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Case Study

Organization design helps Desjardins Group rapidly align real estate with business objectives

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​Desjardins Group is the largest association of credit unions in North America. Organic growth and acquisitions mandated new corporate real estate (CRE) strategies to align with and enhance business goals, and quickly gain buy-in from business unit leaders. Among the challenges facing the CRE group were greater scrutiny from internal stakeholders, increased demand for robust reporting, and tougher performance targets.

Using Six Sigma methodology, the JLL consulting team enabled unconventional thinking that helped pinpoint core requirements, and then set execution plans to fit the delivery model. JLL developed an organizational design, staffing optimization and integration framework. This led to a reorganization of CRE operations, moving from site-based control to a centralized model fed by Centers of Excellence. The framework was designed to enhance customer impact through refined service delivery, better collaboration on improvement initiatives and implementation of performance measurements that drive continuous improvement.

As a result of consolidation of budgets and standardization of processes for rent, operating expenses and amortization methods, Desjardins realized a 5 percent reduction in negotiated rent costs and 4 percent decrease in overall real estate cost per square foot; a 4 percent improvement in space utilization and densification; and maintained the size of CRE during a period when the company grew by 17 percent.

“Thanks to a concerted approach and a high level of project management, Real Estate Services helped us manage an emergency situation and avoid an emergency move of our operations, saving us $2.5 million,” noted André Châtelain, Vice President and General Manager, Desjardins Card Service Division.

“An in depth analysis of the occupancy portfolio for our 4,000 employees showed a potential rental savings of $1.3 million a year by introducing alternative modes of occupation,” said Robert Ouellete, Senior Vice President, Desjardins Technology and Shared Services Center.

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