Match Outside Consultants to Facility Project Management Needs

  July 25, 2012

Today’s tip from Building Operating Management: Recognize when a project is beyond in-house capabilities and create a smart partnership with the right outside vendor.

John Zurinskas, vice president and group regional manager with PNC Realty Services, had many signage conversions under his belt, including a large one comprising 320 buildings. But when PNC acquired National City, the acquisition involved 1,640 branches nationwide, including 26,000 signs. PNC decided the conversion would take place in four waves, with around 400 sites per wave. Every two months, a new wave would kick off. Pulling it off required coordinating thousands of people, from bank personnel to 10 sign manufacturers to tradesmen like carpenters and painters.

Zurinksas had always worked with a sign consultant, but facing the enormity and complexity of the task pushed him to upgrade to a firm he considered a "Cadillac" in the field: Monigle Associates. "I didn't need that kind of horsepower to do the conversions we had been doing," he says. "But when we came across National City's acquisition, I knew I had to bring in a larger firm to help coordinate this thing." The firm helped with creating a timeline and keeping the PNC team accountable for meeting necessary deadlines. This allowed PNC to form the task groups and focus on the "internal horsepower" needed for the job.

The project managed a 16.5 percent savings compared to what the sign conversion process had previously cost. One reason was that the in-house capabilities of the sign consultant also allowed PNC to throw all kinds of "what ifs" at them. The consultant was able to do the necessary research and analysis amid everything else going on in the conversion. Working with the consultant led to a cheaper-to-manufacture sign using LEDs.

This has been a Building Operating Management Tip of the Day. Thanks for listening.


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