How to manage a rollout
When getting started on a signage project, figuring out how to get it done by the client’s deadline is the first challenge.
Before you start looking at a national rollout, you need to create a solid plan detailing how the sign and the project will go together. Failing to plan is planning to fail and will cost you.
Before you get to the site, you’ll need to understand what the client wants and look at their brief in your head. Have a look at the area on Google maps to get a feel for the area.
Having prepared well, you’ll get the advantage of going to the site with much more clarity about the task at hand.
At the site visit, take in the details, such as:
- Potential for road closures
- Safety for pedestrians both outside and inside the building
- What access equipment you will need
- Whether you need permits for access equipment.
- Condition of the existing structure
When you’re on-site, start to visualise how the job’s going to come together – before you even start measuring.
What we’d normally do is look at the future site of the sign and imagine it getting painted and then going up. Then, we visualise the potential problems we may encounter.
Only after doing this, we start to take the measurements.
Measuring the site
We generally measure the whole building. This includes the overall widths/heights, spaces between downpipes and distance to any obstructions.
Once we’ve done the site inspection, we bring all that information back to our office and thoroughly go through it to understand it. The next step is the quoting process.
Taking the time and putting in the extra effort to truly understand the project and the needs of your client will always make a huge positive difference, which is magnified with a big national project.
When you’re taking on a large-scale rebranding project that involves new signage, there are steps you need to take to minimise risk.
Stay 5 steps ahead
Clients will provide mockups and pretty pictures. Unfortunately, they sometimes put the new mockup images over the top of existing structures and miss highlighting things such as downpipes, flood lights and even electrical boxes.
What else could go wrong?
While downpipes and electrical boxes are the main factors that could pose a risk to a project, they aren’t the only things that could go wrong.
Unexpected occurrences are common, such as the client forgetting to tell you they’re putting a door where your sign was going and suddenly, the sign won’t work.
There have been times when we have arrived at a site to see that things have been changed or moved and we hadn’t been informed.
When this happens, it’s essential to think on your feet. Expect the unexpected and work with the client to give a proper solution to the problems that arise.
For us, these are rare issues because we do our due diligence, but if we didn’t conduct site survey, we’d get them all the time. We pride ourselves on conducting a thorough site survey to mitigate all these risks, trying to pick up any minor details that could turn into major problems if left untreated.
THE PROJECT IS NOW LIVE
Preparing for the project from the start.
Work to the end date
You must account for delays and things going wrong. That’s why for a project with a six-week deadline, we’ll work as if it’s four weeks to give us some valuable buffer time. To make this speedier deadline work, we’ll push hard at the start to get as much done as possible and move forward from there.
When planning projects out, we work to the end date and then we set our deliverable dates. We then set installation dates, which we won’t move unless something major happens outside of our control, such as not being able to get council approvals or unscheduled power shutdowns.
It’s necessary to work to the installation date because you will always drift out – with so many moving parts, it’s almost inevitable. For every big job that has 30 components to it, at least five will fall over on the way through, so you need to have a backup plan and know exactly what to do when things begin to deviate from the timeline.
Saving time on paperwork
Once the project is approved, and we’ve got the art ready to go, the next step is the documentation.
While this is an important aspect of larger projects, it applies with smaller projects as well.
We then get into a proofing stage, here we will mockup the new signage / painting to form a proofing documentation. This documentation outlines the below elements:
- Signage sizes
- Painting details
- Installation detail
When should you apply for council approval?
Once the final proof is approved, in some cases, we will need to go to council.
So, while we’re creating that document, we’re already applying to council for a permit. Most councils will have specific conditions around signage sizes. And be prepared – you might need to wait a few weeks to get council approval, so you want to have that done at the start.
Unless there’s a heritage overlay, most buildings will be approved if the relevant conditions are met.
If you’re doing a rebrand that involves a name change, but the dimensions are close to like-for-like, most often you won’t have an issue getting it across the line with council.
The council will need documentation to cover:
- How the sign will be fixed to the building
- Signage sizes & Materials
- Paint specification.
- Your OH&S documents
- Working at heights
- Public liability insurance
- TMP (traffic management plan)
All the above goes into the application and nine times out of ten you will get an approval without too many modifications.
Effective planning is the key to managing successful projects and delivering them on time to the best possible standard.
Big nation-wide projects shouldn’t be any more daunting than small ones if you know how to manage them properly.
We’ve done a lot of exciting national projects at IOP and we’ve learnt a lot along the way. When taking on a national project, there are a lot of considerations that are essential for getting it done efficiently and effectively.
Large retailers want two things from a nationwide or large-scale signage project: a reasonable price and excellent service.
So what exactly does excellent service mean?
We believe it is a level of service that takes your client’s headache away. They want to know that we will deliver a project on time and for the agreed price without any issues during the process.
It’s about going above and beyond and delivering a project to such high standards that it makes the clients say ”wow!”
The elements of five-star service
We pride ourselves in making sure we understand every detail of the job. We undertake thorough site inspections to uncover and fix any potential issues before they potentially become a big problem.
When we do this before quoting, it means we can give clients more certainty on the project. The worst thing you can do to your clients is to change your quote and or project deliverables after coming across an issue that you missed earlier.
Such forced revisions are the worst-case scenario and why we make sure we do our due diligence before quoting.
Raise the issues early
We’re not scared to raise potential issues with our clients.
It’s for their benefit, of course – speaking up has saved clients a lot of money over the years.
Our expertise and willingness to advise on a project gets our clients the best result, giving them the benefit of our vast experience in the signage business.
We’ve done countless projects just like theirs, so we’ll be able to advise on the best practices for their sign and the project at all stages.
Before any sign goes up, we’ll make sure the sign’s position maximises exposure. That means looking at the visual reference from all points of traffic – foot traffic, car traffic and public transport – to make sure your brand is visible to everyone.
After all, that’s the reason we have signs in the first place.
We know how important service is for a seamless national rollout, and you can’t afford anything less.