Welcome to Get Your Fix, a podcast bringing you insights and expertise in facilities management, brought to you by Vixxo, changing the way the world sees facilities Management.
How an Operational Partner Elevates OEM Efficiency
OEMs and manufacturers handling large product launches often struggle with operational efficiency and installation. Fortunately, an operational partner can ease that inefficiency.
Vixxo Director of Construction Eric Warner and Vice President of Projects and Partner Development Ryan Baumgartner explored with host Daniel Litwin how a partner like Vixxo can bring both increased speed and scalability to OEM and manufacturer workflows.
Typically, Baumgartner said, product deployments that see retailers attempt to use their own install groups, project managers and more cause thrash, as retailers aren’t prepared for that level of bandwidth. That’s where Vixxo comes in.
An outsourced partner can complete such projects in significantly less time, bringing an increased speed to market without sacrificing the capabilities to get the job done right or ballooning costs.
“It’s a much more cost-effective solution, and it removes that thrash from your internal organizations,” Baumgartner said.
In essence, adding an outsourced operational partner brings that increased speed, even for high-velocity, high-volume projects, helping companies realize revenue faster, reduce their operational burden and overhead, and protect customers and uphold reputation by having complete visibility into logistics and scheduling that allows for oversight and accountability.
How Facilities Management Can Navigate Disaster Challenges
Facilities managers always need a plan to deal with natural disasters, such as fires and hurricanes. But throw in a pandemic and add social unrest into the equation and, suddenly, what disaster preparedness looks like for a business’ facility manager is a whole lot different.
Vixxo’s Penny Carter, Vice President of Operational Excellence, and Johannes Guese, Director of Service Provider Management, spoke about today’s disaster challenges and what companies can do to get proactive with preparedness.
“COVID has added another variable when planning for disasters, because it is, in and of itself, a type of disaster that businesses have to plan for,” Guese said.
Many things took businesses by surprise, from infrastructure changes, i.e., installing plexiglass protection shielding, social distancing markers and signage, to the scarcity of resources from employees to vendors and materials.
And, when firms and stores began opening back up, disinfection cleaning supplies became high in demand.
Are facilities managers not proactive enough in terms of disaster preparedness?
“Depending on the knowledge of a facilities department or the customer business owner, we find they either approach it right up front and, together in partnership, we work right through it," Carter said. "Or they come to us at the last minute saying, ‘I don’t understand what to do, can you help me?’ It’s being an active player in their business and guiding them as you’re watching the situation per season.”
Navigating Procurement Challenges During the COVID-19 Era
It’s no secret the pandemic’s brought many economic and logistic challenges to every single industry. On this installment of Get Your Fix, Vixxo’s Sr. VP of Sales & Marketing, Rick Upton, and the VP of Solutions Architecture, Michael Sutherland, focused their attention on four specific verticals (retail, restaurants, convenience, and grocery.)
What procurement challenges do these verticals face, how have these issues intensified since the COVID-19 pandemic, and how can robust data analysis help procurers tackle these challenges?
“There is a lot of complexity that everyone in procurement is dealing with,” Upton said. “Everyone has a growing workload with continued cuts. They are trying to do more with less.”
“I see procurers taking on more and more categories,” Sutherland added. “Where they may have been on the re-sale side, now, potentially, they are focusing on the not for re-sale side. Instead of buying goods and services and fixtures, they're challenged with whole new categories.”
While Sutherland knows the procurers Vixxo partners with are up to the challenge, they are looking for guidance.
Looking at vertical specific challenges, the wide variety of offerings in grocery stores is a big one. The grocery store is akin to the retail experience, with many dining options and delivery services layering complexity into the procurement department.
In addition to adding COVID-19 to the mix, stocking issues and finding new ways to make the grocery experience safe are the new concerns.
“I think grocery stores face certain procurement challenges that are spilling over to facilities,” Sutherland said.
