider, they need to correct it before it becomes an issue. Make sure that your key vendor vets their collection of vendors and constantly tracks their performance to make sure that you’re always getting the best available companies to work on your facilities.
As a Facility Manager, you know that outsourcing convenience store Facility Management on some level is necessary to maintain all your store locations and handle the myriad of challenges associated with that. Where most Facility Managers lose efficiency and waste precious time is by bringing in a collection of individual, outside vendors and trying to manage them all separately. This approach opens you up to overspending, lack of oversight, failures in preventative maintenance programs, and missed deadlines for projects.
With 1GNITE you have a single point of contact to help you navigate any convenience store facility management and maintenance tasks your stores face. Let us work with you to understand your operation, set achievable goals, and at the end of the day – make your life easier. We are the “easy button” that will make your department shine, your facilities run as they should, and your projects on time and under budget.
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