Chicago, IL &
Team Management, Scheduling, Geofencing
SightPlan Helps Enhance Laramar Maintenance Efficiencies and Operations
Chicago, IL &
Team Management, Scheduling, Geofencing
At Local by Laramar, the division of Laramar Group portfolio that includes smaller, historic buildings in urban locations, and are operated out of a central leasing office, communication – not only with residents but among associates – can be a challenge.
Particularly in Chicago, where Local by Laramar operates 55 properties spanning the city, coordination and communication are crucial.
“Task management and the ability to communicate with our residents is really important,” said Stacy Valentine, Vice President of Innovation and Technology for Laramar. “With a team that services multiple communities of different size, type, and location, proactive resident communication has its own unique challenges. Residents living at a Local by Laramar building don’t always have the opportunity to walk past the leasing office on their way to pick up their mail and just pop in and talk to a team member. It is important we offer a simple way for residents to quickly and easily communicate with our teams at any time.”
"Inputting a service request to handle anything in a vacant apartment or in the buildings was really cumbersome,” Valentine said. “Having to create a service request for every single task is just not optimal. We recognized there was opportunity to really hone our efficiency in that market, and because our techs are mobile that includes monitoring drive times and parking times, as well as time taken to complete tasks. There were a number of areas where operations could benefit from a system that helped us manage and monitor all of the tasks, service requests, and communication on one platform.”
The challenge was amplified when the central office in Chicago closed due to COVID-19 precautions. Though the office wasn’t on-site at a Local by Laramar location, its closure further reduced the opportunity for in-person communication.
On the maintenance side, not having a dedicated technician site at all times means the coordination of a 14-member mobile maintenance crew, an undertaking that can introduce inefficiencies.
Laramar found the comprehensive solution it was looking for when it conducted a demo with SightPlan during the 2019 National Multifamily Housing Council OPTECH Conference in Dallas.
“During the demo process, we saw that the easy integration with our property management system would allow us to push information,” Valentine said. “Also, the task management and the map functionality were pretty compelling. Being able to pin the tasks to specific locations for our maintenance teams and our vendors is big for us because no two buildings are the same. We were very intrigued by that capability and functionality, but the maintenance efficiency side of it attracted us the most.”
Due to Chicago’s unique logistical challenges, Laramar identified it as the market that would most benefit from SightPlan, and had the platform deployed quickly.
“What we love about SightPlan is that (SightPlan CEO Terry Danner) and team have walked in the shoes of the on-site personnel, the regional managers, all of the operations teams,” Valentine said. “They noticed the gaps in the property management software and know how important maintenance is in our daily lives and how much it impacts our bottom line. They’ve created a system that handles all of those gaps, and they’ve done that at a cost that makes it reasonable to keep our other systems and integrate with our property management system.”
By picking up where property management software leaves off, SightPlan has not only enhanced operations for Laramar teams, but improved the living experiences of Laramar residents.
“From a business perspective, SightPlan is really giving us enhanced solutions that we’ve needed for a long time and that property management software hasn’t made a top priority, quite frankly,” Valentine said. “To be able to create a service task, quickly assign it over to our techs, and immediately notify them of assigned task, has been game-changing. And in our world, at Local by Laramar, where we don’t have the ability to easily connect face-to-face with residents, that bi-directional communication around their specific request is huge. Our residents haven’t always had a good end-to-end user experience inside of our property management software, so I think at the very core that’s what has us so excited about SightPlan.”
Valentine said SightPlan ushered in immediate advantages through its service call recordings, the ability to send out emergency notifications via text, and the fact that Caller ID for all associate calls to residents show up as the main property number. SightPlan also enabled maintenance techs to use their mobile device to communicate with the resident while they’re in the unit.
In Q1 of 2021, residents at 55 Local by Laramar communities created 3,067 maintenance tasks via SightPlan.
The centralized maintenance team facilitated the closure of more than 3,000 of those tasks, achieving a task completion rate of 97.8%.
More importantly, there were zero negative ratings from residents on all of the tasks initiated.
“If there has been a complaint or a question from a resident, it helps our management team to be able to quickly go in and look at the notes and determine whether there was miscommunication or if further service is needed,” Valentine said. “That really wasn’t something that we were able to do in an easy way prior to SightPlan. It helps us to be able to keep a better eye on the status of the assigned maintenanc tasks and to re-direct resources if needed.”
The success of SightPlan in the Chicago market was a clear indication that the tech solution works in even the most challenging logistical environments, and as a result Laramar has already deployed SightPlan beyond its Local by Laramar portfolio. Moving forward, Valentine said the company plans to leverage SightPlan to track efficiency, staffing needs and resident satisfaction.
“SightPlan is definitely in the mix for us as we grow,” Valentine said. “We’re very excited about the mapping capabilities and the multi-site filtering functionality. Adopting a new system comes with a learning curve. We feel like we have our legs under us now, and we’re ready for all of those little things in SightPlan that we haven’t taken full advantage of, yet.”
"SightPlan is really giving us enhanced solutions that we’ve needed for a long time "