Store Maintenance Concerns, Best Practices
– Article as seen in Chain Store Age’s latest news
A lack of skilled trade labor is one of the biggest challenges confronting both retailers and suppliers in the store maintenance area, according to Boss Facility Services’ Keith Keingstein and Kerri Keingstein, who spoke with Chain Store Age about industry trends.
What are some of the major issues affecting store maintenance professionals and suppliers?
One of the biggest problems facing store maintenance professionals and suppliers is talent. It’s not only an industry problem, but a business-wide problem. Whether you are a retailer, vendor or supplier, you are still subject to the same talent shortages across the board. Skilled trade labor seems to be the area with the highest deficiencies.
One contributing factor to this is the lack of trade/vocational training or college after high school. Unfortunately, schools and society put a lot of emphasis on white collar professions and do little to entice the blue collar worker. This is a primary reason as to why skilled trade labor costs have skyrocketed in recent years and will continue to rise in the near future.
Remodels are a big trend. What are some things retailers can do to ensure a successful project?
Do your homework and plan, plan, plan. Proper vetting of vendors is essential. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of projects that have gone bad. Some of the projects were not even large in scope, but the attention to detail and communication wreaked havoc on the time frame, results and overall budget.
I would recommend not only checking references but also visiting multiple projects recently completed to ensure they are qualified to handle your next project. Can they deliver a quality project on time and on budget?
What should retailers keep in mind when selecting a facility services supplier?
Know your supplier’s capabilities and expertise. Many times you hear the sales pitches of a one-stop shop promising the world and leaving the client high and dry. Service is a true art form; trade expertise is not something that you wind up winging. Look for industry or trade leaders. Find out their true capabilities. Have them run a few calls to see what their strengths and weaknesses are. Hold them accountable and expect perfection.
A true expert will make good on all fronts, and they will shine when faced with challenging requests. They are to be a true partner and sounding board in the toughest of environments. Handling facility maintenance should not be a stressful process. It should be a rewarding process with real-time accomplishments on a daily basis.
Tell us about Boss Facility Services.
I’m happy to say that Boss is celebrating its 15th year in business in 2016. Boss, which started off as a brother-and-sister dream between us, has grown into a multifaceted industry leader in the facility management arena. Back in 2001, we were industry experts (HVAC and automation) and seeing a trend where facilities departments, which at that time were very labor intensive, were starting to outsource their departments to industry experts. We decided to throw our hats in the arena to offer a quality service nationwide within our limited trade offerings.
Since then, however, we’ve expanded our services tenfold and have ensured that we have the proper talent on board to support our services accordingly. Although Boss is 15 years old, we are a third-generation HVAC company with deep roots in the HVAC community. Our name isn’t just a name. It is our battle cry: BOSS — Built On Superior Service.
What is the biggest mistake retailers make with regard to facility maintenance?
They shop price and put too much emphasis on the cost. Although price is important, it shouldn’t be the most weighted category in the decision-making process.
I would get feedback from every affected department in the decision-making process (construction, facilities, operations, visual merchandising, etc.). This feedback will be crucial to ensuring the proper service levels are met and that the vetting process addresses all concerns, so a prompt, reliable service company is picked.
How does Boss seek to set itself apart from its competitors?
Simply by doing only what we do best — consistently. With Boss, you can be assured that we have only the most qualified staff and technicians at your service. Our high standard of technical expertise, coupled with our attention to detail, speaks volumes compared with our competition. We are true industry experts — not a broker or paper pusher.
At Boss, we employ a variety of tools, from leading-edge technology to plain old-fashioned listening to ensure complete satisfaction on each and every call. And we never forget that our customer is the boss, and our job is to provide the highest level of service possible.