It’s a People Business

Harry Bannatyne, Jones Lang LaSalle

‘It’s a People Business’


Recently, Jones Lang LaSalle and ILD partnered in the development of a state-of-the-art distribution centre for Foxconn. Harry Bannatyne of JLL explains why building trust, mutual understanding and a close personal relationship are key to a smooth development process.

Foxconn Technology CZ is a subsidiary of the Taiwanese Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer. It manufactures products such as the iPad, iPhone, iPod, Kindle, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U. Foxconn Technology CZ is the second largest exporter in the Czech Republic, after Skoda.

The Foxconn project in Kutná Hora, east of Prague in the Czech Republic, includes 25,400 m² of warehouse and plant rooms, and 800 m² of offices and staff facilities. Additionally, technical access roads, service and parking infrastructure were developed. Harry Bannatyne is leading the full implementation of Jones Lang LaSalle’s CEE industrial strategy throughout the Czech and Slovak Republics. He was involved in the Foxconn project from the start.

Development for Foxconn CZ was initiated by JLL. How does the story begin?

Harry Bannatyne: ‘We were asked by our client Foxconn to find a credible company to develop a build-to-own, class-A distribution centre on their site in Kutná Hora. We tendered several developers, ILD being one of them. Throughout the process, including meetings, offers, etc., ILD provided the best solution in terms of price, timing and technical detail. Its approach was also a good match to the production facility next door. But what really tipped the balance was ILD’s personal touch.’

What really tipped the balance was ILD’s personal touch.

What do you mean by personal touch?

Harry Bannatyne: ‘It’s all about a certain kind of chemistry. A developer and a tenant or end user have to collaborate on a range of issues for at least six to eighteen months, possibly also in later development phases. It helps when the parties get along. Moreover, in this case, construction time itself was very short, with only five months from ground levelling to early access, demanding very short communication lines. Thus trust is very important.’


How does ILD build trust?

Harry Bannatyne: ‘I have been working in the Czech Republic for nearly nine years now, and we have been working with ILD for six years. The people at ILD are very open and make themselves easily available. They listen to the client and come up with a range of options to meet each client need. You have to trust the development partner to deliver on time, and to the standard promised. Most developers offer more or less the same service, and prices differ by no more than 10 per cent. So, it all comes down to trust and chemistry. It’s a people business.’

It all comes down to trust and chemistry. It’s a people business.

What are the most important things to manage in the client/developer relationship?

 Harry Bannatyne: ‘Timing is of the uttermost importance. Which is why the parties will define milestones. The developer also relies a lot on the client to deliver pieces of the equation: obtaining a usage permit, giving the developer accurate information of what it will be doing with the developed project. If there are any changes during the process in the client’s or the developer’s point of view, developer and client must work together to find a solution on how to move forward. And since deadlines don’t change no matter what other changes are made, both parties must find a solution, and sometimes they have to be quite innovative… Of course, there are needs and there are wants. Sometimes the developer must say: ‘OK you want this, but you don’t need it, so we’ve looked at what you wanted and came up with a solution that is cheaper and that can be implemented within the deadlines.’ It’s both sides working together to find a solution. In the end, and even when it’s a build-to-own project, it’s all about reputation and building good relationships, so the next time there is a need, we are the first point of call.’

Does ILD stand out with respect to innovation?

 Harry Bannatyne: ‘First of all, Foxconn is the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer. The company is also very environmentally conscious on a global basis. So, they look for sustainable innovative solutions with improved energy usage, working comfort, etc. ILD developed several solutions that helped implement this strategy.’

‘The people of ILD with their various backgrounds also understand the manufacturing process very well, which is helpful if the client doesn’t know exactly what it needs. The client can explain its expectations, and ILD can use its experience to refer to best-case scenarios.’

The people of ILD with their various backgrounds also understand the manufacturing process very well.

Are clients becoming more demanding?

 Harry Bannatyne: ‘Most projects in the Czech Republic are now build-to-suit. Compared to pre-crisis times, vacancy in existing warehousing is very low: about four per cent. So now, nearly all developers are doing build-to-suit, which increases competition. All the developers are demanding a slice of the same cake. Tenants know this, so are more demanding concerning their desires. But again, it’s a people business, and each of the three parties involved is pursuing the same goal. The tenant wants a good solution that works for them. The developer wants to deliver the good solution on time, and the agent wants both a happy client and a happy developer.’

Harry Bannatyne is Head of Industrial Agency – National Director – Lead Director of CEE Industrial & Logistics Jones Lang LaSalle.

 Interview by Hans Housen



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