Retail Case study

Strategic, self-delivered services for a DIY superstore

The customer's current, multi-service agreement is unrecognisable from the original compliance-based contract that started in 2017

Case Study
Case Study

From our original remit to complete all legally required checks, City is now a ‘one-stop shop’ with teams self-delivering a growing list of tasks, many of which were previously sub-contracted to third parties.

Our services now include:  

  • Compliance testing of water temperatures
  • Emergency lighting checks and remedial works
  • Fire door checks
  • Remedial works following fixed wire testing
  • Small works including trolley repairs
  • Service Desk


City supports 152 sites in the UK and Ireland including large and small stores, a head office and 3 distribution centres.

Our sub-contract partner McLaughlin & Harvey maintains stores across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, working under City management. We’ve worked with M&H for 30 years and the interface between the two companies is seamless and almost fully autonomous. City FM’s Service Desk logs jobs for all sites.


A partnership from the start

The main customer representative was fairly new to their role at contract start, but from the beginning they worked with our mobilisation team to keep the plan moving forward. The relationship has continued to strengthen as we work together to deliver continuous improvement and find time and cost savings through a steady increase in self-delivered tasks.

By diversifying service delivery, City has kept the same number of staff on the contract despite the customer having closed around 100 poor-performing stores since the contract began

Upskilling and innovation to realise efficiencies

  • Cumulative savings of many £1000s through the ‘City First Eyes Protocol’: A City RMTE (Regional Maintenance Technician Electrician) is the first to attend to any problem on site, and has been upskilled to triage common issues. This removes the contractor's flat fee of £250 to attend. Where the RMTE cannot fix the issue themselves, they accurately log the job with the Service Desk so the right contractor can visit the site and fix the problem.

  • £150,000 saving in six months thanks to the Small Works Building (SWB) team: City employs two builders and a project-based electrician to complete tasks formerly sub-contracted to third parties. Digging a trench and connecting utilities can be delivered at around 10% of the cost of using a sub-contractor (plus the SWB team labour, which is accounted for within the wider contract cost). The current team covers the South and Midland regions of England, which is being rolled out to the wider contract. The team are kept busy with planned changes to stores or adding new specialist concessions (e.g. a bathroom showroom). Subject to their availability, the team also pick up additional tasks where a contractor has quoted, but it is more cost-effective to use in-house labour.



Peace of mind during the pandemic

This retailer shut all stores during the first national lockdown beginning in March 2020. While some technicians and other team members were furloughed, a small team remained in the business. This gave the customer (specifically area managers and keyholders) confidence that a knowledgeable person was:

  • Completing required alarm and other compliance checks; mandatory water hygiene tasks (flushing); and undertaking security walks around the building perimeters.
  • Able to attend site and log accurate details with the Service Desk if any issues were reported. In non-emergencies, lead times were relaxed to make efficient use of the reduced resource.

This activity meant all stores could safely and easily welcome customers and staff back in May when they were allowed to reopen. 


Adding social value

Environmental benefits:

  • We run PAT tests (portable appliance testing) on electrical equipment returned by customers, so these can be resold at a discount. This reduces the potential environmental impact and cost of removing the waste from the site and recycling it in line with the WEEE (Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment) Regulations 2013. This saves the customer £1.7m per year
  • We dovetail with store waste management processes, and don’t remove any waste from store. This avoids extra waste collections from store, and the admin from processing the necessary paperwork.
    • For example, we put used lightbulbs in the store’s lamping coffins, along with customers’ old bulbs. Replacing lighting with long-life LED reduces energy use, running costs and the volume of waste generated


Economic benefits:

We are recruiting an additional workforce so we can self-deliver fixed wire testing within the coming months. A sub-contractor currently attends all sites during a five-year cycle and bringing all testing and remedial work in-house will save more than £150,000 per year.


Reducing carbon:

  • We work closely with the customer's energy management sub-contractor to monitor gas and electricity use. Any unusually high reading leads to a reactive work request, and a City technician will triage the site to find and remedy the cause
  • When planning maintenance visits, we try to visit each store no more than once per day. Although reactive jobs mean this isn’t always possible, being proactive, organised and methodical about what needs doing reduces mileage and makes maximum use of each visit and technician time


We use Ctrack telematics software in our fleet to identify inefficient driving habits. Sensitively discussing the findings with team members, as well as running our Ecosafe training programme, helps to reduce carbon emissions from the road.


The self-delivery of fixed wire testing will save the customer £150,000 per year

We'll keep your stores safe, compliant and trading, so you can focus on retailing

Find out more about our strategic, self-delivered approach to facilities management