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Have Property and Facility Managers Hit the Change Wall?

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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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Ringing Phone is Your Wake Up Call

How healthy is your Organization’s Core? Every time you hear a ringing phone, think about it.  I would bet that if you attended any Realcomm event over the past 3 years, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you did not attend, you MUST attend next year. Get out the coffee can and start saving your money. If your company cannot afford it, pay your own way. Visit for more information.

The well being of your corporate infrastructure depends on it! To survive your organizations core must now run 24/7/365. There is no more 9 to 5. It is obsolete terminology.  There is no time for processes to cease or take a break. Today is a 24/7/365 world and the pace is getting faster and more efficient. Is your infrastructure gaining speed or losing speed? Are you hearing ringing around your offices? If so, you need to focus and reduce those ringing phones.

Think about investing small sums by trading the wasted labor expense it takes for a permanent solution that can be used over and over again. Consider the growth opportunities if you can do more with less.  This is not about eliminating people at all. It is about retraining people and realigning people. Grow the business itself, not for the sake of growing the labor pool, as many of us have done in the past.

Our industry is jam packed with business intelligence and we need to discover and unearth it. Our industry holds the key to a massive opportunity for somebody, and that somebody should be you!  The data we all share and the information we all have is vital and it is being unearthed.

Everyone is now relating to one another 24/7/365 via the internet.  People no longer want to wait for your office to open at 9:00 a.m. That is almost silly to even think of today.  What is your own reaction to waiting or being told “No”? Ask yourself that question every time your phone rings. A ringing phone should truly be the bell that goes off in your head. If there is a will, there is the internet.  If you need something you go online and just get it.

You must invest in your Organizational Core. Automate tasks, digitalize Documents, minimize paper, embrace technology, and embrace the change. The challenge for us as an industry is three fold:  ego, money and awareness.  Ego for those that believe their way is better; money for those who have the money now and do not want to lose it (ie, large software companies that will soon be obsolete); awareness for those that do not know about the movement.

There are a few organizations pioneering industry wide standards that you need to be aware of:

Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate – (OSCRE) –   “Deliver global standards for exchanging electronic real property information and drive their adoption”

Multifamily Information and Transactions Standard – (MITS) – “MITS is an industry-wide effort by the apartment sector to develop common data standards and extensible mark-up language (XML) protocol to facilitate data and systems integration.

Realcomm –,  Jim Young, Founder. The intersection of Commercial Real Estate Corporate Real Estate, & Technology.

Each of these organizations are progressive, consciously and consistently providing the cutting edge to our industry. Your Organizational Core is depending on you.  Keep your core healthy and consider any and all the baby steps that are available to embrace the new ways.  Almost all of our mundane and redundant efforts can be automated. Going forward make a pact with yourself to think about your Organization’s Core and whether or not your decisions and actions are working towards a healthy core. Test yourself and watch what is physically going on around you and every time you hear that ringing phone, think of it as your wake up call.