“Property Management is not just about property maintenance but also people management and effective communications,” stressed Natallie Leong, Executive Director, Property Management Commercial at Knight Frank Malaysia Sdn Bhd. Knight Frank is among the established property management providers with a comprehensive portfolio, covering various property types and Leong outlined the meticulous processes involved in commercial property management, utilizing Integra Tower, Jalan Tun Razak as an actual working example.
Leong explained that Integra Tower was picked as an example because she felt that Knight Frank was privileged to be managing such a state-of-theart office tower. Developed by The Intermark Sdn Bhd, Integra Tower is a freehold, 40-level building with 776,715sq ft of space. Completed in 2012, it currently boasts 80% occupancy.
Integra Tower was one of the first pre-certified Platinum LEED office towers in Malaysia and is located within The Intermark MSC Corridor. Some of Integra Tower’s features include 27-high speed lifts which are fully automated destination specific.
The Knight Frank methodology
Underpinning Knight Frank’s approach is the understanding that clients’ needs go beyond basic professional services. Its philosophy stresses the maximizing of the property’s performance through constant and disciplined review in order tomaintain and add value for its owners and tenants and the client at minimum cost.
According to Leong, the key objectives is to relieve clients of the daily rigmarole of managing the property whilst providing prompt services to owners and tenants. This call for constant attention to detail, the exercise of a variety of specialist skills, sound judgment resulting from experience and an awareness of the factors influencing rentals and values. Adhering to a strict methodology will increase values and yields of the buildings through effective cost management and efficient deployment of property management strategies.
Tools of the trade
To achieve the above-mentioned objectives, Leong states that Knight Frank utilizes the following management tools:
1) Property Management system
2) In-house audits
3) 5S processes
4) SOPs and KPIs
For the ‘Property Management System’, Leong says it is basically the Internet of Things, which is the deployment of a computerized system to manage helpdesk management, tenancy management, and accounting functions among many others.
Leong was keen to stress the importance of ‘in-house audits’ as this will:
a) Ensure conformance to client’s and organization requirements
b) Ensure compliance to local authorities’ requirements and rules
c) Check and balance on operations, management and financial procedure
d) Ensure implementation of best practices
e) Platform to identify gaps and to review future improvement plans
Striving to improve
Knight Frank has also adopted the Nipponese ‘Kaizen’ approach of continuous improvement. This process involves the 5S:
1) Sort: Separate what is needed for the operations and remove the unneeded components.
2) Straighten: Organize the work area.
3) Shine: Clean the work area. Make it shine.
4) Standardize: Establish schedules and methods of performing routine operational tasks.
5) Sustain: Implement programs to sustain achievements by encouraging close collaboration between team members.
Power of proper procedure
Leong was also quick to stress the importance of SOPs, even for the most mind-numbingly obvious details. She cites a simple yet effective example of getting the janitor to clean the washrooms a specified number of times per day. But there should be greater follow through in ensuring, for instance, that the facilities are kept dry and that safety standards are strictly adhered to.
This, she believes, is what constitutes effective SOPs which will bring about effective and efficient commercial property management, resulting in:
1) saved time and mitigated errors
2) consistent results
3) empower the workforce
4) supported quality goals
5) preventive measures and reduce reactive reactions
6) effective cost management
Leong also points to these key areas where having strict SOPs as vital – operations and maintenance, finance and credit control, tenants and visitor co-ordination, housekeeping, security and safety, and administrative and compliance. She states that having clear SOPs covering the smallest details will avoid the chaos that can arise whenever the processes are out-of-alignment. There will be clear indications as to the next or corrective step to be implemented.
While Knight Frank already adopts the Kaizen approach, Leong was also proud to share Knight Frank’s unique approach to the inevitable issue of KPIs. This entails the 6As:
1) Aligned: Make sure the KPIs are aligned with the goals and objectives for the relevant departments
2) Attainable: Ensure that measurement tools/methodologies are available
3) Acute: A set of developed KPIs would keep everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction
4) Accurate: KPI benchmarking should be reliable and accurate
5) Actionable: Each KPI should be developed into an action plan for implementation
6) Alive: KPIs should not be rigid. Needs to be dynamic and relevant to operational needs.
In conclusion, Leong reiterated the importance of having effective lines of communications to ensure all the above processes are clearly transmitted to all relevant stakeholders. She also highlighted that it was imperative that the right people are on board to ensure the processes are efficiently executed.
DISCLAIMER: The opinion stated in the article is solely of Natallie Leong and is not in any form an endorsement or recommendation by iProperty.com. Readers are encouraged to seek independent advice prior to making any investments.