The Most Common Issues that are Affecting your Business Productivity
Table of Contents:
What is Business Productivity?
We have all heard the word productivity, and at one point in our lives, we have probably wished we could be more productive. The more effective you are, directly impacts how much you can get done. But how does productivity play a role in your business, and how can you measure how productive your processes are?
What are the top 3 ways to determine how productive your property management company is?
- Analyzing key data metrics
- Checking employee performance
- Examining your processes
Simply put, business productivity is the amount of output compared to the number of resources put in. For example, if a plumber completes more tasks on Monday than Wednesday, how can you determine if they were more productive on Wednesday than on Monday?
You have to consider a few key inputs when analyzing productivity.
- Hours worked: How long did an employee or a team work on a specific project?
- Non-labor expenses: This could include building costs, any software charges, employee benefits, team training, and more
- Materials: Any materials needed to produce a good or service. In the example used above, this could be the cost of parts the plumber purchased to complete a project.
The Importance of Productivity in Property Management
Productivity and efficiency are essential because it helps your property management company measure its effectiveness. More importantly, identifying areas where you may need to be more efficient is a good indicator that a change needs to be made. Finding areas of improvement can help you streamline your process by decreasing employee downtime, developing new techniques, or implementing technology to help increase your productivity.
Also, productivity is important because it affects nearly every aspect of your business. Most notably, it directly impacts your customer satisfaction and your profits. For example, let’s say a resident submits a work order for a broken sink, and the first time your vendor goes they have the wrong part, so you have to reschedule a new time and send them out again. The longer it takes for the repair to be completed, the more frustrated your resident will become. Not to mention, you have to pay for multiple trip charges meaning you are losing money.
Productivity Issues you might be dealing with
After speaking with hundreds of property management companies about their current maintenance processes, we repeatedly hear the same issues. The most significant pain point most property management companies deal with is productivity in their maintenance process. Finding and employing well-trained internal maintenance techs or third-party vendors takes a lot of work. So it’s crucial to ensure your team can perform at peak efficiency. According to CIO Insight, on average, workers waste 520 hours a year on repetitive tasks. That equates to over three months a year of time and money spent on mundane tasks.
A lack of efficiency in your maintenance process can have a large-scale negative impact on every aspect of your business. For example, scheduling and coordinating maintenance can take days or even weeks of back and forth. And the longer a repair takes to be completed, the higher the risk of an angry resident. In fact, our data show if an HVAC repair takes longer than 5.5 days, the chance of a negative review is exponential, or worst-case scenario, residents move out because they don’t feel valued. Additionally, increased resident turnover has a direct impact on increased owner churn. The more turnovers you have equates to higher turnover costs and vacancy rates, which contribute to more expenses for your property owners.
In reality, if your team is manually following up on the status of maintenance requests, ensuring its completion can take longer than the actual job getting done. Bogging down your team with mundane tasks leaves them with no time to focus on other things like filling vacant units, resident satisfaction, and company growth opportunities.
If you feel like every day you come into work, you’re struggling to keep your head above water, with an inbox of maintenance requests, voicemails from residents, and sticky notes plastered on the walls, it may be time for a change.
How to Identify Areas of Improvement
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. If there is an issue with one of your maintenance processes or systems, continuing to move forward in the same way will only hurt your business in the end. By reviewing your current setup, you can find kinks in your system that need improvement.
When identifying weak links in your maintenance system, you should look out for a few key things.
- Employees or teams that could have better training
- Departments that need more resources or team members
- Making sure objectives and goals are clear
- Prioritizing tasks by order of importance
- Time-consuming tasks that can be automated
Once you identify areas of improvement in your process, it’s time to consider making a change. With the 80/20 principle, you can prioritize the most critical aspects of your maintenance process and help your team perform at peak efficiency.
What is the 80/20 rule?
The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, states that 20% of input causes 80% of your results. It can also mean that 80% of effects are brought about by 20% of causes.
