Communication And Collaboration: The Building Blocks Of Successful Facility Management
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E-commerce is changing the landscape of commercial real estate.
As online retail giants experiment with new ways to improve the customer experience, demand for manufacturing space and warehouses is higher than ever. A booming e-commerce industry has piqued the interest of real estate investors, and the development of industrial facilities across the U.S. continues to grow.
To maintain an effective operation, the people who own and manage these facilities employ several maintenance workers to service the space. But many have struggled to stay on budget and stick to a timeline due to safety hazards or unforeseen circumstances. These setbacks can slow production, negatively impacting a manufacturing company’s bottom line. Now, there is increased competition among landlords to attract tenants. Property managers and contractors are working together to create spaces that drive both productivity and innovation.
Gary Gray, president of painting and sealant company Graydaze, applies this philosophy to all of his projects. In addition to providing painting and sealant installation services, the Graydaze team works with national developers and owners to ensure buildings have curb appeal that attracts future tenants.
“We are starting to see more building owners and large REITs taking ownership of common area maintenance costs and simplifying leases,” Gray said. "They are looking to streamline costs, manage schedules and maintain a safe and appealing space."
Graydaze is the 13th-largest painting and sealant contractor in the U.S., and operates solely within the industrial asset class. Based in Atlanta, the company employs a workforce of over 300 people and services industrial property in 39 states. The Graydaze team operates off a “boots on the ground” mentality, and project managers visit sites at least once a week to ensure the team is producing quality work and the project is on track.
“Before starting work on any project, project managers should visit a site and introduce themselves and their team to tenants,” Gray said. “This ensures a good line of communication between contractors, tenants and property managers and helps develop an effective workflow.”
Graydaze requires employees to go through a number of comprehensive training programs before they work on their first project. Each project manager starts with eight weeks of in-field training, and then moves onto Project Management 101, a six-month-long course that includes nine modules and a mentorship program where new employees shadow more-experienced project managers. Graydaze conducts ongoing safety inspections at its job sites as well as safety orientations and annual safety training. These programs enable workers to think strategically, communicate effectively and work safely.
One of the main challenges of designing an industrial space is finding a balance between productivity and aesthetics. Industrial warehouses and manufacturing facilities need to meet increased market demand, but it is also important that they have curb appeal.
“Paint jobs lease buildings, and decorating these facilities in a way that emphasizes a tenants’ corporate branding can add character,” Gray said. “When contractors, property managers and tenants collaborate on this vision, the final outcome is much more successful.”
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