Posts Tagged ‘Work Orders’

Have Property and Facility Managers Hit the Change Wall?

Image courtesy of  suphakit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of suphakit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Change seems to be a dirty word in so many industries and organizations. It seems that the Property Management industry leads the charge on this front.  In this day and age of do more with less, the Property Management industry needs to start making some big changes in how it provides infrastructure to its staff.  As leaders in this movement we want to probe this powerful human condition and find out how we can motivate people to understand that change is their friend.  Remind the folks you work with that in order to have progress there must be change.

For instance, customer service. Yes, that is what I said, customer service, you know tenants, or lessees or occupants or residents or whatever your customer type, they are the customers. The other customer is the building owner, often referred to as the client. It becomes crystal clear, however, pleasing the customer, may not please the client. If you hear from your customers that they have various needs to be fulfilled or cannot understand why certain things are the way they are, it is usually attributed to a mandate or philosophy of ownership.

How do you explain a property not having a website and a domain name registered in the name of the property? Is it the PM or FM not having a website or is the building owner not wanting to pay for a website? Is the PM or FM just afraid of the additional burden of more work to do with less time? It can be a variety of reasons, but no property should be without a website. It is not a website for the sake of having a website, it is a customer service portal, for goodness sake. It can save the PM or FM time and money, which in turn can make the client happy. Will it cost something, yes, but it will remain with the property and should in fact, make the property more valuable. The customers that occupy the building can communicate or make contact with the building via the website.  It can serve as the social hub of the property and the central source of information.  By making the website the one-stop place for all things, you are freeing up your staff and yourself from the mundane and routine tasks that just take up the most valuable commodity, time.

Look at the fact that time can be put towards a well written owner report, contribution to the property’s leasing effort, attention paid to the maintenance department and their efficiency. How about time to shop prices and get bids to make further building improvements?  To me, the website can free you up. Will it take time and effort to set it up. Yes. Is it worth it, absolutely.

There are a multitude of features that the website can have, but below we have listed the key areas that can help your operation and provide the most bang for the buck.

Important Telephone Numbers – Fire, police, paramedics, management office, security desk, maintenance, etc.

Building Profile – basic information that you would consider  putting in your Customer Handbook/Tenant Manual. Hours of Operation, Neighborhood Information, Elevator Procedures, Oversize Trash, Recycling, Security, Emergency Procedures, History of the property, in other words FAQ or frequently asked questions, etc.

Location – directions to the property, maps, site plan, legal address, etc.

Announcements – calendar of events, holidays, planned building project schedules, etc.

Leasing Information – contact information

Why is change so difficult? Do companies shoot themselves in the foot when they prevent change or innovation? What frustrates those who attempt to bring new ideas or technologies to the property and facility management industry? We want to hear from you. Please share your comments about what you find yourself up against when you think there is a better or faster or more efficient way to do things, but no one wants to listen to you.

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01 2014

From 0 to 60 Property Management

There may be some that wield high tech tools of sorts, but overall the property/facility management and commercial real estate industry is lacking the technology that would unleash power into its systems and processes.  Because we are so busy making our clients money, counting light bulbs and managing labor to the tiniest penny, we typically fall short of optimizing our workflow.  In my 25 years of experience, I have realized that the pathway for our industry to dig itself out of this low profit margin hole is by embracing the tools that exist today. It has always been my personal mission or desire to demonstrate that a property manager can go from 0 to 60 with the right tools and infrastructure at their fingertips, simultaneously providing clients and customers with a higher level of service.

 

There are managers who do not yet have automated work order systems, dispatch capabilities or automated monthly owner reports and early on in my career it became apparent to me that this inefficiency ultimately had an impact on the bottom line. It was in an office akin to a mini-Kinkos of sorts, producing upwards of 18 partners books per month, where I realized the gap that was emerging in our industry. I will never forget the moment when we were actually able to convince one single client to permit us to email a PDF to them. That was a huge milestone in my career and one I will never forget. We were so proud that out of 55 clients, one single client would permit such high tech delivery! This huge triumph over the antiquated way of business, opened my eyes to how cost effective and efficient things could now be given the technological advances. 

 

Despite the advances, our industry was still slow to adapt, and for me the gap between technology and the property managers became exceedingly more of a problem.  The way Property Managers operated was unnecessary, redundant and even absurd in some cases. Tasks that were taking days could take the click of a button, streamlining and accelerating my business, leaving me freed up to provide quality customer service; walking the property or meeting with potential new customers; working with leasing on creating new ways to lease our buildings; taking customers to lunch; working with programmers to develop a comprehensive and effective website; producing a newsletter; hosting a tenant retention activity; even staff training day.  All of these useful and creative projects had taken a backseat to the repetitive, wasteful functions that currently occur in the normal course of a property/facility manager’s day and the industry cannot afford to tolerate this any longer.

 

There are a few simple things that we can begin to adopt now that will take the industry from 0 to 60. The first is cross industry standards various templates for all of our databases and that will allow software systems to talk with each other. When all of our software is communicable, we will eliminate redundancy and exchange information with clicks instead of paper and laborious data re-entry. The second is connectivity and communication. It is not necessary for a manager to be tied to a desk, in fact a good property manager is mobile without compromising the inflow of requests or customer service needs. The manager is always available and reachable with the tools to dispatch requests and monitor the vendors or projects at all the properties they oversee.  The third is effectively utilizing the Internet as a fundamental component of customer service… Adopt these principles of standards, utilizing the Internet and management mobility and you will empower the property/facility management industry. Not only will you provide the speed and improve the quality, but you will provide your clients and customers with the excellent service they deserve from today’s up to speed, property/facility manager.