Why it's Easier Than Ever to Manage Vendors with Tech

Managing a modern commercial real estate portfolio means contracting hundreds of different vendors to maintain equipment and respond when repairs are needed.

In this video, Subhan Mansoor explains how tech can be deployed to handle the various relationships at the asset level without burdening the overarching management teams.

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Video Transcript

Hello there, I’m Subhan Mansoor, Client Success Manager here at Enertiv and today I’m going to talk about something that everyone who owns or operates commercial real estate can relate to: the difficulty of managing the litany of third party vendors necessary to keep operations humming.

Now, this topic is important on its own, but it’s also a perfect microcosm of the digital transformation that’s occurring across building operations.

So, let’s start with the status quo. In terms of operating a building, there may be no bigger blind spot than the ongoing work performed by maintenance vendors. Even in the largest and most sophisticated portfolios, operators simply have no way of monitoring the work done (or not done) by third parties.

Vendors come and go as they please. Even on-site staff largely have no idea when vendors will arrive, what they do while on site, or when they leave. At the end of the day, all that is provided is a list of tickets that specify hours worked and a short description of activities. There is no way to verify whether any of it was completed or if the hours billed are accurate.

This is especially common with routine preventative maintenance because, unlike emergency repairs, when vendors are finished, it’s not obvious that anything has been done. Unfortunately, some vendors have been found inflating the hours they’ve worked or skipping preventative maintenance and billing for it anyway.

Let’s take a look at an example

But we’re not here to put anyone down, we’re here to explore how technology can benefit everyone involved, from owners to on-site operators to the maintenance vendors themselves. Ultimately, everyone wants to do a good job and see the returns for their effort.

So, the best way to visualize how this could work is with building blocks, each setting the foundation for a higher order process and more value.

At the foundation, the goal is to use technology to independently track when vendors arrive on site and when they begin working on a specific piece of equipment. This solves the transparency problem for owners and operators and can be implemented almost immediately. In fact, there’s a concept in psychology called the Observer Effect, where performance increases in response to awareness that you’re being observed. So, this solution could significantly improve results and equipment uptime with very little upfront effort.

Building on that, we can deploy IoT sensors to leverage real-time equipment performance data. There are two benefits here. First, vendors can be notified the moment that equipment breaks down so they can mobilize resources more effectively. Second, this data can be used to independently verify that maintenance is actually being performed and that it actually took the time stated in the vendor’s tickets.

Finally, we get to the top layer, the sophisticated analysis unlocked by artificial intelligence. You couldn’t jump straight here because AI needs a massive amount of data to work, data collected from the human inputs and IoT sensors of the first two steps across hundreds or thousands of buildings. But with this massive data set, you can pretty much pose questions to the AI and have it return the optimal course of action.

For example, say we have 8 elevators that have different usage over the course of the month. What is the optimal maintenance schedule to ensure uptime with the fewest trips to the site for vendors? This kind of analysis would be impossible for a human, but AI can find the patterns and correlations that produce that answer.

In summary, a lot can be done today to digitize your building operations, and in doing so, you’re setting yourself up for tremendous value in the near future.

Again, I’m Subhan Mansoor with Enertiv. I hope this was informative and I’ll see you next time.