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Helping those planning an office move to achieve the best outcome

Planning an office move can be challenging but a comprehensive procurement process can help deliver cost savings, service efficiencies and a seamless ‘business as usual’ transition.

Most organisations have to move at some stage in their development, larger organisations deal with staff churn on a nearly daily basis. With ageing estates, dynamic workforces and changes to working behaviours, planning a relocation project will usually fall into the lap of a facilities manager at some point in their career.

A solid procurement process plays a major part in delivering a successful service outcome. However, for many FMs, procuring the services of a relocation service partner may be a one-off experience, so it is absolutely essential to get the planning and selection piece right.

Key consideration points for the procurement process

Getting the timing right

Some projects may only have a short notice within which to work, however, in most instances a longer lead time prevails. We would advocate starting the procurement process as early as possible and allowing sufficient time for the return of Request for Proposals and tender documents to ensure you receive the strongest, most considered responses.

For larger moves, we would recommend sending out your tender at least six months before your move. For smaller moves, we would recommend no less than three months. The more time allowed for assessing, verifying and querying the information provided, the more comprehensive the tender submission.

Seeing the sites

Ideally, the procurement process will include a site visit, allowing the potential suppliers an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of your organisation, the building, fixtures and fitting and project requirements. The more well informed the potential suppliers are, the better equipped they are to provide an accurate tender response that meets your requirements.

Furthermore, suppliers are likely to be more confident in putting forward competitive prices when the project is fully understood.

Knowledge is key

Whilst giving those tendering the opportunity to visit a site and assess the project is very helpful, it is paramount that the tenderer’s staff who attend these visits are knowledgeable about the project, buildings, stakeholders and other operational implications.

These events are a two-way learning process and can often uncover elements of the move, that unforeseen, could cause major issues. Making sure the key project staff are in attendance, as well as specialist stakeholders such as the Head of IT can prove to be invaluable in delivering more successful project outcomes.

So what do we do with the furniture?

Traditionally, what happens to office furniture has been a consideration once a move is underway but this severely limits the options available. There may be ways of reusing furniture that you might not know about. If furniture requires disposal, there may be opportunities to make money from resale or at least to reduce your relocation costs through donation and recycling rather than disposal in landfill. Specifying your requirements or aspirations in your tender could save substantial amounts in purchasing new, and disposing of old furniture.

Crown Workspace operates The Renew Centre where we remanufacture, refurbish and remodel office furniture. Many organisations are now benefitting from the cost and environmental savings from simply remodelling or re-topping their existing desks and refurbishing and repairing their existing chairs to meet their new locations requirements.

Grading system

We recommend deciding how you are going to grade and score your tender before you distribute it. Whilst price always plays a part, the potential cost of service delays and operational failure could overshadow any relocation expense. What importance is placed on experience, resources, sustainability that will help direct you towards the proposal that best fits your needs? Have you specified your priorities clearly in the tender?

Hire a professional

Hiring an amateur might save costs in the short term, but you may pay for it in the long term with extended downtime, damaged goods and dissatisfaction amongst staff. It is important that the service partner you choose has the right experience for your needs, ask for recent references for similarly sized projects within your industry and check up on them!

Crown Workspace is a member of the British Association of Removers (BAR) Commercial Moving Group (CMG). We would recommend that if you are looking to shortlist potential suppliers for the tender process that you look to the members of the CMG as they are externally assessed and regularly audited by the BAR before being awarded the British Standard for Commercial Moving BS 8522.

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