Week of April 3, 2000
  Snapshot from the Field

Y2K: Vigilance Still in Order,
Says Facilities Management Expert

For most corporate facilities, the dawning of the year 2000 passed without major calamities. But as that noted real estate sage, Yogi Berra, once trenchantly observed, "It ain't over 'til it's over."

And maybe it ain't over. At least that's the take from a facilities management expert at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL at www.joneslanglasalle.com), who contend that building systems could still face date-related problems in the future.

Though New Year's Eve passed with no high-profile corporate facility hangovers, building owners still face dangers that are lurking in "date-critical building systems," warns Jones Lang LaSalle National Y2K Project Coordinator Ray Bright.

Disruption Dates Simply Pushed Back?

Like many other companies, however, JLL says it fared well with the advent of Y2K, Bright reports. At the same time though, the Y2K exercise identified other problems, he adds.

"We are very pleased with the performance of the properties managed under Jones Lang LaSalle's Y2K compliance program, with no Y2K-related failures being reported," says Bright. "All systems in these properties had been tested and upgraded where necessary.

"Jones Lang LaSalle's extensive 18-month Y2K program . . . also dealt with problems arising from other critical dates that were discovered at the same time," Bright adds.

One of the problems that JLL's testing turned up, for example, centered on the year 2000's being a leap year, Bright notes.

"Testing revealed the leap-year date - Feb. 29 -- caused problems which, if not remedied, could be as significant as the 1/1/2000 rollover," he notes.

But unless some major problem has been discreetly kept private, Feb. 29 also seems to have passed without any high-profile facilities breakdowns.

Bright, however, insists that other Y2K-related facilities bugaboos are ticking away. The date for potential disruption, he says, has simply moved back.

"Our experience must serve as a warning to property managers as a whole that systems vigilance must be maintained . . . ," Bright notes. "Most system calendars still have expiry dates beyond which they will not function, but these have now been pushed back to some future time."

Y2K Did Have Significant Business Impact

Despite the absence of major snafus thus far, Y2K is, nonetheless, having a significant impact on many companies' operations and profitability.

For example, Y2K fears spurred a substantial number of firms, particularly in the electronics industry, to stockpile inventory in late 1999. Solectron, for example, reportedly upped inventory by 30 percent. How fast such firms return to normal operations will depend on the speed of their logistics systems, say analysts. Players with long supply chains will rebound more slowly, they say.

Other companies, like Dell Computer, saw fourth-quarter 1999 product demand diminish, as corporate customers postponed purchases to see what Y2K might bring. With the Jan. 1 date passing rather uneventfully, though, Dell is now seeing product demand spike back up, company officials say.

But whether corporate facility systems are now truly Y2OK, though, remains to be seen, JLL contends.



©2000 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. Data is from many sources and is not warranted to be accurate or current.