“How technology saved contractors during the virus crisis”. Possibly not one of the most read headlines of the last few months. But one that featured on the industry leading, Construction News website. The article cites the transformation of Birmingham’s NEC into a Nightingale Hospital as an example of a project that was turned around at lightning speed. For a project of this size and magnitude good communication between everyone working on the job was crucial. And technology was the critical factor.
What does this have to do with Residential Property Management? Everything. Multiple stakeholders are always involved in the day to day running of a successful portfolio. Just like the NEC to Nightingale Hospital transformation, technology is the key to unlocking good communication and collaboration between everyone.
“Nobody was fully prepared for the coronavirus as it rolled through the UK in the spring.”
Is any business or team ever fully prepared for anything? We go from day to day doing the same things, in the same old ways. Very rarely do we take the time to question our methods. Unless a business is forward thinking and strategically minded, it’s easy to get caught up in the trap of doing what’s always been done. Humans, generally speaking, are resistant to change. However, the pandemic has forced the majority of people and businesses to have to navigate and implement some sort of change. This has shown how adaptable we can be when we have to be.
How can technology help adapt, react and be proactive?
“…some firms were better equipped to cope than others because digital technologies helped them communicate and collaborate.”
This is another useful excerpt from the article. It goes without saying that firms who are better equipped to cope and react to change will be the firms that get the work. When it comes to communication and collaboration in Residential Property Managment, it’s nigh on impossible to do this both swiftly and efficiently without the right technology. Let’s look at this from the point of view of not having right means of communication methods.
In the world of Residential Property Management a typical scenario could be that a repair has been reported by a homeowner. It’s not an emergency but it needs to be fixed within 48 hours. Who is the best person to call? Is this information easy to access? The Property Manager needs to call or email each contractor to determine who is available. The line might be engaged or an email could remain unanswered for hours. It’s crucial that this is sorted today, otherwise there will be an upset client to deal with.
From the Property Manager’s perspective this is a tremendous drain on the most valuable commodity we all have – time. And from the contractor’s point of view, missing a call or email, or getting it too late, could mean missed work.
Now introduce software that Property Managers and contractors have access to. It’s populated with everything and everyone that needs to be involved in organising the work for the client. From quote to invoice, everything is easy to access and view. The Property Manager can generate all the information through the app and it will be seen by everyone who can respond to the job. Quotes are submitted and accepted. Work is assigned and completed. And payments invoiced all through one simple channel. No need to go between emails, voicemails, phone calls or post it note reminders to ‘call back’.
“Keeping on top of what everyone was doing was extraordinarily complex.”
This is one of the key points from the article. We can only imagine how complex transforming an events venue into a fully functioning hospital to deal with a pandemic would have been. But it had to happen. If it didn’t, the project would have stalled. And, at the time, this was not an option.
So how do we make it easier to keep on top of what everyone is doing? Or are we choosing to make it more difficult than it has to be? If we do the former, we potentially go from ‘managing’ or ‘making do’ to being as efficient as the transformation of the NEC. Not only will this benefit teams internally, everyone in the chain will benefit – Property Managers, contractors and of course, clients.
And therein lies the answer to the original question. Sharing information across the repairs and maintenance process can be a challenge when there’s so many people and ways to communicate. By pulling everyone involved into one place, communication is simplified. And we really do need to use technology to harness better business relationships.
“There’s an amazing technological advance that’s happening in the industry and I see a lot of companies that aren’t taking full advantage of it. And in my mind, there’s an opportunity in the industry right now, for companies to get slicker, quicker, faster, and to manage that process very effectively.” Dapatchi founder and chairman Dan Pattrick.
The Property Factoring and contracting industry is no different. Manual processes can and must be replaced by slicker tools. For the benefit of all involved.
Will McIlmoyle, Blockworx, Technical Director.
If your Property Management firm would like to build better relationships with contractors, get in touch with the Blockworx team today at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contractors who work with Property Managers can get started here.