The Impact of Automation in Property Management

Contributed by Kristen Zdon, Service Systems Manager, Buffalo, NY

Technology has brought us a long way from things like land lines and typewriters. Similarly, long gone are the days of dispatching maintenance technicians with a two-way radio, recording maintenance hours with pen and paper, and manually entering data into countless spreadsheets. These methods were tedious and often led to complications with accountability, efficiently managing labor hours, scheduling preventive maintenance and most importantly, measuring the satisfaction of our customers.

With the automation of powerful work order management software and sophisticated tools like dashboards and customizable reporting to analyze data, many difficulties have become easier to manage, if not completely eliminated. Our Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation property management team is highly trained in the use of our web-based software, utilizing this technology to its fullest to automate and streamline operations to create efficiencies for the clients we serve. This includes fitting into a world where quick response times, 24 hours a day/7 days a week, are an expected quality of all customer service platforms. Not only does this technology provide us with the ability to deliver quick responses, it also delivers work order metrics and provides insight to make informed decisions, better manage our properties, and ensure continued customer satisfaction.

Let’s review some of the system highlights that make the automated work order process seamless for both tenants and the property management team:

Self-Service Tenant Resources

Tenants are now able to easily place work orders online and track the status of their own requests with the customer web portal. Additionally, the work order management software has the ability to make photos and notes viewable to both tenants and the property management team, enabling better communication. The management software will automatically send an email to notify customers when their work order is received and completed. After completion, the property management team has the ability to send out tenant surveys to measure tenant satisfaction with the service provided.

Work Order Tracking

We record all maintenance and repair activity in real-time, from the moment a member of the property management team sets foot on a property. Our team of field technicians receives extensive training on the work order management software, ensuring maximum use of the platform. With the ability to track each status update, we can effectively measure metrics like acknowledgment of the work order, response time, and completion time. This real-time insight has shown us that the Ciminelli team consistently completes an average of 97% of work orders on time.

Reporting to Clients

Property management automation gives us the ability to set goals and efficiently measure service level expectations established by our property management team and clients. Customized dashboards and comprehensive reporting in the system gives us the ability to benchmark performance in areas such as preventive maintenance and work order volume. Through the monitoring of these performance areas, these items are then communicated to clients on a monthly, quarterly, and annual schedule to facilitate discussions on performance.

For example, an expectation may be set in the beginning of a service agreement that maintenance technicians are to respond to HVAC work orders within 24 hours. Once they respond to this work order, they are expected to have any routine issues resolved within one week. Our team typically resolves these issues within 72 hours. At the end of the month, we are able to show how many work orders we received regarding that HVAC unit, how long it took our team to respond, and how quickly the work order was completed. This information shows the facilities management client that we are maintaining the standards set in our contract, and keeps them in the loop regarding any issues we may be experiencing.

Preventive Maintenance

By using automated technology to track facility inspections and the preventive maintenance of facility systems, we ensure that we are always performing on schedule. Routine maintenance is scheduled in advance, using the work order management software to automatically generate a work order when a due date is approaching. Detailed checklists ensure that all critical items are addressed during the recurring activity.

With the ability to track preventive maintenance, we know that in 2018, Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation has already completed over 15,000 preventive maintenance work orders, ranging from routine facility checks to scheduled equipment maintenance. Preventive maintenance helps the building perform at maximum capacity, with minimum downtime, driving bottom-line productivity.

Analysis of Trends

Work order tracking makes it easy to understand the types of repairs performed most frequently, where to budget expenses, and how to avoid recurring issues. By regularly reviewing work order trends, we can forecast the top requested items, helping us to be proactive and ready to respond. We know that our top trending items this year include HVAC, electrical, and janitorial. Recognizing this trend, we have taken steps to ensure that we are adequately staffed, property trained, and have specific inventory on hand.

For example, in response to data on the frequency of HVAC repairs, Ciminelli held a mobile training lab focused on HVAC service and troubleshooting. This hands-on learning opportunity provided our maintenance technicians with advanced training in HVAC, giving them the ability to take on a variety of repairs. Not only does this training give our maintenance technicians a higher level of expertise, it also gives them the ability to prevent many of the issues.

Ciminelli has been able to provide our customers with a seamless service delivery experience through innovation, continuous process improvements, and a focus on automation. Our work order system is not only a tracking and measurement tool, but also a resource to help make decisions that are best for the company and our customers. We are constantly striving for increased efficiency as we build our roadmap for the future, and there is no doubt that this advancement in technology will continue to be a valuable tool.

Contact Us Today!

If you are interested in learning more about Property Management services, now is the time to give Ciminelli’s team a call at (716) 631-8000.

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