This article written by Carl Sherrill, was published in "The Atlanta Business Chronicle on Sept. 02, 1991 (pg.14B):
Building Design Meets Business Strategy
Different project investments, either new buildings or remodelings, provide different people different ideas, symbols, and features of how to address future needs.
Generally, these ideas include features that appeal to emotions, our sense of technology or, of major importance to business leaders, our senses of economy and monetary value.
In architecture school we learn to configure the building’s spaces to match technical capabilities and configure finishes t appeal t human spirit. We also discuss urban design theory describing how buildings relate to each other. ON the Other hand, in business school, we speak of strategic planning t gain mastery of where and how to steer the business over the five to ten years.
Rarely do we discuss combining these two concepts of building configuration and business strategy. The company’s plant and equipment is typically it’s second most valuable asset. Unless we work in a large company, we do not often examine both the qualitative and quantitative implications for the work place. However, if business in the 1990’s is returning to "fundamental values". Then combining business and building planning is necessary for proactive market management. This begins with a through, innovative analysis and descriptions of relevant tactical and strategic goals.
The first step to achieve such fundamental values is an operational audit yielding specific benefits from an examination of how the company meets demand with present operations. Many organizations do not have the manpower to throughly and objectively undertake an operational audit required to meet market goals. Top management should consider out-of –house sources for this examination.
First, these and other items examined in an operational audit, directly affect today’s on-going , direct operational cost. An operational audit can address, but not necessarily be limited to, management, issues such as:
1. Personnel locations, efficiency staff levels, and configuration
2. How fundamental work processes change the floor plan configuration with new computer equipment
3. How cellular production changes in manufacturing (or assembly) work required change in floor space requirements.
4. How just –in-time delivery changes floor space requirements
5. Providing greater market penetration and better delivery to customers with new distribution locations.
6. How newly considered leased space can specifically support expansion plans. AS most operations managers do not build a new building everyday, insightful planners can combine business goals, building goals and construction technology capabilities.
The second step is for "business designers is to prepare a comprehensive floor plan addressing these combines issues, showing all furniture, equipment, work processes equipment storage fixtures, etc. This management planning tool describes graphically and quantitiatevely the new project (or site) features.
This idea of examining operational effectiveness by means fo af floor plan may be new to some. However, one picture is worth a thousand words. This floor pan is one picture that can save many dollars.
Once the floor plan is developed and analyzed to appropriate detail, follow-through with a complete set of project plans and specifications yields further specific project management tools such as:
A) Contract requirements for building & equipment, explicitly noting existing conditions & new work items to be performed
B. A resource loading schedule (and projected cash management plan for the project).
C. Construction sequencing for timely equipment delivery and staging, as coordinagted with preliminary on-site testing procedures.
D. New aesthetic features that create market differentiation images.
E) Coordinating on-going operations, cost –reduction programs or new revenue generation form the project.
Further some employers experience difficulty keeping qual9ified personnel. A remodeled company workspace with appropriate finishes, quality lighting, furniture and support systems for new equipment can be a major personnel recruiting asset in managed effectively, while not necessarily bringing on high cost.
With properly configured space and equipment noise control a major contribution is made to improve the environmental setting, which reduces personnel turnover and enhances management’s goal to improve work performance. The effectively designed workspace can help reduce environmental stress and probabilities of injury, thus contributing to reduced operations costs.
A good deal is obtained when the substantive value of architectural and construction management services exceeds the cost. Of course, each project is unique, and each local market has preferences. However, by intelligently providing systemized customization and matching local needs with managerial standards the business can be custom-fitted for optimal performance.