ONPHA 2017

By on Dec 8, 2017 in News

Peter Altobelli, vice president of sales and general manager of Yardi Canada Ltd., recently spoke at the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) Conference. The social housing conference attracted more than 1,100 delegates including housing staff, board members and tenants from across the province, as well as service managers and government officials.

Altobelli presented to a packed room and focused on the effects of automating property maintenance in the social housing industry.

“Let’s face it. Keeping properties well maintained requires a lot of effort and capital resources. It also impacts the satisfaction of residents and staff. We’ve found that automating property maintenance can help housing providers cut facility management costs, save time and make life easier for everyone involved,” Altobelli said..

Three case studies helped illustrate how social housing organizations made property maintenance services more effective and efficient with  technology. The three organizations profiled during the presentation were Renfrew County Housing Corporation (Renfrew), Cochrane District Social Service Administrative Board (CDSSAB) and Lanark County Housing Corporation (LCHC).

Renfrew County Housing Corporation manages housing in the largest (geographically) county in Ontario with nearly 3,000 square miles of land. With 15 staff to manage such a vast area, Renfrew was challenged with timely communication and manual processes. Prior to the adoption of technology for their maintenance management, staff relied on faxed documents and manual data entry into a desktop computer. The service team were required to commute to the offices to pick up work orders, which further ate into the lead time of each service request.

Renfrew gained efficiency and connectivity with mobile solutions from Yardi. They improved customer service and made it easier for staff to identify high-priority repairs that needed immediate attention. Moreover, technology has helped Renfrew make their management more insightful and effective through complete visibility of operations.

The Cochrane District Social Service Administrative Board manages 2,000 units in the second largest area in Ontario. Similar to Renfrew, Cochrane’s property maintenance program was challenged due to the distance between its properties and six offices and the labour-intensive process that was involved to manage maintenance work.

Since upgrading to Yardi mobile solutions for property maintenance and inspections, CDSSAB has cut costs of travel and fax lines, paperwork, travel time, increased the number of completed work orders and overall responsiveness. Other benefits included the ability to attach images of repair work to the mobile work orders, automating purchase approvals, better reporting and shorter lead time to complete maintenance.

Lanark County Housing Corporation operates 532 units with a team of eight maintenance staff in the field and one in the office. With the goal of inspecting every unit twice a year, LCHC staff were challenged with outdated, paper-based processes. That lack of efficiency resulted in lower priority work not being completed on time, as well as unnecessary costs for faxing paperwork and data entry.

Yardi mobile inspection and maintenance software have since boosted LCHC’s property management capabilities. Increased lead time, automated follow-up notices, quick and easy reports and web-based work orders are among the benefits. LCHC was also able to leverage the software to generate reports that focused on unit conditions and turnover, the number of work orders competed, ratings for unit inspections and staff efficiency visibility.

“LCHC has increased their onsite management capabilities by the production of a full-time employee without having to hire anyone,” said Altobelli.

The session, and the case studies presented, illustrated how technology can automate processes, shorten lead time, reduce costs, and empower an organization to effectively manage staff.