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Is your service provider delivering value?
Perhaps it's a question you haven't considered before. Let's face it, if an HVAC technician is responsive to your call for assistance, you probably consider the relationship acceptable. But in this still uncertain economy, with capital budgets shrinking and consumer spending restrained, you need to get the most bang for your buck at every turn. And that includes working with a service provider who is working hard for you.
The right HVAC service provider can actually help overcome some of the challenges posed by today's economic environment, by working with you to reduce downtime and save money. Here's how:
Make preventative maintenance a priority.
If you've put preventative maintenance on hold lately, you're not alone. For more than two years, retail and real estate managers around the country have deferred maintenance and postponed equipment upgrades until the economy shows signs of improvement. It's an understandable strategy, but not without risk. Dollars deferred today may pale in comparison to the ultimate cost of postponed maintenance. Equipment that hasn't been properly serviced can become increasingly inefficient, unreliable, or even worse, prematurely fail.
Stop tempting fate. Work with service provider to set up a preventative maintenance plan to reduce downtime risk. A top-tier provider will guarantee a specified level of uptime so you can:
• Avoid catastrophic product loss due to failed refrigeration
• Ensure the safety of employees and customers, and prevent shoplifting, with reliable lighting, fire and security solutions
• Concentrate on revenue-generating efforts
Think you can't afford preventative maintenance? You can't really afford to be without it. What's the impact of hours or days without a fully operational store? Fortunately, the right service provider will help identify ways to offset some of those costs by creating efficiencies elsewhere.
Create operational and energy efficiencies.
A top-tier service provider can help save money by consolidating services and creating operational and energy efficiencies.
With the right provider, you can reduce dependence on multiple local vendors to perform maintenance and instead, turn to one vendor that can partner with you across your portfolio -- preferably an organization with the capability to handle all of your stores. Whether you're responsible for one location or 100, you can drive down costs through consolidation to one vendor that can meet all your needs. Some national service providers have thousands of technicians in place across the country. Service providers that are backed by a national or global infrastructure offer:
• Quality Control: By working with one single vendor, you can eliminate the huge variations in quality that are inevitable when contracting for service with a variety of local vendors.
• Efficiency: Consolidation streamlines the maintenance process. Instead of dispatching calls, statusing issues and reviewing invoices of multiple vendors, make one call to a single point of contact. With the time saved, attention can be turned to revenue-generating activities.
• Reliability: Service calls can't always wait. Larger service providers are available 24/7/365.
Efficiencies grow exponentially when you select a vendor that can not only execute nationally, but delivers expertise across multiple services. Top-tier service providers offer expertise in everything from HVAC, janitorial, refrigeration, fire and safety, to energy efficiency and sustainability -- a suite of expert services managed by a single point of contact. One call ensures consistent performance, value and responsive service across all sites. And because the expertise resides "in house," employees actually perform all the facility services, as opposed to outsourced contractors. The benefits are obvious. Self-performing providers make you their only priority. They take ownership of the work. And with a self-performing vendor, you can avoid subcontractor markups.
These self-performing, single-source providers also see the big picture. Say for example, you operate 15 stores and currently work with15 different HVAC vendors. Ask them to prioritize equipment replacement, and you'll get 15 different perspectives. Conversely, a single-source provider will consider all equipment from all facilities when identifying critical needs and setting priorities. By working with one point of contact that has a greater view of your portfolio, you can be confident that priority is given to issues most critical to the business. Strategic investments made today, when costs are lower, can provide an organization with a competitive cost advantage for many years.
And finally, top-tier providers can show you how to increase energy efficiency. The key will be getting access to facility data that's relevant, meaningful and actionable -- which the right service provider can deliver. Today's most advanced technologies allow you monitor building performance in real time; identifying trends within buildings and across portfolios, spotting areas of concern and flagging underperformers. Some commercial control systems actually monitor themselves and send notifications when there's a noteworthy event or when it's time for a service call.
When priorities do call for the replacement of equipment, the right providers make sure you're choosing the most energy-efficient solutions. Ideally, they even help to identify ways to leverage federally or utility-sponsored rebate programs.
Partner with a service vendor who will work hard for you. The right vendor can help save money by consolidating services and creating operational and energy efficiencies -- allowing dollars to be channeled toward a preventative maintenance plan to reduce downtime risk. Insist they help overcome some of the challenges posed by today's economic environment. Top-tier providers will welcome the challenge!
Monte Boyer is vice president and general manager, Johnson Controls National Service. He has been with Johnson Controls for 10 years. Johnson Controls is an OEM supplier with more than 125 years of experience in the HVAC industry. With more than 150 local branches throughout the United States and Canada, Johnson Controls National Service provides retail customers with innovative solutions and an expertise in HVAC, refrigeration, security and fire safety, as well as lighting applications. For additional information on Johnson Controls National Service visit www.johnsoncontrols.com or contact Boyer at [email protected].