HELEN STEWART - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
KIMBERLEY HEREWINI - FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATOR
KEA’s Executive Director Helen Stewart and Financial Administrator Kimberley Herewini discuss how Re-Leased has helped them operate as a smarter business.
Kawerau Enterprise Agency (KEA) are a non profit organisation, running 3 sites, and all of our income comes from rentals. Our role is to make a positive impact in the community and for our tenants.
We are here to support the local community, so we provide reasonable rentals and they are mostly gross rentals, in our industrial tenancies all inclusive in our commercial buildings. We have a number of national and even Australasian tenants, who work in various industries: engineering and equipment warehousing and retail, health care, social services, lawyers, etc. And we have other non-profits, too. Originally, we were set up as incubator to help start-up business and promote young business and we have built off that.
Technology today is much more efficient than old paper- based systems. You’ve got record-keeping that is readily accessible. You don’t have disconnected paper files. Re-Leased is extremely valuable because it integrates with Xero and in our case we use Inspection Express, too. This functionality is quite detailed. Our technology captures data and a lot of institutional knowledge that tends to get lost when businesses grow.
For instance, we had a lot of areas that were not linked, so using technology has meant that we have a much more detailed database and we can retain institutional knowledge when people move on. What I like about Re-Leased is that our board members can log in and see everything in real time. All of our KPIs are in the system, but that information gets lost if you have a paper-driven system. So I think technology like Re-Leased is really good for succession and strategic planning.
We have saved time and reduced duplication of information significantly– because it’s all in one central hub. We use Re-Leased for invoicing with the Xero integration, and to create and generate work orders. In terms of cost saving, we are able to delegate tasks to individual team members. And the leadership team can focus on the strategic rather than operational activities – we turned a 5 day job into a 4 day job. Some of our staff members are also doing 4 days a week for 22 hours, which was impossible prior to using Re-Leased. It is saving us a lot of time, and we essentially earn more, so there is a big cost saving for us.
The sharing of information was difficult, if we forgot to share information we didn’t know what tasks had to be carried out or who was responsible. We got smarter as a business. Another roadblock was email trails and time management, but Re-Leased has helped that. For example, say we had a work order created and it needs to be on-charged t to the tenant, it is all in the system by one click of a button. We love that.
I think the thing we found hardest is to secure longer term leases. That does make a difference, and partly that’s driven by the size of our town. So that’s always reflective of the tenant’s own business constraints. Also, we haven’t had a great increase in property values in commercial and industrial, so it is hard to keep our expenses in line with our income.
It was a great learning curve because we learned everything in the background, and now we know what to do, so that actually worked out really well that we got stuck into Re-Leased early on. This also improved our skill level in terms of property management, so now we have a much better understanding of ongoing impact.
Re-leased is cloud based, which allows you to be able to crisis manage. We live in a country that has natural disasters such as earthquakes and weather bombs. So if there is a disaster, we can relocate with ease and still have access to all of our data. We also looked at other programs available, most were to do with residential, not commercial and industrial markets.
Without Re-Leased it is hard to have a clear live document trail. We have recommended it to other people and we would have no hesitation recommending the platform to commercial agents. For example, in Re-Leased you can look at the entire history of your properties. And you have a bunch of documents, notes, photos, and work orders, and you can upload invoices and email logs you have with all interested parties. You have that ability to have everything housed within the database!