Planning for proactive Dark Store Management
during and after the COVID-19 pandemic
In the past year, the global COVID-19 pandemic became the reason for thousands of multi-site facilities to temporarily or permanently close. Facility managers have been faced with the challenge of maintaining stores while closed or preparing to reopen. For those stores that have been unable to reopen right away or have been unfortunately forced to close – Dark Store Management is critical to keep the site functional.
Here are four of the most important considerations to help facility managers maintain stores that are closed and keep the premises safe and secure during and after the COVID-19 crisis:
- Security – Protect the building, any assets that may remain in the building and any employees who may still need to do work in the building. Also address the potential for theft and vandalism, which often involves hiring security guards.
- Systems management – Determine which services must continue and which can be turned off or must be managed going forward. These include HVAC, electrical, and water.
- Exterior maintenance – Maintain landscaping, signage, exterior lighting and parking lot maintenance and in some areas, snow removal. Often times we suggest a reduced scope of work and service frequency to ensure properties are maintained and accessible for employees and emergency vehicles if necessary. Failure to maintain these can result in local fines.
- Establish a schedule of facility assessments – This may include multiple checks per day or simple weekly checks. And, it’s critical to have a network of suppliers ready to address any issues they discover during these checks.
As you can imagine, dark properties are a major challenge for multi-site companies right now. The solution is to work with trusted service providers who can “step in” to provide solutions, execute this process across a wide network of locations, and do it quickly and properly. This ensures properties remain maintained and prevents large capital expenditure costs down the road. Speak with your vendor partners and give them clear expectations.