Visit CREWcast to listen to the full interview (22:22).
"Crisis creates opportunity."
This philosophy has framed much of how 2020 SIOR Global president and Sentry Commercial president, Mark Duclos, SIOR, has faced the continued impact of COVID-19 on his business and on commercial real estate around the globe.
On May 29, 2020, Duclos sat down—virtually of course—with Wendy Mann of CREW Network's CREWcast to provide an overview of the industrial sector and discuss the drivers that continue to make it a No. 1 asset class.
"I'm not sure how I would describe the industrial market," Duclos shared, "[but] I guess I would describe it as resilient." Aside from the widely reported boom e-commerce has seen throughout the pandemic—a boom Duclos believes to be a "long-term, lasting [effect]"—he discussed other ways that the industrial sector has not just adapted to, but grown from the challenges it's faced.
At this point in the pandemic, industrial tenants and property managers should focus on reviewing—and possibly restructuring—their business to ensure optimal employee wellness and safety. Starting the process by listening to employees and their concerns will be the only way, in Duclos' opinion, to figure out how to succeed. "You can come up with all of the ideas that you want, and you can make all of the changes that you want...and you can think that you've done everything right, and guess what? If the employees aren't comfortable, they're going to let you know and that means you're going to have to continue to evolve your plant or your offices to accommodate that comfort level."
Another point is technology. For years, commercial real estate has been slow to the uptake of tech advances. "We've never appreciated our tech stack the way we've appreciated it during this crisis," Duclos said. "We've been [looking at] our technology stack and using [it] to extract real data that can help our clients." He sees this as a time for CRE professionals of all sectors to take the chance to dive into the resources they have, find what's lacking, and research the options to best serve clients. "It's our job," he said, "to stay in front of our clients, Not just on Zoom, but really staying one step ahead of them."
Yes, he admits that accepting advancements—especially ones of a tech-basis—will take a lot of work and "you need to put in the time." But when all is said and done, one may be able to see this crisis as a blessing in disguise. "I've never seen more collaboration [than during] this time...the crisis has exposed our strengths and our weaknesses."
Now is the time to evaluate and change so that our industry can ultimately come out stronger than we ever could have, if not given the opportunity of a crisis.
Listen to the full interview with Mark Duclos, SIOR, and Wendy Mann of CREW Network by visiting CREWcast.