In other words, the most productive 20% of your day produces 80% of your work. So how can you use the Pareto Principle to maximize productivity and profits? Once you understand the 80/20 rule, you can focus your efforts on the 20% that significantly impact your business.
The 80/20 rule was developed in 1897 by Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist. He observed that 20% of the pea pods in his garden produced 80% of the peas. Using this observation, he applied it to land distribution and realized that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. Since Pareto discovered the 80/20 rule, the principle has been applied to various scenarios. While it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, there are many examples of the 80/20 rule in business.
Below is a list of typical examples of the 80/20 rule.
- 80% of website searches involve 20% of keywords
- 80% of sales are from 20% of clients
- 80% of wealth is owned by 20% of the population
How Does the 80/20 Rule Apply to Productivity in Maintenance?
Once you understand the 80/20 rule, you can use it to manage your time better and focus on crucial things before dealing with more trivial ones. You can use it to achieve your goals more efficiently. First, you can better manage your priorities. Suppose you spend 80% of your day communicating and scheduling work orders with vendors and tenants. In that case, you aren’t leaving enough time to focus on the 20% that will impact your property management company.
Take the example above; if 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients, those customers should be your top priority. If you have a missed call from three clients and one is in your top 20%, you should call them first. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care and look after all your clients, but the ones with the most significant impact on your bottom line should be a priority.
This principle doesn’t just apply to clients. You can also use it to manage your own time. We all have a time of day when we are most productive. For some, it is the morning. For others, it may be after lunch. Identify when you are the most energized and use that time to work on your most demanding, most valuable tasks, like reaching out to property owners to grow your company’s portfolio. Completing the top 20% of your work when you are most productive, means you can get more work done in a shorter amount of time.
Lastly, if you know 20% of your work produces 80% of your outcomes, find a solution for managing the rest of the work that needs to be done. Maybe you decide to hire another maintenance coordinator to deal with scheduling or, even better, find a software solution to help automate those tasks. Finding a way to take the 80% off your plate allows you to focus on the 20% that will help you grow.
Automate your 80% to focus on your 20%
The 80/20 rule doesn’t mean you should ignore the 80% of work to only focus on the most important 20%. Instead, automate the 80% of mundane tasks that fill your day so you can focus your workforce on the 20% that will impact your business the most. Regarding maintenance, automating communication and scheduling with dedicated maintenance software will save time and lower your average repair speed, leading to increased resident satisfaction.
One of the most time-consuming aspects of the maintenance process is ensuring that a vendor completes and invoices work. Sometimes you need help getting ahold of your vendors, or they are late submitting invoices. Instead of trying to connect with them, you can set automatic reminders for vendors to submit photos and invoices as soon as a work order is marked complete. This saves you from playing phone tag and helps your accounting department ensure your owner statements are clean and concise.
How will Automation Solve your Business Productivity?
By automating the manual tasks that take up the majority of your day, you can spend your time focusing on the things that will make the most significant difference to your business. Not to mention, automating the mundane can save you money. For example, many of our customers, like Real Property Management of the Triad, have sent residents an automated message after a work order is received requesting photos of the issue. These photos allow them to better prepare for the repair job. Instead of wasting money on unnecessary trip charges, they can solve problems without sending a maintenance tech. If an issue requires a third-party vendor, they have all the information to complete the job correctly.
As a maintenance coordinator, you probably see the same work orders popping up repeatedly. Maintenance automation allows property management companies to set automated triage instructions when a work order is received based on a specific keyword. For example, if you receive a maintenance request for a running toilet, you can send an automated message with instructions on how to fix it. How? The automation software recognizes the keywords in the work order and triggers the automatic message. This saves companies from sending a technician for an issue your resident may be able to resolve on their own. If the problem persists, you can schedule the work order with a dedicated maintenance worker.
When you automate the mundane, you and your team can free up your time to focus on things that will help expand your portfolio, grow your business and impact your bottom line.
If you are ready to step up your productivity, schedule a demo to speak with one of our maintenance experts.