When you outgrow your offices, and your warehouse, it's time to think about moving.
With 2020 seeing a large expansion of the Externiture team ready for 2021 and with a larger range of future products/services being delivered, we finally got to the point where we couldn't put it off any longer - we needed more space. A considerable amount of more space at that. Ending up going from approximately 5000 square feet to 12000 square feet. But it wasn't that easy. Here are a couple of pictures of our old office when we first moved in during 2010 - We thought it was big at the time but... well, you'll see the difference below.
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Things to consider
On top of the usual things like space, location, facilities, internet speeds etc, we were keen to ensure it was a good move for not just the business - but everyone.
The team is mainly based in Thatcham on the Hampshire/Berkshire border and we needed to ensure that our move wasn't disruptive for the team - who often start extremely early in the mornings. Also, Externiture have built up a roster of highly trusted local suppliers too - and being in close proximity has been part of our ability to 'nip over the road' and stare at drawings, or go over project scope with people rapidly. As well as that, reducing our carbon footprint is a key part of our vision and we didn't want to increase everyone's journey times and driving distances.
There were other aspirations too. Externiture is looking to do a lot more manufacturing in 2021. Whilst maintaining excellent supplier relationships, we're aiming to match increasing demand by manufacturing additional items ourselves - which we're hoping will reduce delivery times, increasing flexibility and make it easier for our customers to work with us and have what they need - when they need it.
And that all takes space.
So we went hunting. It's a big step. It's a big thing to do. It had to be right.
A diamond in the rough
Sometimes, you have to have vision. The ability to see through the fog and picture a better future. And that's what we had to do when we found this:
It was perfect in every way. Except that it needed a huge amount of work. It looked neglected.
But then, that's part of what Externiture is all about. Making things better. Doing a great job. Doing the right thing by our team and suppliers. This was the right building. So, we had to do the right thing and invest an incredible amount of time, energy, effort and resources into making it into the new shiny amazing offices we aspired to have.
The Refurb Begins
So, it turns out, we know a thing or two about refurbishment. We do it a lot with old worn out bus shelters and turn them into something so good that many people think they are brand new. But, a building this size? Well, we needed help. And we got the best contractors in to help us make something special.
Below are some images of the early internal works.
Juggling "The Big Move"
A refurbishment like that will take months. And we didn't have months. We'd decided to move. And move we would. So, we worked out a juggling exercise where the contractors refurbished key parts of the new building, we stayed in a temporary office - and then we move everything over to the new building, at speed, during the course of 2 weekends. We created a logging, stacking and storing system whereby we could pack everything up from the old building. Get it rapidly into the new building. And log the location of everything as we went. Clever stuff.
We had 3 teams.
- The first team was stripping down all the old office and warehouse - everything - IT, Phones and office equipment as well as all the glass, aluminium, poly, timetable cases, screws, signs - absolutely everything. They had some of this ready beforehand.
- The second team was loading the vans and driving to the new office (3mins drive away) and unloading.
- Team 3 was helping unload, place the items in key zones within the new building and logging what parts/items/kit was placed where.
It was intense. And we needed a lot of pizza to make it happen. But what does pizza mean? Prizes! And the whole Externiture team over delivered hugely. It was tiring, but great fun.
Here are some pictures:
Shiny New Start for 2021
The offices are now amazing. We have an incredible kitchen (with one of those amazing taps that does magical temperature wizardry - and a dishwasher. Whoop!), plus wonderful facilities (like showers) and the environment is spacious, clean and modern. A new meeting room, faster broadband and new IT means that the company is well placed for 2021.
The warehouse, workshop and print room are ready to serve the demands of our customers as we expand our services and do everything possible to make it easier for them to have the very best bus stop infrastructure and bus shelters.
Some images of our new world. Compare the new front with how it looked before (above)!