The Industrial Broker Role Now One of an Advisor

Decision making for the corporate client in industrial estate is no longer about just finding a building that physically meets the client’s needs at the lowest lease rate. The role of the broker has become vastly different from when I started in the business 40 years ago. No longer is it just matching a building to the client square footage needs. A professional broker is really an advisor --- one who must understand all aspects of our client’s business and culture in order to provide maximum value and make recommendations that will help them achieve the lowest supply chain cost with a particular building and location. That is why we branded our team several years ago “Supply Chain Real Estate Advisors” (SCREA).

In today’s fast paced data-driven world, being a supply chain real estate specialist is about finding the property that provides the “optimum supply chain real estate” solution – one that factors in the costs of the real estate, but more importantly factors such as transportation, infrastructure availability, access to qualified labor within a 30-minute drive time, proximity to customers and suppliers, operating costs variations (taxes, utilities, insurance, etc.), community incentives, nearby amenities such as housing, restaurants, shopping options, educational facilities, and available buildings or sites.

Our team is currently working with a company with existing facilities in multiple U.S. locations. Their desire is to expand their footprint by putting another facility in the central US. We have been advising them by exploring existing facilities and development sites on which to build. To add maximum value to our clients’ supply chain real estate decisions, we must:

· Understand our clients’ business, culture and how their customers value their relationship with our client.

· Understand our client’ inventory processes.

· Consult with our clients on transportation costs through drive time analysis to their customers.

· Help our clients understand operating costs (real estate taxes, insurance, etc.) of option within the various sectors of a particular market.

· Be able to provide information on labor availability, along with a drive time analysis to their labor pool, wage rates and demographics so the client can know it has the ability to recruit and retain a talented workforce.

We have found insurance costs can vary within a particular section of a metropolitan area. Property insurance rates, transportation's costs (drayage), and information on the amount and type of available labor are key to making the best decision.

We live in the age of digital data, and data driven analytics is a decision-making tool that not many brokerage professionals employ. Knowing the type of data needed, where to find it and how to use it is paramount in helping our clients make optimal real estate decisions. Collaboration is crucial to understand our clients’ business strategy, their challenges and plans for the future.

We have to be able to provide more analytics to our clients in order to provide maximum value to their supply chain real estate decisions. The data is available, and the more data we have and can interpret and provide our clients, the more valued our trusted partnership becomes. At Colliers, we also have the benefit of supply chain specialists who have worked inside Fortune 100 companies. Their specialized expertise is to understand the supply chain strategy and perform network optimization studies for our clients in order to help our team provide information and thought leadership that will enable us to provide the best overall supply chain real estate solution to meet our clients’ needs.

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