Cover Image for Increase Efficiency with Smart Integrations

Increase Efficiency with Smart Integrations

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6 minutes
Robert Mudd
Robert Mudd

In the MDU arena, we strive to lease as many units as possible, aim for the highest rents, and try to complete all of our many work orders within a 24-hour turnaround. The obvious problem is, as with in life, other issues often come up and take away time and effort, removing the effectiveness we’d like. Any way you look at it, we strive to get the most done in order to give the most attention and customer service to the people that are inhabiting our assets—the residents. While this is the goal, there are contributing roadblocks like maintenance concerns, daily opening and closing activities, and resident complaint remediation. Let’s see how smart integrations can lend a hand in each of these segments

Increase Efficiency with Smart Integrations

Building management systems are great at collecting work orders. Residents can either get on the portal (once they’ve reset the password they most likely forgot) and write up a brief narrative on their issue, or call in and ask a management representative to log it for them (likely interrupting their attempts at leasing to the prospect they’re sitting with). As you can see, both of these activities are frustrating for the resident, the prospect, and the leasing agent. But guess who has the pleasure of dealing with the real headache? The maintenance tech. After pulling a key out of KeyTrac and logging it (or having a management rep do it if they don’t have KeyTrac access), they head upstairs with their cart to encounter a resident at home, on a conference call, with a dog barking in the background, and a simple bulb out in the bathroom.

None of this makes sense, it’s not easy on anyone involved, and yet we’ve all been operating under that process flow for years. Smart technology integrations cut all that out. All of it. Take for example the fully connected apartment. A resident wants to submit a work order so they simply open up their mobile application and type, click, send, and approve the time window. They want to avoid that conference call? Done. They want to make sure their dog is out on a walk? Easy. Access is granted to the tech through the smart lock integration, with a loggable code to substitute for the KeyTrac log. This way they don’t even have to come back downstairs to pull the key or pull someone else away from whatever it was they were doing to pull the key for them. Imagine working a property with 1198 units across 78 buildings. Imagine not having to get in your golf cart to get back to the maintenance office every fifteen minutes. Imagine responding to most, if not all work orders in real time! This is the wave of the future folks, so let’s figure out how to ride it even further.

Happy Workers, Happy Residents

Leasing agents and maintenance technicians are generally the face of any property anyof us have worked. They interact with more residents on a more frequent basis than almost everyone else combined. A case can be made that they are the building blocks of a customer service routine that keeps your assets operating at full occupancy. So let’s show them a little love. Let’s give them the tools that make their lives easier so in turn they have more time to attend to that resident that hasn’t left the building since March. Believe it or not, smart devices are the way to do just that.

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Smart devices can be grouped for any number of reasons. The processes that will mean something to your leasing staff include locks, lights, and thermostats. And so the grouping begins. We start with the vacants. Grouping all the locks together allows you to simply click the “Close Vacants” button on the dashboard, instead of physically going to each unit. Grouping all the lights together inside the vacants means that the same “Close Vacants” button turns all the lights off at once. Grouping all the thermostats together means the temps in those unoccupied, loss-leading apartments that have been sucking electricity from errant thermostats are no longer liabilities. Thanks to that same button, ”Close Vacants”, all temps are set accordingly.

Where did the leasing agent have to go to pull off this coup? All over the community while they’re supposed to be heading home? No. From their desk -> open dashboard ->click “Close Vacants” -> done. Easy as that. In the half hour they had back they leased two apartments, took two work orders, grabbed two oversized packages from the storage room, and dealt with two vendors. Now take this idea and multiply it by the whole year. Welcome to a whole new world.

Let’s Go Ahead and Sweeten the Pot a Little More

Residents make complaints. Unavoidable. We always used to say that for every resident complaint there were probably five more people that were just as frustrated, but didn’t say anything, and ten more people on top of that who noticed but didn’t give it much thought. That’s 16 residents all affected by the same complaint (so maybe we should thank that whiny resident!).

Smart device integrations allow the management staff to track Building Activity from the dashboard. Now, you can enjoy comprehensive visibility and control of all device operations throughout your community. You can receive real-time alerts for leaks, propped-open doors and inefficient utility usage. You can control access, from residents to visitors and vendors, and seamlessly manage who gets into the building and when. Oh, and you can effortlessly engage residents by shooting our mass texts, emails or push notifications with one click. All of these things allow us to address the concerns of all 16 residents, not just the one that actually voiced the issue. As the old proverb goes, “the squeaky wheel gets greased”. Let’s empower your assets and communities to run squeaky clean.

One Real Value Prop Away from a Complete Picture

At this point we’re almost there. We’ve given value to residents, management reps, and maintenance techs. We’ve painted a picture of a day in the life of the connected community, and we’ve given time back to the staff. In our next entry, we’ll shoot for the pièce de résistance. The nail in the coffin. The final frontier. That’s right, next we’re talking dollars and cents. NOI and ROI on this crazy little adventure that will take us into the next MDU era.

Robert Mudd
VP, Business Development

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