Save money, cut inefficiency with an interior design firm

Working with a commercial interior design firm produces more than just visible results. A well-managed and coordinated firm saves time and money on the physical project, and can identify inefficiencies within the workplace that are a drain on company resources.

“There are endless ways to improve productivity, and it starts with functionality,” says Keith Colamarino, a partner at SMC Consulting, LLC.

Smart Business spoke with Colamarino to learn more about these cost-saving measures.

What are some inefficiencies that commercial design firms can identify?

When it comes to space planning, a commercial design firm will communicate with management and staff to get a good understanding of how the business operates. The firm will explore the current office layout and suggest ways to improve functionality and workflow, for example, by identifying where personnel or departments should be located to establish critical adjacencies.

Determining space requirements can be tricky. Companies often lease or buy more space than they actually need. A commercial design firm will identify space requirements, even when it involves multiple office locations, by developing a standards package that details typical square footage requirements for offices, workstations, conference rooms, break rooms, file rooms or by department. These space/tenancy allocations pave the way for future facilities, cut costs from a design standpoint and aid in the ‘test fit’ process when looking at moving or opening facilities. Office standards are widely used by businesses because they provide measurable cost saving results.

What else can be part of a standards package?

Aside from the tenancy allocations, finish, furniture, fixtures and equipment standards are also favored among many businesses and corporations. From a finish standpoint, most companies like having the same flooring, paint and wall covering, building signage, etc., in all of their facilities. Furniture is no different. Typical workstations, conferencing and private office suites are pre-selected for easy procurement. Outfitting facilities using these standards creates a comfortable, familiar environment for clients and staff across facilities. From a cost savings perspective, developing and implementing these standards also simplifies the design process by abbreviating time spent on selecting finish and furnishing, eliminates the bid process, and can be advantageous during preliminary pricing and budgeting.

By developing relationships with vendors and buying large quantities of the same product repetitively — known as volume discounting — businesses and corporations will realize cost savings.  

What are the effects of aesthetic changes?

There is a psychological aspect when it comes to interior design — how design affects those within a particular space. The most noticeable results of aesthetic changes are client appreciation, and improved employee morale and retention.

It is important for businesses to have an impressive office presentation when employees enter the facility. Companies want their office to be an enjoyable place for their staff to work. Employees tend to be more productive when they aren’t distracted. Happy employees are a reflection of how a company has treated them and how that company operates its business.

When customers enter an aesthetically pleasing facility, and see a happy workforce, they know they are dealing with a company that will respect them as much as it respects its employees.  
Will the cost of implementing these changes outweigh the return on investment?

An interior design firm can save a company time and money when redesign, reorganization and renovations are undertaken. Because every company is unique in the way it operates, interior design firms make it their business to understand their client’s wants and needs, improving or developing solutions to accommodate those expectations, and eliminate inefficiencies along the way. These changes can lead to time and money savings well into the future.

Knowing that change is hard and often met with resistance, a commercial interior design firm breaks a project down rationally so the improvement process is effortless.

Keith Colamarino is a partner at SMC Consulting, LLC. Reach him at (724) 728-8625 or [email protected].

Insights Facilities is brought to you by SMC Consulting, LLC