Full Service

— By Tom LaMartina —

How to facilitate a more efficient, cost-effective FM program for your retail or restaurant business.


Below is a Q&A with RWS Facility Services, which provides the nation’s largest companies with full-service facility management services that reduce cost, save time and improve the overall environment. From commercial waste management to landscaping to HVAC repair and more, RWS offers one-stop convenience for all your facility services.

R&R: What are some ways a retail or restaurant company can evaluate their facility management program to ensure it’s efficient, cost-effective and utilizes the right number of qualified resources?

Tom LaMartina, RWS Facility Services

Tom LaMartina: To ensure if your facility management program is both efficient and cost-effective — and uses the right number of qualified resources — evaluate these three critical areas: (1) appearance and cleanliness; (2) whether standard operating procedures (SOPs) are being followed at all times; and (3) a clear definition of what is covered in the costs to avoid any surprises of “extra charges” that may appear.

R&R:  Are there any hidden opportunities for retail or restaurant businesses to reduce their facilities or maintenance costs?

LaMartina: One way to reduce facility and maintenance costs is to choose your third-party providers carefully. It is important to have a solid understanding of what capabilities the  provider brings to the partnership and how to balance them with the skill sets you have internally. This will help to determine which tasks can be handled in-house and which ones are better outsourced.  Proactive upkeep of the building and grounds is another effective way to prevent unexpected costs and reduce the long term cost of ownership.

R&R: As many companies are challenged to efficiently address facility needs through their workforce — sometimes even assigning FM duties to employees with other responsibilities — can you discuss the importance of having good labor efficiency for facilities management?

LaMartina: I think it is safe to say that labor efficiency is a goal for all organizations. Of equal importance is the quality and effectiveness of the work being done, which means assigning the right person for the task. First and foremost, employees should focus on their core functions and skills. Assigning maintenance tasks to untrained or unqualified workers creates liability risks and increases the potential for failure to follow the processes and systems that are in place. Efficiency is a result of correctly executing tasks in a timely fashion. Failure to do so results in service call-backs and poor customer experiences.

R&R: Why should a retail or restaurant business benchmark things like preventive maintenance, system reliability and the overall life-cycle cost of equipment?

LaMartina: In every industry there are certain standards. The reason businesses in retail or foodservice should benchmark areas such as preventive maintenance, system reliability or the life cycle of equipment is to measure performance. There is inherent value in being able to compare your operation to others in the same line of business. It will tell you if the areas that are most critical to your bottom line are performing as expected or better. If you find your costs are higher, or other deficiencies are noted, it alerts you that it’s probably time to review your processes and your providers.

R&R: We’ve heard about some companies over or under-maintaining facilities equipment like HVAC systems, which could be costly. Why should companies invest in tracking the condition of facility equipment, their age and use? How could this translate into reduced costs?

LaMartina: Not performing required maintenance in timely intervals can be costly. Often this is referred to as “deferred maintenance” which in essence can create a perceived, short term savings. Unfortunately, once maintenance is deferred, it quite often becomes forgotten. A solid facility services partner will lay out the work required, the service intervals necessary to perform this work, and schedule dates and times for them. Once the work is finished, a review of the work is documented along with any additional findings and confirmation of when the next visit should take place. Ideally, all of this information is updated in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) where it is readily available for future reference, review and code or compliance inspections.

R&R: Some facilities managers may be wearing more than one hat these days by working to fulfill company goals to fight climate change. How could working on a more efficient, cost-effective facilities management program help retail or restaurant businesses achieve green sustainability goals?

LaMartina: Being a “green business” demonstrates social awareness and responsibility, which can increase a company’s standing among its competitors. An efficient, cost-effective facility management program can help businesses achieve their green sustainability goals in a number of ways. For example, a professionally laid out waste and recycling program reduces landfill and incineration waste, and can even generate revenue. When companies make sustainable choices to increase waste diversion and implement recycling programs, they have the potential to sell their recyclable waste for alternative uses, thus earning back money. Additionally, well-maintained equipment operating at peak efficiency reduces energy usage. Scheduled routine services also reduce carbon footprints by mitigating multiple “on-demand” calls for service. Lastly, using Green Seal-certified products and bio-based chemicals, as well as eco-friendly supplies and equipment, will also support sustainability goals.

R&R: How can outsourcing facilities management services with a full-service provider help a retail or restaurant businesses reduce their costs?

LaMartina: A full-service facility management provider can significantly reduce costs with the expertise to seamlessly integrate the people, processes and technology required to provide the proper support services. For busy retail stores and restaurants, initiatives for improving the visibility, safety and appearance of the business often require a sizable investment of time and effort. Engaging a third party to manage those services can alleviate the burden by providing boots on the ground assistance and a one-stop resource that will give you time to focus on your most important initiative: ensuring a positive customer experience.




— Tom LaMartina is vice president, facility services at RWS Facility Services, where he oversees the RWS Facility Managed Services for the company’s growing national footprint of facility services clients. For more information, visit www.rwsfacilityservices.com.



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