Since the mid 1980’s Fortney & Weygandt, Inc. has been active in retail rollout programs. These programs consist of performing the same scope of work in multiple locations across many states. The schedule for each specific location may be as short as one day or as long as three weeks. We have found ourselves adding cigarette display units in 1,600 locations in 6 weeks as well as performing 300 intense remodels in six months. No two programs are alike and the performance parameters are always a challenge.
The Project Management skills on these programs are quite different than typical general contracting. Project Management skills for Rollout projects are dominated more by logistics issues than with construction issues. The typical scope of work will be perfected within the first two stores each crew completes, but the logistics of the programs carry on throughout.
All rollout programs are performed in an open store environment which adds the element of safety concerns for store employees and customers. Coordination of the client’s IT and other vendors is also an important detail that needs to be addressed. Large rollout programs can and will dominate an organization. They can run 7 days a week and up to 16 hours per day.
In the past, Fortney & Weygandt has always been involved in the pre-construction phase and then performed construction on stores that were awarded to us. But this past fall, Fortney & Weygandt was awarded a contract to assist a large national retailer with the Program Management of a 1,680 store conversion. This time Fortney & Weygandt’s only role will be in the management of this program. Construction will be performed by other General Contractors. This is significant for a number of reasons. The most important is that we seem to always be competing against large national firms for this type of opportunity. Now we will be able to compete with these types of firms for Program Management opportunities on an equal footing.
From an education point of view, we have learned more about how a large retailer designs these programs and we are able to offer strategic information on how best to execute the program once it enters the construction phase. So far the challenges are the same for planning a rollout program as well as performing the construction. The environment is very fluid, there are constant changes driven by new ideas. So far it has been quite challenging and exciting. We look forward to a successful completion of this program.