Week of September 6, 1999
  Snapshot from the Field

IDRC's Best Practices: Stop Practicing, Start Nominating

Practicing: It's an odd thing to do and still call it a business.

Consider doctors and lawyers -- two of the world's most widely loved professions, as we all know (insert your own painful, personal experience-based zinger here). Invariably, two noble bands of merry men (and women) are in practice. Which, of course, elicits the companion question: When do they ever stop practicing and get it right?

Real estate is a little different from doctoring or lawyering (from which we can take some small, if less well-paid, comfort). Real estate practitioners do stop practicing long enough to document and publicly disseminate their best practices.

(And if you ever want a little mean, harmless fun, ask you friendly family lawyer, "I say, Percival, what would your assessment be of the best practice we should follow in my case?" This, of course, would require a literal, straightforward answer, a task that lawyers are constitutionally unable to perform. Hence, you'll get to watch a lot of strained silence and shuffling of papers while enjoying deep inward chuckles.)

That, in roundabout fashion, brings us to the Best Practice Awards presented by the International Development Research Council , the world's leading corporate real estate association. Initiated. The time is fast drawing nigh for nominations for 1999's Best Practices.

Initiated in 1996, IDRC's Best Practice Awards have quickly become one of the industry's most coveted honors. And your company's real estate team may be one of the next winners of IDRC's Best Practice Awards - but not if you don't get cracking on your nomination by clicking here.


1998's Winners: Capsule Looks

Meanwhile, FYI, here are brief profiles of 1998's winners of IDRC's Best Practice Awards, taken from the January 1999 Site Selection. More detailed profiles published later in 1999 are available through the Site Selection archives at (www.siteselection.com).

• Cigna -- Corporate Infrastructure Management: The Vision 3 Initiative that Cigna real estate created in 1996 is a huge step in integrating physical space with human resources (HR), information technology (IT) and work processes. Vision 3's value-added taps the essence of Corporate Infrastructure ManagementSM (CIR), IDRC's new learning platform.

Cigna embraced CIR in 1995, creating Integrated Workplace Strategies (IWS), a strategic entity integrating support services.

The evolving, three-stage Vision 3, has secured the front-end strategic involvement to make real estate a valued partner proactively enhancing revenue. With IT and HR, real estate offers business units far-reaching, non-traditional services and recommendations, including appropriate work styles and optimal building sizes and shapes.

• KeyCorp, Johnson Controls and Trammell Crow Corporate Services -- Service Delivery: Established in September 1997, the KeyCorp Real Estate Enterprise (KREE) alliance remade service delivery for Cleveland-based KeyCorp's 1,300 facilities in 32 U.S. states.

Using a complex matrix system and just-in-time real estate performance metrics, KREE has measurably improved service delivery quality and process and execution efficiencies, bolstering KeyCorp's competitiveness.

Service providers Johnson Controls and Trammel Crow share space in the three KeyCorp regional offices that drive custom-tailored real estate solutions.

Despite rigorous goals for expense management and property disposal, plus two major KeyCorp acquisitions, KREE's implementation was seamless. And by July 31, 1998, KREE's disposal of closed branches and excess properties boosted the bottom line by $6.8 million.

• Lucent Technologies -- Workplace: While workplace realignments are common, Project Atlas' scale, impact and anticipation of business trends are striking. Like the mythical Greek god who bore the heavens, Atlas supports Lucent's strategy.

Lucent's real estate group is leading Atlas' dramatic, five-year workplace transformation for 24,000 key R&D employees in 12 million sq. ft. (1.1 million sq. m.) of space. With R&D's assistance, real estate concurrently developed workplace and technology infrastructure strategies.

After detailed mapping of work patterns and styles, the Atlas team's 10 pilot programs played to uniformly positive feedback.

Over 10 years, Atlas will save $200 million in operating expenses. More importantly, by improving communication and collaboration, Atlas adds critical value through faster product development.

• Mobil Global Real Estate -- Globalization: Mobil Global Real Estate (GRE) has spearheaded the efforts of Mobil Business Resources (MBS), an integrated support services unit created by Fairfax, Va.-based Mobil in 1994, just as its market focus took a dramatic global turn. (Today's 300 locations span 75 nations.)

GRE established regional offices in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Caracas, Venezuela; Fairfax; Hong Kong; Melbourne, Australia; London; Madras, India; and Singapore. Co-locating its overseas operations with customers has increased GRE's strategic planning involvement and strengthened internal and external partnerships. GRE also deepened its market insight by substantially increasing local hires and establishing regional preferred vendors.

Coordinating shared services and outside players, GRE has become an integrated one-stop shop for cost-effective, flexible solutions. GRE's cost-cutting and asset management programs, in fact, have saved $300 million, with projected savings of $25 million a year.


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©1999 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. Data is from many sources and is not warranted to be accurate or current.