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Planning for success Featured

7:00pm EDT January 31, 2007

A move to a new location requires careful planning and the input of an expert. So when it became obvious to Dick Muny more than two years ago that it would be necessary to consolidate the diverse technical disciplines of Chemsultants International Inc. at one location, he set in motion plans to relocate to a corporate campus he hoped would improve efficiency and be more conducive to collaboration.

When Muny founded Chemsultants in the mid-1980s, the company was primarily a consulting laboratory specializing in the polymer and adhesives industries. Later, Muny found that a market existed for processes and devices his company had developed for its own use, and so he launched ChemInstruments and ChemDevelopment under the Chemsultants umbrella.

And while sales increased, topping $14 million in 2006 revenue, the expansion presented problems. Located in three separate buildings in Mentor and one in Cincinnati, the company struggled with communication breakdowns.

“Often, a project leader would have to place a phone call and wait to make an appointment with a guru who is in a different location,” Muny says. “Because of the inconvenience involved, we often had these bright people working on that aspect of the project themselves instead of getting the help of an expert.”

At the new location since last summer, Muny is already observing the results he hoped for: increased collaboration and efficiency, and an increase in workload for the company. He credits the success to preparation. The planning aspect of a major relocation is vital to ensuring the project’s success, and Muny says the right time to begin planning a move is two years before you actually move.

“It’s easy for someone who is in the research and development business to think ahead because that’s what we do every day,” Muny says. “For many years, I’ve been sitting around at my desk designing fantasy buildings or fantasy campuses because it’s just part of working on your next vision for where the company’s going to go.”

To assist in planning for and executing the move, Muny brought on relocation consultant Brian Winston, a former project manager for Avery Dennison Corp., a decision that he says was important to the project’s success.

“He helped design the building, he helped negotiate with the contractor, he kept track of all the details,” Muny says. “He single-handedly helped us avoid some real disasters because he was able to focus on that specific project, while I had to run the business and all these other things, as well. If I had to do my regular job and that job, too, we would not have had the same quality building.

“No matter how experienced you think you are, you’re not an expert in dealing with builders and contractors. You need somebody that speaks their language and can tell you when things aren’t right.”

In addition to having an experienced project manager, Muny says such tasks require that employees at all levels make an effort to ensure a smooth transition. He was astonished at the results of collaboration when moving day finally rolled around.

“Everybody pitched in and made it work,” Muny says. “I was amazed by the fact that the day we moved into this building, every computer worked and all the phones worked. That kind of stuff our central office people spent an awful lot of time planning. That was huge.”

HOW TO REACH: Chemsultants International Inc., (440) 974-3080 or www.chemsultants.com