A regional bank undertook an aggressive growth strategy, fueled by acquisition. It grew to become the one of the top 10 banks in the United States, as measured by assets, with almost 50,000 employees, over 20 million customers worldwide.
Creating a strong, consistent brand image in its retail stores was a high priority for the bank, whose marketing executives believed a consistent customer experience would make the bank more competitive and improve its ability to attract and retain customers. However, with its rapidly growing number of branches, locations and ATMs, many acquired from other banks, it was difficult for the organization to get a comprehensive picture of conditions across its retail facility network, and to identify renovations and upgrade requirements and determine their associated their costs. The information about facility condition and maintenance requirements that was available was decentralized, inconsistent and often outdated.
The first step in supporting its objective of creating a strong and consistent retail brand in its branches was getting a better understanding of facility conditions and requirements at each branch location, and ranking those requirements based on brand standards.
The bank selected VFA to conduct facility assessments of its retail network of over 1,000 branches and 700 ATMs, totaling more than two million square feet. VFA augmented its standard facility and systems assessments with a branding audit of each retail branch and ATM.
The purpose of the branding audit was to create a baseline evaluation of the image presented by the retail stores as a basis for improvements. The audit inventoried infrastructure elements and signage contributing to brand image and assessed their current condition and appearance. Also considered in the brand audit were such elements as ATMs, customer service areas, teller areas, general office space, employee break rooms, training rooms, restrooms, and special areas such as power rooms. In each of these areas, the condition, appearance and finishes of ceilings, flooring, doors, lighting, walls, and security systems were evaluated, and where relevant, those of window treatments, privacy partitions and appliances.
VFA.facility® software became the central repository for this information, including data on building systems, equipment and fixtures. VFA’s solution included an inventory tracking component that enabled the bank to access data on very specific items, such as color codes, material types, and mechanical systems’ useful lives. Once the assessment data was collected, including specific requirements for repair and renovation, VFA.facility automated the process of establishing associated costs based on RSMeans cost data.
Employing VFA.facility decision-support tools for financial analysis, what-if scenarios and ROI calculations, the bank created a cost-effective plan to bring the facilities surveyed up to brand and condition standards. The plan proposed improvements at the surveyed facilities – with a three-year budget and schedule for implementing them – that would generate additional customer revenues, reduce the cost of the remedial work and, through measures such as quantity purchasing of materials and services, improve project productivity. The plan’s quantification of the savings and new revenues that would be generated was instrumental in allowing project sponsors to win approval and funding.
Using capital project planning tools to most cost-effectively bundle and schedule renovation projects, the bank reduced the number of weeks each facility needed to be closed for renovation by 50 percent compared to past renovations, avoiding significant revenue loss. It also minimized renovation project costs, including savings from:
- Reducing waste through more accurate purchasing, planning and project bundling
- Decreasing material costs from bulk purchasing
- Lowering average labor costs through more frequent competitive bidding
- Reducing emergency repairs
- Minimizing the impact of renovations on employee productivity
After the completion of renovations to meet brand standards, the updated, brandstandard retail stores generated 20 percent more customer revenue per square foot of facility space, reinforcing the bank’s commitment to investing in a consistent customer experience across its branches.
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