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Maintaining Stores — With Outside Help

BY CSA STAFF

There is no place in today’s hyper-competitive retail marketplace for a poorly maintained store — providing a clean, comfortable and safe shopping environment is a priority for chains across the board. As retailers increasingly focus on their core competencies, they are letting experts take care of functions and services that fall outside those areas, including facilities maintenance. Chain Store Age spoke with Veterans Worldwide Maintenance’s Michael Rose about what retailers should look for when contracting out facilities services.

What are some of the most common mistakes retailers make when it comes to store maintenance?

One of the most common mistakes retailers make is buying from the low bidder. They don’t realize that by paying a few dollars more, they can get a better quality job and they get it done right the first time.

This proactive approach of choosing a reputable and experienced service provider allows the facility director to focus on other tasks without having to invest more time into following up on each service call.

Is there one particular area of maintenance that is especially challenging or problematic for stores?

HVAC is a very high-demand service. If the heating or cooling doesn’t work, it is less likely that a consumer will stay in a store. Shoppers don’t want to be in an uncomfortable environment, which is why many facilities like to maintain a consistent, comfortable temperature year-round.

Has technology impacted any aspect of commercial maintenance?

Most definitely, and in a number of ways. Here’s a brief review:

• Smartphones make technicians smarter when they are on the go.

• Job-site images are easily shared.

• Work orders can now be digitally signed in the field.

• GPS has helped better route technicians and save time/money.

• Information is delivered in a fraction of the time as manual systems.

• Processes are now better automated through technology with smart-routing techniques.

What are the advantages of contracting out basic janitorial services rather than keeping them in-house?

By contracting out the services, the retailer benefits from janitorial personnel with specialized knowledge of cleaning products and how the products react with different surfaces and materials. The personnel are also familiar with the environmental impact of such products.

What do retailers need to keep in mind when it comes to contracting out maintenance services?

Retailers are becoming more and more aware that they get what they pay for. You should make sure the providers you are partnering with are competent and able to handle the issues that arise. There are times when that level of service increases costs, which is why it is important to be ready. Rollout meetings are a common practice here at Veterans Worldwide Maintenance so we are prepared and accustomed to the specific needs of our clients. This proactive approach helps get all parties involved on the same page.

What scope of services does Veterans offer chain retailers?

We offer a wide range of services, including

• Back flow (domestic);

• Cleaning/janitorial services;

• Electrical;

• Handyman services/general repair;

• HVAC;

• Landscaping;

• Painting (interior/exterior);

• Pest control;

• Plumbing; and

• Snow removal/relocation.

Can you help with ADA compliance?

Yes. We have helped many clients become ADA compliant, and we include ADA compliance recommendations on all proposals where applicable.

What type of systems do you have in place for reporting and billing?

We use fully customized, homegrown field service software that handles all of our customer information, accounts receivable, dispatching and knowledge base. We utilize bundled reports as well as extensive custom Crystal Reports, which is a business intelligence application by SAP AG. It is used to design and generate reports from a wide range of data sources.

We also have a robust report scheduler that runs around the clock 24/7, distributing information as needed to key team members, partners and associates.

With spring on the horizon, is there anything special retailers need to do to get ready from a facilities point of view?

HVAC units should have spring PM performed to make sure the units are ready and functioning to full capacity. All levels of refrigerant and voltages on major components should be checked and the filters should be changed. This will reduce the chance of equipment failure during the hot summer months.

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Making Stores Accessible

BY CSA STAFF

By Alan Gettelman and Richard Duncan

It’s a fact: Safety awareness and accessibility compliance translates into ease of use for all customers. The Americans with Disability Act Accessibility Standards (ADAS) and ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials) requirements not only make store spaces accessible, but should also help owners/operators avoid complaints and possible penalties.

Here are some key points:

ENTRANCE: For convenience and safety, a 2% maximum slope in any direction is allowed in doorway areas. All doors must provide at least a 32-in. clear opening with a closing speed of no more than five seconds. Thresholds may be no more than a ½-in. high.

ROUTES: A 36-in.-wide route of travel should be available to all areas with nothing projecting more than 4 ins. between 27 ins. to 80 ins. above the floor.

Accessible routes to racks, displays and kiosks should also provide 36 ins. of clear width. The aisle at check-out must allow a clear route of travel to and through, and the counter surface at check-out must be no more than 38 ins. high.

Accessible dressing/fitting room should have the same access aisle of 36 ins. or more, entry doors of 32 ins. or more, and a wall-mounted bench 20 ins. to 24 ins. deep and 42 ins. long, located at 17 ins. by 19 ins. above the floor. If provided, the mirror should be 18 ins. wide with the bottom no more than 35 ins. high, and the top not less than 74 ins. high.

RESTROOMS: Being ADA-compliant in retail restrooms is as important as cleanliness. Operators risk fines and closures for men’s and women’s facilities that do not adhere to specified mounting heights, reach ranges and operable parts located not more than 48 ins. above the finish floor for accessories, such as dispensers, receptacles and baby-changing stations. Requirements also pertain to restroom layouts for the lavatory area and toilet compartments.

In planning an accessible retail restroom, it’s important that entrances and exits are laid out to minimize congestion and for universal access. Passageways and access aisles should be at least 42 in. to 48 in. wide. Protrusions should be limited to between 27 ins. and 80 ins. in all circulation routes — passageways and access aisles are no more than 4 ins.

It’s also important to provide wheelchair turning spaces wherever required. The increased use of large wheelchairs and scooters requires larger maneuvering spaces. All accessories, faucets and flush values should be reachable and usable with one hand and not require more than 5 lbs. of force. There should be centered, minimum clear floor space of 30 ins. by 48 ins. provided at each accessory.

