In early 2001, CVS announced its intention to break into the western markets, with plans to open stores in Phoenix and Las Vegas by the end of 2001 and mid-2002, respectively. The retailer commissioned Carter & Burgess to mastermind the rollout.“Rollout” programs combine stealth and speed to help retailers move multiple projects from concept to grand opening as efficiently as possible.
“By using a prototype design that can easily be adapted to multiple sites and jurisdictions, projects can be rolled out all at once with shorter development schedules and consolidated resources,” says Phil Pryor, an architect and program manager in Carter & Burgess' national retail & distribution division.
At mid-2001, CVS prototype concepts, architectural design and civil engineering were ongoing, while dirt was being turned in Las Vegas. But idiosyncrasies in the western markets created challenges for CVS and Carter & Burgess to overcome. “Their entire world has been east of the Mississippi,” says Hale. “These new markets are foreign to them.”
Greg Smith, CVS Pharmacy's director of architecture and engineering, has been working closely with Carter & Burgess' team to launch the western states rollout.
“Relationships are very key as well as the timeliness of what is being produced,” he says. “We operate under very demanding deadlines.”
Like many retail entities that do not want to give their competition even a hint of what they are planning, Smith says his company keeps its expansion plans under wrap until the very last minute — a practice that creates a heightened sense of urgency when a rollout is planned.
To manage the rushed CVS rollout program, Carter & Burgess used a “real time” scheduling and updating system that Hale's group has developed and posted on the program's private website.
“We have developed a scheduling format that will utilize a website in order to share updated schedules and other information,” says Hale. “We've developed a Prolog-based website that allows us to share data and post prototypical standards and schedules for sharing of information within these offices. We can post that and then send along a person on the team to help train a new office and get them up to speed very quickly. You can just go to the website and grab the latest and greatest information.”
Hale says his team is investigating the possibility of expanding the website so the client and developer can get access for communications purposes. “We're using it as a vehicle to move documents around in the web,” he explains. “It's a great way to link our offices.”
“By doing everything in a systematic process with forethought and with the process driving everything, it takes away a lot of opportunity for error,” Hale explains.
Pat Berry is a Dallas-based writer.