5 ways to achieve competitive edge in property maintenance

The facilities management and property maintenance sector is worth over £120 billion each year to the UK economy (Source: Mintel). But with this value comes fierce competition, so how can UK property maintenance companies stand out from the crowd?

The growth of the property maintenance industry is set to continue, with a separate report from Mintel predicting a 16% growth by 2019. Positively, the value and growth of the market indicates a large serviceable market, but, the competition to secure that new business is fierce. In fact, so fierce that 45% of respondents from a BIFM survey stated that competition in the market will continue to be the biggest challenge to their operational performance. Never before has the need to be heard been more important than today.

How to stand out from the crowd
The job in hand is the same no matter which property maintenance company has the contract. What makes a difference is the price in which you can deliver that job and the service that is received whilst completing the work.

When service and efficiency can lead the contract selection decision, effective multi site management is vital. This 5 step guide will help you deliver a responsive, customer-centric service with highly efficient processes:

5 steps to becoming more competitive

At Oneserve, we work with a wide range of property maintenance businesses, all of which have recognised the need to optimise their service performance in order to improve their growth and business opportunities. By incorporating field service management software and making the following five changes, you too can increase your competitive advantage.

1. Maximise productivity
To provide a cost effective service you need to maximise the time your operatives spend on site. But to achieve this, there are many considerations such as assigning an engineer with the right skills and minimising drive time.

By implementing property maintenance & scheduling software you can automate the scheduling process. Using preset criteria the software will ensure the operative with the most appropriate skills attends each job, helping to reduce the need for repeat visits. The software will also optimise individual work schedules to ensure each operative works to the most efficient schedule every day. Furthermore, because everyone’s schedule is held centrally, should jobs need to be postponed or moved due to cancellations or sickness, they can quickly be reassigned with minimal disruption and lost time.

2. Optimise processes
To efficiently complete work you need everyone in your organisation to work collaboratively without any time delays. Instead of using paperwork or multiple systems, which inevitably cause delays, you need a single system that everyone collectively accesses.

Property maintenance software gives operatives all of the information they need on a mobile device. They also use that device to record job information, such as photographic evidence of completed work, customer satisfaction feedback and parts usage. Meanwhile, office staff have complete visibility of everyone’s work schedule and job progress.

By automating the entire process and creating a complete audit trail, from the initial point of raising the job all the way through to invoicing, you maximise efficiencies, reduce inaccuracies and speed up the job completion process.

3. Balance stock levels
To increase customer satisfaction and reduce the need for repeat visits, your operatives need the right parts and stock to hand, but carrying excessive stock is costly.

The solution to this is to monitor the stock inventory in real-time and give your frontline team access. By creating visibility and enabling your team to directly order the parts relevant to their jobs, you will maintain a far more precise and cost effective stock level. Furthermore, some property maintenance solutions such as Oneserve, link up with suppliers through supplier portals. This transparency and increased level of collaboration further enhances the efficiencies you save and the service you provide.

4. Continually improve
Optimising your service delivery is the first step to achieving competitive edge, but to maintain it you need to continually improve your service.

When a property maintenance solution gives you real-time access to data about your entire service delivery, this becomes possible. Using analytics tools built within the system you can continuously monitor performance, both internally via employee and job performance statistics and externally via customer feedback surveys (which can be carried out on the operatives mobile app). This analysis will enable you to identify further efficiency savings and, as long as you select low code software which enables you to fine tune the processes yourself, you can quickly make adjustments that will further improve your service offering.

5. Take your service to the next level
All of the above points will undoubtedly improve your service delivery – both financially, by reducing cost wastage, and your reputation, by improving customer satisfaction. However, thanks to technological advances in recent years, there is now an additional option to help propel your organisation forward in the competitive property maintenance world.

Oneserve Infinite provides a solution that uses artificial intelligence and big data to learn new ways of making your service even more efficient. The system uses deep learning and continuously works in the background by identifying patterns and behaviours that affect your service. For example, it may learn that a particular site repeatedly causes delays because of access difficulties. Once this has been learnt, the system will alert you as soon as you go to book a new job so that you can take preventative measures.

The more data the deep learning algorithms can consume, the more efficiencies it will find, so the ongoing value that predictive service management software can bring is endless. This level of automated continual improvement will unquestionably realise efficiency savings not previously attainable and will significantly help to increase your competitive advantage.

Define your competitive edge with Oneserve

Your operational processes should complement the way you address your clients’ needs, ensuring you deliver standout customer service in the most efficient manner. Oneserve will equip your team with the precise features they need to deliver an outstanding service that your competitors will be hard pushed to beat.

To kickstart the process of becoming a more competitive business, request a demo today.