If six or more toilet compartments or urinals are used, there must be at least one ambulatory accessible toilet compartment in addition to the standard accessible compartment. Lastly, make sure to locate baby-changing stations so that they do not block passageways to accessible compartments.

DIVERSE USERS: The needs of people who use wheelchairs are fundamental factors for determining floor space, turning diameters, mounting heights and reach ranges. Accommodating the characteristics, needs and equipment required by a wide range of users takes into consideration the following factors:

• Stability and balance issues;

• Very short and very tall stature;

• Large and heavy;

• Illness/surgery recovery; and

• Senior citizens.

Alan Gettelman is VP external affairs, Bobrick Washroom Equipment, North Hollywood, Calif.; Richard Duncan is executive director, Mace Universal Design Institute, Chapel Hill, N.C.

As a special courtesy to architects and planners/operators of all types of retail establishments, Bobrick has been publishing and routinely updating the Planning Guide for Accessible Restrooms since the early ’90s. The latest version is available at Bobrick.com.

<!–{13939606732461}– By Alan Gettelman and Richard Duncan It’s a fact: Safety awareness and accessibility compliance translates into ease of use for all customers. The Americans with Disability Act Accessibility Standards (ADAS) and ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials) requirements not only make store spaces accessible, but should also help owners/operators avoid complaints and possible penalties.

Here are some key points:

ENTRANCE: For convenience and safety, a 2% maximum slope in any direction is allowed in doorway areas. All doors must provide at least a 32-in. clear opening with a closing speed of no more than five seconds. Thresholds may be no more than a ½-in. high.

ROUTES: A 36-in.-wide route of travel should be available to all areas with nothing projecting more than 4 ins. between 27 ins. to 80 ins. above the floor.

Accessible routes to racks, displays and kiosks should also provide 36 ins. of clear width. The aisle at check-out must allow a clear route of travel to and through, and the counter surface at check-out must be no more than 38 ins. high.

Accessible dressing/fitting room should have the same access aisle of 36 ins. or more, entry doors of 32 ins. or more, and a wall-mounted bench 20 ins. to 24 ins. deep and 42 ins. long, located at 17 ins. by 19 ins. above the floor. If provided, the mirror should be 18 ins. wide with the bottom no more than 35 ins. high, and the top not less than 74 ins. high.

RESTROOMS: Being ADA-compliant in retail restrooms is as important as cleanliness. Operators risk fines and closures for men’s and women’s facilities that do not adhere to specified mounting heights, reach ranges and operable parts located not more than 48 ins. above the finish floor for accessories, such as dispensers, receptacles and baby-changing stations. Requirements also pertain to restroom layouts for the lavatory area and toilet compartments.

In planning an accessible retail restroom, it’s important that entrances and exits are laid out to minimize congestion and for universal access. Passageways and access aisles should be at least 42 in. to 48 in. wide. Protrusions should be limited to between 27 ins. and 80 ins. in all circulation routes — passageways and access aisles are no more than 4 ins.

It’s also important to provide wheelchair turning spaces wherever required. The increased use of large wheelchairs and scooters requires larger maneuvering spaces. All accessories, faucets and flush values should be reachable and usable with one hand and not require more than 5 lbs. of force. There should be centered, minimum clear floor space of 30 ins. by 48 ins. provided at each accessory.

If six or more toilet compartments or urinals are used, there must be at least one ambulatory accessible toilet compartment in addition to the standard accessible compartment. Lastly, make sure to locate baby-changing stations so that they do not block passageways to accessible compartments.

DIVERSE USERS: The needs of people who use wheelchairs are fundamental factors for determining floor space, turning diameters, mounting heights and reach ranges. Accommodating the characteristics, needs and equipment required by a wide range of users takes into consideration the following factors:

• Stability and balance issues;

• Very short and very tall stature;

• Large and heavy;

• Illness/surgery recovery; and

• Senior citizens.

Alan Gettelman is VP external affairs, Bobrick Washroom Equipment, North Hollywood, Calif.; Richard Duncan is executive director, Mace Universal Design Institute, Chapel Hill, N.C.

As a special courtesy to architects and planners/operators of all types of retail establishments, Bobrick has been publishing and routinely updating the Planning Guide for Accessible Restrooms since the early ’90s. The latest version is available at Bobrick.com.

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ECRM: Retail circular advertising trends, February 2014

BY CSA STAFF

ECRM compared retail circular advertising in February 2013 versus February 2014 and noted trends occurring across top retail chains. The home improvement retailers have continued to reverse trends from 2013. Home Depot doubled its page count and slightly decreased ads per page, leading to longer, slightly less dense circulars. Despite this, Home Depot still ran less than a quarter of the number of pages that Lowe’s ran, largely due to Lowe’s running three circulars to Home Depot’s one.

Within the grocery channel, both Kroger and Safeway saw a moderate increase in ads per page. Safeway decreased its page count year-over-year, although it still leads Kroger, which continued to increase its page counts. The number of pages per circular was similar for the two retailers as well, with Kroger circulars being six to eight pages long, while Safeway’s were four to seven pages long. Kroger released only four circulars for the month however, compared to Safeway’s seven.

Outside of these channels, the largest change came at Toys “R” Us, which saw a large year-over-year increase in page count, largely due to a mid-month “Deals of the Week” circular, which was not run last year.

About ECRM’s Business Intelligence

ECRM’s Ad Comparisons technology captures promotional data from the top U.S. and Canadian retailers in all major markets. Ad Comparisons captures more than 40 metrics for each ad block and provides hundreds of analytic reports to put the advertising data in context. Ad Comparisons takes an individual approach to ensure all data and reports fit the needs of each user.

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