6 Takeaways From COVID-19 for Facilities & Real Estate
2020 has been one of the craziest years of our lifetimes – and to think, there are still almost 5 full months left! COVID-19 has made a significant impact across all the world, transcended industries, and hurt so many people. But as business, community, and family leaders, we have a responsibility to look for the silver lining. How do we in the facilities and real estate industries adapt and transform our own organizations to better serve customers and deliver solutions in this new climate?
In a recent Retail Leader article written by Thad Rueters, he cites EVP of Global Digital Reid Greenberg of Kantar: “Where we are now, in terms of how we shop and purchase items, is where we would have been 10 years from now. In other words, over the course of four months we’ve pressed the fast-forward button on shopping methods. The retailers (and brands) who have been over-investing in building digital, ecommerce and omni capabilities are emerging as the clear winners during COVID-19,” says Reid Greenberg, Executive Vice President of Global Digital and Ecommerce at Kantar.”
Think about it: in 4 months’ time we are where we would have been 10 years from now. That’s massive. And unless we can quickly and efficiently transform our own organizations to conform to the new expectations, we will be late to the party. Here are six truths I believe we need to embrace in order to undergo our own digital transformations to see exponential growth:
1. You don’t need as much time as you think
Stop making excuses! COVID has devastated the globe – but it has also revealed that we have the ability to greatly accelerate ideas and solutions that just four months ago we believed were 10 years down the road. Whether it’s a facilities management issue or strategic business goal, why do we create so much buffer in our timing for projects, allowing six months to complete what could have been done in a week? Hopefully COVID has made us look at time and deadlines differently.
2. Touchless has always made sense
From a physical branding standpoint, clean restrooms have always been important to consumers. COVID has once again brought to light just how unsanitary it is to “touch” anything in a restroom. The fact is, touchless components should have always been in the gameplan. As people return more to brick and mortar stores, public schools, and airports, keeping people safe means keeping hands off of items that can easily spread germs. Investing in touchless bathroom components such as touchless faucets, soap and hand sanitizer dispensers, touchless hand dryers, touchless urinal and toilet components is a must. Every public bathroom in the world should be touchless – yet we’re operating with archaic solutions.
3. Invest in infrastructure
Whether it’s your technology core, ecommerce platform, the team, and marketing and advertising – a solid infrastructure is the highway you need to go fast. One thing we learned during the outbreak of COVID back in March was that we weren’t prepared. We didn’t bus-proof the business well enough with infrastructure to allow us to respond quickly to changing market demands. We built it – but it was hard, time consuming, and costly. But, we did it. Now we are positioned for future growth and can continue to look ahead asking “What if…?” because this is certainly not the last disruption that will occur.
4. Disruptions expose what already needs to be done.
If you ask yourself honestly, didn’t you know what changes you needed to make in your organization – but were “waiting” for better conditions to do so? True innovators build the future – they don’t wait for it. Jake Lenhausen who leads Business Development for our outsourced platform said that “The unfortunate reality of COVID is that it ripped the band-aid off many different industries. It forced the innovation that was already happening at different levels in the different industries.” I say it this way: “When the tide goes out, you see everyone who’s not wearing any shorts”. Well, the tide has gone out and for now, and it has yet to come back in.
5. Your supply chain matters, a lot.
One of the big takeaways for me during this pandemic was how much we outsource to other countries. We have the talent and assets here in the US to source domestically, but unfortunately, the hunger for more profit moves much of our manufacturing and dollars overseas. If it weren’t already clear, the pandemic has further shown that whether our supply chain is made of contractors, manufacturers, distributors, or raw material vendors – we depend on them. We need great working relationships that are built on mutual trust so that when the unexpected happens, we are able to continue to deliver for the customer. One of our business strategies for supply chain relationships is simply to keep them around for a long time. So long as the expectations are being met and prices are fair, a long-term supply chain creates stability. That stability leads to better outcomes for customers, which is the reason we are all in business. Since we are also a vendor, we see that organizations who continue to select vendors based on bottom dollar prices have tremendous supply chain churn. This leads to instability, quality issues, and higher long-term costs. At Trillium, we believe in our supply chain so much that we consider them “Partners”, not merely vendors.
6. Embrace automation.
Major disruptions can cause major problems to different business sectors, forcing your core team to “wear additional hats.” In these types of crises, time becomes even more valuable – and thus, we must identify areas where we can quickly become efficient. While it’s tempting to revert to the processes and systems we are most comfortable with in trying times, many of us learned the hard way that doing so can leave you in the dust. Whether it’s through automating email streams, investing in a new project management technology, or using facility management software to help streamline workflows and increase your vendor network, automation frees up labor to be used on true value-add work.
Ready to bring your organization through digital transformation? At Trillium Facility Solutions, we offer a wide range of solutions ranging from general maintenance to upkeep of systems requiring specialist knowledge to facility management software. Our solutions are designed to save you the time, hassle and headache associated with keeping your facility operating at optimal capacity. Trillium Facility Solutions has been serving in the facilities maintenance industry for 17 years. We take pride in the work we do and look forward to providing facility management benefits that keep you, your workers and customers safe. Contact us for more information at 844-372-2699.