15 Tips for Moving Your Business Successfully
Whether a new construction, purchase, or leasing of an industrial facility, the relocation of a given company will have to take place.The actual physical move of a company is just as important as the site selection process involved as well as the physical parameters of the new facility and interior lay-out, design, and possible renovations that may have to be undertaken.
The key element to remember is to avoid costly relocation-related mistakes through proper pre-planning. Many often think that the actual move is the easiest part of relocating to a new address. They’re wrong!
There are three grand steps to follow at the pre-planning stage:
- Determine the date the company is to be fully operational at the new location. The ideal way to do this is to use the « critical path method » indicating milestones on the way to respecting the established date;
- Establish a budget for the move itself; and,
- Meticulously pre-plan every step of the move itself and determine who does what.
The 15 Easy Steps
The project manager
Assign the responsibility for the move to one person (called the project manager) and make sure all staff are aware of this person’s role and responsibility and that collaboration from the staff is an essential element in the success of the move. Make certain the person selected has the time to devote to the move as in most cases it is a full-time job. Make sure the person is very accessible by providing all the means of communication required, especially a cell phone. The project manager must know every aspect of the move and be able to answer questions and make decisions. The ideal candidate would be someone decisive, cooperative, and resolute.
Determine the actual moving date and period. Many like to move during week-ends.
The project manager should adopt a check-list approach.
The project manager must bring into the picture and schedule well before moving day any services requiring long lead times, especially, Hydro Québec and Gaz Met, general contractor and painting works, and wiring and electronic and other component hook-ups. Determine how least to disrupt your operations and your level of customer service during the move.
If your relocation affects your telephone number(s), you will have to coordinate with your supplier (say, Bell) to call-forward those lines to the new location. A long-distance provider other than your main one must also be notified to ensure continuation of their long-distance service.
Make certain IT requirements are met in terms of technical service, equipment, and wiring and server room racking.
Notify Canada Post of the change of address and make all necessary other possibly required arrangements to ensure uninterrupted delivery service. Notify all clients, suppliers, utilities, and others of address change by use of an e-mail broadcast, fax machine, or news bulleting.
Select a moving company
One will have to identify and interview three to six transport companies. One would seek companies with good pricing and expertise as well as ease of communication providing you the ability to properly work with them.
Consider: Does any equipment have to be dismantled and then assembled again at the new location? Does this require specialists? If the equipment is very large, how does one transport it and get it inside the new building? Also consider to order any required furniture, equipment, services well in advance of the actual move. Will the transport company be responsible for dismantling and reassembly of desks, drawing boards, or white boards? Who will take down and place visual screens and projectors?
Identify the surprise elements
what can cause havoc during the actual moveFor example, the company’s lawn sprinkler system may be timed to operate during the move and this would not be good as items are being carried into or out of the transporter truck. Another example is removal of accumulated snow or ice causing dangerous circumstances for transport company handlers and the items they carry into or out of the transporter truck.
Determine who gets what office and have an industrial engineer create a production or warehouse lay-out plan to maximize spatial efficiencies. Also understand and place order if required of any warehouse racking. With the transport company selected code all personnel filing cabinets, desks, boxes, etc… to match the office they will be accommodated in. Departmental managers will be responsible for mapping-out the location of their filing cabinets and bookcases as well as fax machines, photocopiers, recycling bins, and artwork and other decor.
Place order of new stationery and business cards.
Select and install alarm system prior to the move. Tour the new facility with police to determine building security and employee safety. Bring in the local fire department to assess types, number and location of fire extinguishers.
Prepare an emergency evacuation plan and organize drills during the first weeks of occupancy
Property theft & vandalism
Hire a security agency to provide guards during the move and for periods when any sub-contractors are in the new building without company personnel present.
If there is a first aid room, equip it with all necessary supplies and equipment such as eye wash unit and first aid supplies, including an accident log and used supply log.
Furniture & fixtures
Select window coverings based on at least three quotes. Salvage as much office furniture as possible. Arrange sale of any surplus. Order new cafeteria furniture, reception area desk, seating and coffee table as well as conference room table and chairs. Select paint colours.
Understand what the building owner allows in terms of placing a sign on the building or on a pylon. Also understand the municipal by-laws associated to outdoor signs. Determine parking signs and delivery signs. Finally, determine interior signage and make sure they are bilingual or use pictograms.
Determine a date for a grand opening.
John Burrascano is the autor of this article. He is Industrial Commissioner, Real Estate at PME MTL Ouest-de-l'Île.