By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
Gallatin, TN

Nobody likes relocating the office.  It’s a headache.  It’s a pain.  It’s an expense with a ripple effect in the form of new business cards, letterhead, and marketing materials.  Even so, Adams Capital in Atlanta turned lemons into lemonade by using a recent move as an opportunity to set themselves up for greater productivity.

According to Mark Rutledge, Director of Valuation, the decision to move one floor down in their Galleria area building set the wheels in motion. “We sat down and said, ‘what do we have to have this place look like so we can be the most efficient.’” It didn’t hurt, of course that David Adams, firm President, was an engineering graduate from Georgia Tech. Or that Adams and Rutledge both had experience in machinery and equipment valuation; experience that Rutledge says let them think more precisely about process and work flow issues.

One advantage the firm had is that their new floor had not been built out, giving them the ability to design their space from scratch. Also, because they had the same basic footprint one floor higher, they had useful experience with what worked and didn’t work in terms of layout.

The biggest change was in the configuration of the production area. Rutledge compared Adams’ previous production area to a McDonald’s with multiple order-takers criss-crossing and getting in each other’s way. During the build-out, the production room – normally a square – became a rectangle with plenty of production space in the form of a flat countertop along one side. The flow of the room was designed to follow the actual sequence of printing, proofing, binding and shipping that all firms face.

In another design change, open shelves replaced boxes and cupboards, allowing a quicker view of supply inventory levels. “Now,” says Rutledge, “we’re not starting to run 30 copies of a report only to find we don’t have enough paper.” And to top it all off, the firm added more cushion under the carpet to make it easier to stand and complete the production.

In today’s competitive market, you have to create efficiencies where you can find them. Sometimes, opportunities to do that are hidden inside what can look like a nuisance, or worse, at first glance. The next time you make a move, give some additional thought to process rather than simply whose office will be where.

John Borrowman