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Automating Operations and Reducing Operational Risk

episode 12 automating operations
Season 1
Automating Operations and Reducing Operational Risk

Bob Bradley


Part of the Apartment Academy’s mission to educate you on the multifamily industry’s best practices and the technology available for automating operations and reducing risk.

With that in mind, the featured guest in this episode of the Apartment Academy podcast is Bob Bradley, a senior VP of sales for Leonardo247.

Full disclosure: Apartment Academy host Daniel Cunningham is the founder and owner of Leonardo247.

Bringing Multifamily Operations into the Digital Age

In the multifamily world, the resident side, the accounting side, and the CRM side have been taken care of for years with PMS software. But when you look at the assets or operations side, there are risks, inefficiencies, and wasted dollars all over the place.

Studies have shown, for example, that 85% of operators are still using spreadsheets and paper. And we’re trying to change that. We’re increasing employee efficiency, reducing risk, and reducing expenses by bringing multifamily operations into the digital realm.

Increasing Employee Efficiency

Let’s say you’re an operator with 20 or 200 properties. You want a report on all of the inspections and preventive maintenance tests done at every property last month.

In a paper and spreadsheet world, that may take hours of time. Someone at each property has to gather and send that data to someone else, and that person has to aggregate it across those hundreds of properties. By the time it gets to the person who needs that data, it could be weeks later. And you may have spent hundreds of manhours across your organization trying to get that data.

With Leonardo247, you don’t have to ask anyone for anything. You can see what’s happening and not happening across your whole portfolio instantaneously. No one wastes any time, and no one has to lift a finger to create that report.

Reducing Expenses with Leonardo247

Repair and maintenance expenses are another good example.

Studies have shown that if you do proper preventive maintenance on capital equipment, you can extend the life of that piece of equipment by 10 to 25%. Those are real dollars that you can track with Leonardo247.

Automating Operations Reduces Risk

In the multifamily world, there’s risk everywhere. And while you can’t eliminate every slip and fall or potential incident that happens on your property, you can mitigate risk.

Reducing risk starts with following and documenting procedures. If you do that, even if you get involved with some type of litigation, you’ll be prepared and have all of the information you need in a timely manner to build a defensible case.

Automating Consistent Best Practices Onsite

One of the biggest challenges that owners face is getting the right people to do the right thing at the right time at every property in the portfolio. That should happen no matter what the operator’s institutional knowledge might be.

Automating best practices, in other words, takes those policies and procedures and makes sure they happen consistently.

Leonardo247 solves that in two ways. If you have existing policies — which are usually in binders that no one looks at — the Leonardo247 team digitizes them and configures the system in the way that you want to use it.

Secondly, if you don’t have a particular best practice or procedure for a certain category, we can make recommendations. We have a great relationship with the National Apartment Association, and we’ve built a library of best practices in conjunction with them that we make available to our clients.

In either case, the Leonardo247 platform is extremely flexible and configurable. You don’t have to adapt your procedures to the platform, the platform adapts to how you operate your portfolio.

We’ll also communicate with you consistently after you launch the platform. We know that things change. You might want to add some functionality, change a procedure, or add or drop properties.

Leonardo247 represents a shift in the way property owners do business. Rather than relying on people to be experts onsite, you create an expert within Leonardo247 that provides the right form and inspection, gives guidance, and walks operators through each process.

Change Management

Change management is a big part of continually automating operations post-deployment.

One component in Leonardo 247 that helps with change management is what we call the code compliance module. That system scrapes government regulations from the local to the federal level to find code changes that you’ll have to comply with.

Oftentimes, code changes require procedural changes. You might have to start doing a certain inspection quarterly, for example, instead of annually. But Leonardo247 is always on watch and ready to help you implement those changes in your process.

Connectivity & On-Demand Instructions

One of the most popular features of Leonardo247 is its connectivity to all of the major resident portals on the market.

If a resident puts in a request to fix her air conditioner, for example, that request turns into a work order that transfers to the platform. Work orders, tasks, and workflows — or collections of tasks — are a huge part of Leonardo247. And that includes inspections, preventative maintenance, and other components that other systems aren’t set up for.

A lot of clients also rely on what we call on-demand instructions.

Let’s say you have a new maintenance person doing an inspection or maintenance on a piece of equipment, and he has no idea what he’s doing. With the Leonardo247 app, he can pull up the exact inspection or preventative maintenance steps for that task.

This is a great training tool or a refresher tool for employees, and it increases efficiency.

We also offer a lot of support for move-in and move-out inspections. That’s a real opportunity for operators and owners to actually recover tenant damages that would otherwise be lost due to a lack of timely and accurate documentation.

Are You Ready to Start Automating Operations with Leonardo247?

If you’re trying to decide if you’re ready for Leonardo247, start with your goals. What are you doing today? How big is your portfolio, and how fast do you want to grow?

If you’re operating or managing two properties, for example, you can probably do that with paper and spreadsheets. But if you have more than 20 properties, or want to expand to hundreds of properties, you can’t do that effectively with paper, spreadsheets, or disparate systems.

Second, what are your pain points?

  • Do you have a problem with risk?
  • Are you spending a lot of money trying to litigate claims that you’re not able to justify?
  • Does your field team turn over at a 60% or 70% rate, instead of 40% or 50%?
  • Are your operators overworked because they don’t have the right tools and solutions?
  • Do you have efficiency issues?
  • Are you replacing equipment after three years that should have lasted 10?
  • Are your expenses out of control?
  • Do you struggle to know what’s happening at your properties?

That last question is crucial. A lot of property owners get 45-day-old data that’s already outdated, which can affect everything from operations to insurance premiums.

The ROI of Automating Operations Onsite

Finally, we’ve come up with a return on investment (ROI) calculator to help operators and owners understand the power of Leonardo247.

We use a lot of industry averages and statistics to establish a baseline, but the ROI is typically in the double digits, or greater than 10 to one. Your payback is in months, not years. And that’s because Leonardo247 tracks the minutia so that you can focus on the things that matter most, like marketing, raising occupancy, and raising rents.

Get more episodes of the Apartment Academy podcast here! And click here for more on how Leonardo247 can help you manage property operations.