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From Site Selection magazine, June 2018

Finding Strategic Leverage

Mark Eichkorn
Mark Eichkorn
Chair, IAMC Board of Directors

Everyone loves a BOGO — you know, buy-one-get-one free. These are very rare in business, but one aspect of IAMC's work has some interesting BOGO characteristics.

In 2014, IAMC concluded an agreement with SIOR to split the cost and resulting value of five research projects related to envisioning industrial facility prototypes that would be highly flexible for space revisions and facility re-use for new purposes. The project was named DesignFlex2030.

The first project segment, begun in 2014, was named "Designing Flexibility into the Industrial Workplace." It explored the current situation for industrial facility re-use. The research found that for most in-place facilities little provision had been made in their designs to facilitate revision or re-design when the first use was finished.

In 2015, work started on "Recipe for Change: The Flexible Food Processing Plant of the Future." This was a think-piece that used a team of design, construction and engineering experts to produce a prototype meat processing plant that could be upgraded to incorporate new production technologies, converted to breakfast cereal production and then to a completely new use. 

The response to this white paper surprised us. We presented the results at the IAMC Cleveland Forum and then at a large NAIOP chapter meeting. Many business magazines and food industry trade publications reprinted and otherwise covered the report. When all of the articles and column inches were tallied, coverage of this white paper was valued at almost $300,000. That is, we would have had to spend this much to buy the same levels of press coverage. This was getting close to BOGO territory in return on investment.

In 2017, a different research team helped us produce and publish "Rx for Change: The Flexible Biopharma Facility of the Future." This was more ambitious than the previous two reports because biopharmaceuticals production is scientific in nature and highly technical even as it involves the building's floors, walls and roof. Like the food processing report, this one paid off handsomely in terms of spin-off conference programs and extensive press coverage.

Last month, SIOR and IAMC published "Roadmap for Change: The Flexible Industrial Distribution Facilities Network of The Future." The report was rolled out April 14 to an attentive audience of almost 500 SIOR members in Austin, Texas. The presenters included Karl Heitman, Heitman Architects; Andy Cannon, Ghafari Associates; and Patricia Loveall, Kidder Mathews. The white paper will be presented at IAMC's May Savannah Professional Forum. Next, we'll be presenting in June at NAIOP's I.CON '18: The Industrial Conference in New Jersey. 

The payoffs of the DesignFlex2030 project remind me of the strategic leverage concept. Leverage is when a small amount of cost yields a high level of return. For IAMC, the project has been strategic in that it has expanded our brand awareness, introduced us to new industry partners and generated new knowledge for our members.

I would like to recognize our DesignFlex2030 Committee co-chairs: Ron Grossmann, Real Estate Advisor, Novartis; and Pat McKee, Executive VP Business Development, McKinney Capital & Advisory Group. Great job by all involved!

Best regards,
Mark Eichkorn
Chair, IAMC Board of Directors

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