You remodel your stores to boost customer interest, improve the shopping experience, and ultimately increase your revenue. But your remodel program is no small expense. Moreover, it demands juggling a variety of vendors within a compressed schedule—and has the added complexity of modifying retail spaces that are alive with existing stock, shelving, and shoppers.
“The last thing you want is for your remodel program to drag on and on. In fact, you ideally want to find ways to speed it up,” says Phil Vines, Director of Business Development for Store Opening Solutions.
Fortunately, there’s a way to create significant efficiencies in your remodel process to expedite your project schedule: by consolidating your retail fixtures, furniture, and equipment (FF&E).
In the following, we’ll describe five ways that FF&E consolidation can not only help facilitate your remodel schedules but also improve your overall remodeling program.
The fundamentals of FF&E consolidation for store remodels
Retail consolidation involves partnering with a consolidator who receives and warehouses the FF&E needed for your store remodel program. The consolidator also inspects, organizes, re-palletizes, and ultimately ships FF&E to specific remodel sites precisely when needed. (For the nuts and bolts of consolidation, check out Retail FF&E Consolidation: See How It Works and Why It’s a Better Process.)
Retailers can gain a variety of advantages with FF&E consolidation, not just for remodeling but also for opening new stores and converting newly acquired ones. But for our purposes here, we’ll focus on the key benefits this approach creates for your store remodel program.
1. Protect your store remodel schedule from disruption
Relying on vendor-direct, just-in-time deliveries to your remodel sites makes you much more vulnerable to schedule disruptions.
“What happens when, say, gondolas or self-checkout registers or some other major FF&E are delayed? It can create a negative chain reaction that throws off your entire remodel schedule,” says Store Opening Solutions’ Phil Vines.
On the other hand, with the warehouse space you have available through your consolidator, you’re free to order FF&E items well in advance. That means they’ll be sitting ready to be picked and delivered to remodel sites when you need them. Now you can set your schedule knowing that at least one major component of your remodel—your FF&E—is taken care of.
Note also that consolidation can work well even if you’re ordering incrementally. “Let’s say you plan to do 100 stores next year but funding is released quarterly. You can create a disruption buffer by ordering enough for 30 or so stores per quarter,” Vines explains. “You now have safety stock built in just in case there are any delays with your next round of orders.”
2. Expedite your store remodel schedule
What if favorable circumstances emerge that make it possible to expedite your remodel schedule? Unfortunately, using a vendor-direct approach for your FF&E often means being locked into the order schedule you established months earlier.
“Think about your fixtures vendor, for example,” says Vines. “If they’ve already slated individual store orders to be built and shipped at designated times, it can be nearly impossible to get them to change that schedule. After all, they have their own internal reasons to stick to a schedule.”
But with consolidation, you’re freed from those schedule constraints because, remember, your fixtures are already with your consolidator. So what if, for instance, you have a run where you’re doing two stores a week, but you look to the coming summer and decide you want to push it to five stores a week?
That’s not a problem when you use consolidation because your consolidator can adapt to your preferred schedule. “What we do here at SOS,” says Vines, “is flex our staff to meet the labor requirements our clients demand. So, we can pick and deliver orders as fast as you need them. Just give us a heads-up, typically three to four weeks out, and we can make it happen.”
3. Rearrange your store remodel schedule
Now let’s imagine a scenario where you have to hit pause on your store remodel schedule because of a blizzard in the Northeast or a hurricane in the Gulf. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just continue the remodel momentum by conveniently shifting FF&E deliveries to some other area?
That won’t be easy with a vendor-direct, store-specific order model. In fact, not only will it be challenging to have vendors alter their schedules for you; you might even need to figure out where you can redirect your FF&E deliveries for temporary storage—at potentially exorbitant prices.
You can avoid remodeling complications like these by opting for consolidation. “If you have the ability to send crews to another region, you can keep your remodel schedule moving forward,” says Vines. “You just call your consolidator and tell them to hold on specific orders and instead pick a different set of orders for another region.”
4. Change up the contents of your FF&E orders more easily
Remodeling typically involves moving from an old layout to what ideally is a new and improved one. In some cases, you could even be experimenting with formats in test stores.
“Let’s say you’re testing a new format with four self-checkouts and one manned register, and it’s working so well you’d love to use that format in more of your remodels. But if your vendor already has your future orders in their pipeline, it’s much more difficult to make changes last minute,” Vines says.
Here again, consolidation creates an advantage.
“Compared to a conventional approach to FF&E,” says Vines, “you’re able to change actual order contents much later in the game. That can be huge if you make some discoveries in the middle of your program that you want reflected in upcoming remodels.”
5. Recover usable FF&E systematically (and conveniently)
Remodeling often involves the removal and disposal of certain FF&E items. However, there’s also a chance some of that FF&E could be useful in other stores.
Unfortunately, when you’re pressed for time, coordinating what FF&E to keep can seem like more trouble than it’s worth, especially without a physical space to temporarily store them and a system to track and inventory them.
But with consolidation, your consolidator can lead a process known as reverse logistics. This involves retrieving the FF&E items you want to keep, incorporating them into your trackable inventory, and storing them in your designated warehouse space until you need them.
Is Your Old Remodel Routine Getting … Old?
When was the last time you seriously examined a potentially better way to handle your store remodels? You’ve just seen a variety of ways that FF&E consolidation can improve how your remodel schedule unfolds.
But we’re really just scratching the surface. By opting for FF&E consolidation for your remodels, you can also gain additional advantages like these:
- Save significantly by taking advantage of bulk rate discounts
- Reduce transportation costs by minimizing shipments and using more full truckloads
- Free yourself from the stress of living and dying by perfectly timed vendor-direct deliveries
- Enjoy a streamlined communication process with one point of contact, your consolidator
For more details on how consolidation can help you, contact Store Opening Solutions to start a conversation. For nearly 30 years, our consolidation services have helped major retailers like Petco, Dollar General, Tractor Supply, and many others grow and improve their store networks much more efficiently.
About Store Opening Solutions
We support the strategic vision of retail organizations with focused expertise in the consolidation and installation of store fixtures and equipment. Our dedicated team embraces your vision and partners with you to create appropriate inventory control processes.