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PostedThursday, March 31, 2022 at 11:45 AM
The men and women who make up the facilities team at Burlington are a special breed. They get in there, get their hands dirty, solve the problems, no excuses, no complaints. When you manage a great team like that, you do whatever you can to improve their condition. One of the issues causing the most stress on the team was the rotation of the emergency phone.
The men and women who make up the facilities team at Burlington are a specialbreed. They get in there, get their hands dirty, solve the problems, no excuses,no complaints. When you manage a great team like that, you do whatever youcan to improve their condition. One of the issues causing the most stress on theteam was the rotation of the emergency phone.
The Big Problem?
There is no one better to manageemergencies for your facilities than yourteam, period. That said, how do youcover 128 hours of overtime weekly,when the facilities department isn’tcleared for additional headcount? Themost common approach to theproblem? A rotating schedule shared bythe normal day team. Although this is awidespread practice there are someissues that deserve review.
It was October of 2015. With another Holiday season approaching, the FacilitiesDirector and Managers were in the conference room creating the Holidaycoverage calendar. It’s like the Super Bowl boxes, just without the fun. They hadrepeated this process many times before and knew full well, no one on the teamwould be happy. The team. Two managers and five coordinators. Who would itbe this year?
This year would be different! The 2015 year-end vendor review brought a simplequestion from the Manager of Store Facilities. “How do you guys manage theafter-hours phone so well?” That Manager is @Mark Kocis, and he did somethingclients don’t do too often, he asked our opinion. The response was simple. “Werun a true third shift.” We had tried after-hours rotation with the same negativeresults our clients had experienced. Our “fix” to after-hours is to have a smallerversion of our daytime team working independently at night without anyoverlap. It’s not easy to find people who work effectively in facilitiesmanagement. That challenge is compounded when trying to hire for the sameskill sets in a true third shift. So, since we had already built the infrastructure, itdidn’t seem so crazy to ask the question. “What if we managed ALL after-hourscalls for Burlington not just those that were assigned to us?” There was a longsilence at the table, followed by the question. “What would that look like? Yourteam managing after-hours?”
To be clear, at the time we were mostly running plumbing repair calls forBurlington. The question was. How could we stand in for the Burlingtoncoordinators and manage after-hours for all trades, even if the job was assignedto one of our competitors?
The most obvious risk is that the pilot would fail. To avoid that outcome, weworked very closely with Mark Kocis and his team to minimize the risk bymeasuring and achieving success before Burlington’s complete hand off. But atthe end of the day, it was Mark Kocis who put his name on this pilot program,and it would have been him who had to answer if things had not gone well. Markunderstood the relief this program could bring to the team, and he quicklybecame our biggest contributor from Burlington.
As the vendor, the risks we assumed were no more than the investment of timeand the finances associated with supporting a new program.
Motel rooms, rice balls and the New Jersey Turnpike. It’s still fun to think about,but this is how Mark Kocis, Manager of Store Facilities, Jay Pew, Director of StoreFacilities, and the team from ASG created the solution we call NIGHTFIXX. LincolnPark, where our offices were at the time is a 90-minute drive from Burlington.The first training night our team assembled at the office, pizza, rice balls andsoda were delivered, and Jay and Mark joined after a full day of work and thedrive. For hours, they went over processes and common situations. They fieldedactual emergency calls together and spent the time needed to absorb theBurlington approach and culture. The process continued well into the earlymorning before it broke up. Mark headed to the roadside Motel he booked. Hespent a total of 3 nights with the team and returned for two more days a coupleof months later to help with the training of two new team members.
The pilot was set for 60 days with completion and review at the end of December 2015.
Assuming after-hours response for any national chain is a huge responsibility.Burlington is unique in the fact that they also operate as property owner in manylocations, making their processes much more complicated. So, success would mostcertainly be in the details and in the partnership. Mark Kocis and the entire Burlingtonteam partnered with us at every turn, answered every email, every question. It was realcommitment on both sides. In the end, that’s what made it work.
The pilot was a success and also proved that it is possible to co-source a criticalfunction without losing your process, or control. It’s been 6 years and 3 monthssince the pilot and that meeting in Lincoln Park. We now manage over 500monthly emergency service requests for Burlington.
Outcomes we expected.
Things we didn’t expect.
One of the hardest things to do in business is to effect change. To do that theremust be buy-in from both sides and a clear benefit to each party. For our clientsNIGHTFIXX improves their facilities operations in three ways.
Win 1. Improved work / life balance for facilities your team.
Win 2. More consistent after-hours response and delivery.
Win 3. The cost of the NIGHTFIXX program is typically half the cost of internal overtime.
We have the knowledge that wehelped solve a problem thatimproves the lives of our clientsand makes us a closer partner tothem. To have a client who is willingto take a risk and try somethingnew, is the greatest opportunity avendor is ever given. When thatopportunity is met with a realcommitment from both partners,there are no limits to what’spossible!