January 22, 2020

How We Streamline Work Orders

All While Increasing Tenant Awareness of Progress!

With millions of square feet of properties under our management, we have a lot of work to organize, and a lot of people to communicate with. Even though you likely are not a tenant, I guarantee by the end of reading this, you will feel confident enough to submit a work order!

We evaluated dozens, and fully stood up (operationally tested) a handful of these, before deciding on Tikkit, developed by Gridium.

Some of our criteria included:

  • Not cumbersome to administer, and no extraneous fields that would be intimidating.
  • Single platform for Prop Mgrs, Tenants, Vendors
  • Dead simple for tenants and vendors
  • Strong database with exporting capabilities. 
  • Granular categorizing (what type of issues happen where the most)
  • Graphical sorting of data
  • Platform agnostic (Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android)
  • API support, so we could connect to other platforms (accounting software, phone)

I think the most important of all these was SIMPLICITY. We knew that our primary hurdle would be getting tenants to accept this as a primary means of communication, and that meant it had to be as easy as picking up the phone, or rattling off an email. Tenants do not need one more login/password to remember, and do not need any hoops to jump through.

Wrenches were handed out to tenants, as a paper weight to keep around the office. 3D printed, and they work!

We are very proud of our homepage, ThomasDuke.com, but thought that we could do even simpler, so we started a ‘mini-brand’ of DUKE FIX. This has 2 parts, www.DukeFix.com to enter work orders, as well as 844-Duke-Fix, to get straight to a property manager, 24/7. In the past, some tenants have known that Thomas Duke Co manages the property the lease, but then when they call, they would reach the Brokerage department and be confused. This has given a separate “Front End” to Property Management.

Tikkit homepage

Tenants are instructed that whenever they have an ‘issue that can be fixed’ (we do not use this portal for lease questions, accounting issues, etc) to head to DukeFix.com . From there, a single box asks for your email address. There are NO passwords, only cookies. Entering in your email has tikkit send you an email with a link, and once you click that link, the device you are on is authorized with your credentials for a month. Click the link, and you will come to a screen with the list of a 6 field we would like to know about your issue. This is as simple as writing an email, but makes sure that the tenant is providing the relevant info.

We want to know:

  • Who initiated the request
    • Their email is tied to it
  • What they perceive as the issue
    • Is it just a light out that we would notice, or maybe a plug as well?
  • Where is it?
    • This is especially important in single tenant buildings or large floor plates.

Once the info is filled out, it is immediately broadcast to EVERYONE on our staff who is involved with that property. If a Low priority flag, it is posted to the slack channel for the property, and will be assigned. If higher, or critical priority, emailed directly to property managers, and even texted to phones as well.

From here, we take over! Likely a building engineer will ‘grab’ the tikkit from the queue, and let the tenant know when we will be handling this (we aim for <24hrs for most fixes).

Rather than concurrent emails, texts, and calls, all communication is in one place

Once an engineer is working on it, we ALWAYS include pictures of the issue, and pictures of the fix! This helps our office see how the engineers are handling things, and also gives an important audit trail. If issues ever pop up again, we can go back and see what was done last time, and how we can handle it differently

Lots of pictures to show the issue, and the fix

With all of our work going through this platform, we are able to look at things from a bird’s eye view, and see where issues more than they should. We can see one property here has significantly more janitorial issues than others, even after the quantity of tikkits is weighted against it’s size.

Systems like this help us be more responsive, more organized, and therefore more competitive. We want to fix things right the first time, and have no problem being completely transparent with how we do it!

If you have any further questions on our systems, considerations for implementing this at a property, or simply want to connect, please reach out to Trevor@thomasduke.com

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