And while convenience, retail and restaurants all share similarities to the challenges faced by grocery stores, each one has its unique procurement issues to solve.
One constant remains: they all need experienced partners to guide them through this pandemic and help create solutions that will give procurement the tools they need to be successful and innovate.
Preventing Product Loss Starts with Refrigeration Maintenance
In a time when mental energy is expounded on even the simplest tasks, it may be easy to forget about refrigeration.
Since it involves some of the longest-lasting equipment in a store, it can slip the mind. However, there’s a list of things that need to be done to make sure the system is still running properly and not developing issues that could cost business owners down the line.
“A preventative maintenance program is definitely at the top of that list. Let’s fix things before they cause cascading failures and you really end up spending a lot of money that you could’ve gotten in front of,” said Nick Krusch, Director, Client Relations at Vixxo. “That’s a big piece of it, especially the basic pieces of those preventative maintenance programs like filter changes and coil cleanings in order to keep the efficiency of the units operating optimally.”
Keeping a close relationship with the facilities manager and understanding what some of the challenges they’re facing are also can be critical for good upkeep.
“We bring experience and recommendations from really trusted business partners and implement business practices, so we can go to our customers with suggested scopes of work that may be really comprehensive,” said Bryan Hartnett, Vixxo’s SVP of Service Center Operations. “We can point out the pros and cons, like, ‘Here’s your risk if you don’t include these things. Here’s what you may expect to spend. Do you really want to include refrigeration on a full-scope PM program, or do you want to keep that broken off separately?’”
There may be advantages and disadvantages to various courses of action, so working with the experts can make sure that your refrigeration maintenance is taken care of and sucking up as little of your mental energy as possible.
How to Elevate Your Operation’s Signage and Lighting with Tim O’Donnell
On this Vixxo video podcast, Vixxo General Manager, Sign, Lighting and Projects Tim O’Donnell joined host Daniel Litwin to outline the shifting landscape of signage and lighting – and provide best practices for facility managers looking to keep pace.
First, O’Donnell said, it’s critical to realize just how important the role these solutions play is to overall success.
“Signs are the most important advertising product a business can have,” he said. “And they’re often overlooked. When folks decide to open a business, they’ll design their logo, they’ll work on their environment within the facility … But they’ll often not think about the sign until it’s a little bit too late.”
A signage partner like Vixxo can help educate customers, ensure that there is sufficient time for approval and construction, and craft a holistic signage plan to ensure the customer receives maximum benefit.
Still, there are challenges to be navigated. In particular, O’Donnell said planning early enough helps overcome challenges regarding power, installation and support, project management, regulations and approval and more.
Litwin and O’Donnell also explored how COVID-19 has impacted and elevated those challenges and barriers, steps the industry is taking to mitigate that impact, and emerging technologies helping shape the future of signage and lighting.
HVAC Best Practices and Key Considerations for Today’s Facilities Manager with Ryan Baumgartner
Get your Fix by Vixxo host Tyler Kern was joined by Ryan Baumgartner, Solutions Architect at Vixxo, to discuss best practices and key considerations for facilities managers regarding HVAC. Baumgartner went into detail about the value of implementing a long-term HVAC program. “Putting in best practices and standards across an organization is extremely key in order to have the most effective total cost of ownership,” he said. He expanded on key points that need to be a part of any facilities manager’s strategy, such as initial HVAC system and program evaluation, the value of collecting data over time, and the importance of compliance and execution of an optimized preventative maintenance program to impact the bottom line. The pair also discussed some of the biggest challenges that facility managers face when it comes to maintaining HVAC systems. They highlighted that facility managers are often faced with limited resources and constrained budgets that can result in reactive repairs and replacement instead of a predictive approach that reduces overall cost and extends the life of HVAC systems. Other key topics that Baumgartner spoke to included common mistakes that facility managers make with regards to their HVAC programs and the importance of partnering with a proven and experienced HVAC program provider like Vixxo.