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The Competitive Advantage

November 29, 2016 | John Salustri

We’ve been looking at the three-part White Paper series from CBRE entitled, “Better Business Performance Through Better Workplace Performance.” So far, we’ve considered the importance of shaping your competitive strategy around talent and how to optimize your workplace to maximize employee output, health and well-being. (You can access all three papers in the series here.)

Now, we turn to the last paper in the series, Building Competitive Advantage, which, as the paper itself points out, “places the focus squarely on the connection between corporate real estate and facility management practices and their role in creating true business advantage.”

In order to accomplish that, there are five key concepts to embrace:

  1. Optimizing the portfolio. “Managing assets and services holistically at a portfolio level is a necessary approach to both maintaining cost discipline and achieving the highest level of performance,” says CBRE. “The advice to occupiers is to translate business strategy into a proactive, as opposed to a reactive, real estate strategy.”

  2. Using the supply chain to your advantage. Partnering with third-party providers is key, according to the White Paper, especially when corporate occupiers are creating leaner, more strategically focused teams. Creating these outside partnerships can help “better manage facilities and expenditures and optimize the value chain” across the portfolio.

  3. The evolving role of technology. Facility costs as well as the health and well-being of the occupants of those facilities are being seriously and positively impacted by the ever-expanding role of technology in the workplace. In short, as the White Paper says, “Buildings are becoming smarter.”

  4. Delivering results to the C-Suite. It’s time the real estate department takes a seat at the boardroom table. In fact, in order to achieve all of the benefits of an optimized workplace, it’s essential that the department have the ear of the senior decision makers, says CBRE. And it makes perfect sense, since “the physical asset is so often the catalyst for change.”

  5. Maintaining the optimized portfolio. Naturally, it’s not enough to put in place all of the systems, products and policies that promise to maximize performance. Once in place, they must be maintained and monitored. Once again, “Real estate is the natural function to lead the long-term strategy surrounding workplace portfolio performance, owing to its understanding of the business strategy, the people being served and the systems in place to support the work.”

About the Author
John Salustri is editor-in-chief of Salustri Content Solutions, Inc., a consultancy focused on enhancing the web and print content of clients around the nation. He is a regular contributor to JPM Magazine and a frequent blogger for IREM’s website. Prior to launching SCS, John was founding editor of, the industry’s premier real estate news website, where he managed the daily output of 25 international reporters, and prior to that, he was editor of Real Estate Forum Magazine. John is a four-time winner of the National Association of Real Estate Editors’ Award for Excellence in Journalism.

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