When we think of assets in multifamily, we tend to think holistically about entire apartment communities. But those properties are made up of hundreds if not thousands of smaller assets. Think appliances, fixtures and other components that make up residential living spaces. Consider all the furniture, equipment, HVAC systems and property technology that comprise common areas and amenities, and the golf carts, lawnmowers, leaf blowers and other tools used by maintenance teams. Any item that serves an essential purpose or function at a multifamily community, everything that needs to be maintained or periodically replaced, is an asset.
Asset management on a micro level is a widespread industry shortcoming. But failure to adequately document, track and manage onsite assets can have macro-level implications, negatively impacting everything from acquisitions to budgeting and resident satisfaction.
When multifamily operators change the way they approach onsite assets and move away from antiquated spreadsheet systems in favor of modern, mobile asset-tracking solutions, they unlock direct benefits to operations.
Asset Library 📚
Through improved documentation, categorization, status updating and visibility, digital asset tracking platforms provide a complete picture of onsite assets. Those assets –– items on the property that have value, like appliances, gym equipment, lawnmowers and AC condensers – are logged by category and subcategory into searchable lists. When asset information is needed, it’s saved in a user-friendly format versus a massive spreadsheet, decreasing search time and limiting potentially costly user error. Assets can even be labeled with QR codes for quick reference in the field and can also be customized with information like make/model, condition ratings, installation dates, warranties and repair and replacement history. With a comprehensive library, users also gain peace of mind in knowing the information is current and accurate, and that everyone is working from the same source of truth.
Asset libraries are completely scalable to accommodate millions of assets across the country and offer a complete picture of every asset on a property or within a portfolio. The ability to track assets from installation to expiration, and to maintain a working library of assets across a property, region or portfolio finally enables companies to more efficiently and effectively manage their properties.
Real-time Asset Tracking 📲
A fundamental problem with the asset spreadsheets historically used in multifamily is they are perpetually outdated. Given the scope of the work and time involved in conducting a property-wide inspection and audit of all assets, by the time that data is finally entered into a spreadsheet the information will no longer be current. Asset status simply changes faster than the process can be completed. And asset spreadsheets will be substantially inaccurate before the next asset audit is conducted.
In contrast, mobile asset-tracking platforms enable maintenance technicians to update asset status with every service call they take. Each repaired faucet or replaced air filter is time stamped and tracked in real-time, creating a present picture in the asset library. Operators have installation dates and service histories for each asset at their fingertips.
For example, maintenance technicians can check when the refrigerant was last refilled or replaced in air conditioning units. Or, if the company is transitioning to a new refrigerant product, service teams can track how many assets have already made the switch and how many still need to be phased in. Such real-time information is invaluable when it comes to budgeting for service and replacement needs.
Optimizing Operations ✅
Maintenance can also be attached to assets, so service teams can set routine tasks or preventive schedules. By proactively scheduling service or replacement of assets like major appliances, properties can maximize the life of onsite assets.
When service teams incorporate routine asset maintenance into their regular workflows, they preemptively resolve potential property issues before they ever surface in residents’ homes. Preventive maintenance effectively reduces the number of maintenance requests submitted by residents, which increases resident satisfaction and improves renewal rates, optimizing property performance.
A reduction in service requests also enables operators to reallocate resources and deploy service teams to other property needs and projects. Maintenance crews can better keep up with common areas and amenities when they aren’t inundated with resident requests, improving overall property conditions.
Also, with asset libraries available as resources, maintenance associates operating as part of centralized service teams have detailed asset histories available to them when they don’t have extensive first-hand knowledge of a particular property. Such references save an incredible amount of time for shared maintenance teams or during periods of associate turnover.
Staying on top of onsite assets through a digital asset solution also refines procurement practices. With asset expiration dates and asset condition details readily accessible, operators can better plan for potential supply chain issues and schedule purchasing and asset replacement. The ability to address potential onsite asset issues before they surface not only saves time but takes the resident experience to the next level.