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WINTER 2013

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Distributor's Link Magazine Winter Issue 2013 / VOL 36 / NO.1

14 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

14 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Robert B. Footlik Robert B. Footlik is a licensed professional engineer. A graduate of Illinois Institute of Technology, he has worked extensively in the fields of material handling, plant layout, packaging and management systems. The firm of Footlik and Associates serves as staff warehousing and materials consultants to six trade associations. Footlik writes for 12 trade and professional journals. Footlik and Associates is located at 2521 Gross Point Road, Evanston, Illinois 60601; phone 847-328-5644. TAKE A QUICK LOOK AROUND THE WAREHOUSE Before any improvements can be made in an operation the problems need to be identified. Many areas for improvement as so easily seen that over time they have become invisible. People accept inefficiencies without even thinking about what they are doing and why it is being done. Take a few moments, walk around the building and create your own list of topics for discussion, improvement and implementation. Start at the Street In real estate the “curb appeal” of a property is one of the most important factors in determining value, second only to “location, location, location.” Assuming that you are not going to move then taking a look at the building as a customer sees it can identify problems that are relatively inexpensive to fix. Trash, debris and a poorly managed yard are often painfully obvious and cost little or nothing to eliminate. All too often dunnage, junk pallets and other materials stack up simply because no one called for a pick up. Reorganizing the parking and yard will take some time but this is an investment with a payback from enhanced efficiency, better protection of the property and reduced errors. Patching and seal coating the paving can save repaving in the future while eliminating pot holes and tripping hazards. It also provides an opportunity for rethinking traffic flow, safety and parking spaces. The cost of restriping the lot is essentially the same but the finished product will definitely be highly visible to visitor. Signage changes may also be in order. Taking down faded and obsolete signs and replacing them with uniform, more informative signs can go a long way towards enhancing your image and directing new customers. The expense can be prorated to “advertising” as well as “operations” because both areas will be improved. Want to make a quick statement, garner customer comments and add to the property value Invest in some plants and flowers. Even a plastic urn or two next to the front door and customer entry will be noticed by visitors and when the flowers are blooming so will your business. This is one solution that is easy to implement and you can even use the watering chores to make a statement to the staff that “everyone is responsible for making the business grow.” While you are standing in front of the building turn around and look at the neighborhood. Many municipalities have beautification programs that you can tap into. Tree planting inducements, free plants and planters and other highly visible improvements are often available if you ask at city hall. In an industrial park establishing a beautification board or landowner’s association can share the costs of area wide maintenance and new improvements. This requires a lot of work to set up initially (legal documentation alone can run to 40+ pages) but by getting more neighbors involved your own time will be less and if the buildings around you are owned or managed by a professional real estate firm you can tap into their resources for both initiating the group effort and running the operations. Once in place a modest yearly assessment will cover a multitude of work and by contracting with the association’s vendors you can easily recapture this expense by reducing the cost of your own maintenance. please turn to page 164

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    BRIGHTON-BEST INTERNATIONAL COCKTAI

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    MFDA TABLETOP SHOW THE FIESTA, NEW

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