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Timberland Partners Resolves Maintenance Issues and Boosts Efficiency with Work Management
Timberland Partners is a multifamily owner/operator with 90 properties and more than 20,000 apartment homes in 17 states spanning the Midwest and Southeast U.S.
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"Everybody in our organization now has Work Management on their phones. Work Management is by far the best reporting system I’ve used for any aspect of property management. You have the ability to see whatever you want to see, whenever you want to see it and however you want to see it... I’ve taught people at all levels of our organization how to filter out the info they want in Work Management and it has been huge for transparency."
Challenge: Poor adoption of previous mobile maintenance platform
In 2018, Timberland Partners implemented a mobile maintenance platform to help streamline workflow for its service teams. However, three years into the engagement Timberland still wasn’t seeing the efficiency improvements it anticipated. In 2022, the company audited its work orders and discovered that only 52% of the 30,000 service requests received in the first quarter had been completed through the mobile maintenance platform.
To determine why this was happening, Timberland conducted a series of maintenance team interviews and in-person visits, and identified three primary issues with its existing mobile maintenance platform:
1. A lack of support and training through their existing provider left many maintenance associates without a basic understanding of the technology. Some struggled to understand how to download the platform or even log in.
2. The software wasn’t intuitive and provided only a macro view of the workflow, without the ability to filter information.
3. The platform lacked instant reporting features and required associates to manually save their work and upload reports.
“We were hyper-focused on finding a solution that solved all of those issues,” said Timberland Partners Project Manager Amber Deering. “So, we interviewed the major providers of mobile maintenance platforms in the space.”
Solution: Timberland finds a comprehensive solution in SmartRent Work Management
Timberland Partners found multiple solutions that solved their four primary concerns, but ultimately selected SmartRent Work Management because it addressed additional problem areas that could be resolved at the same time.
“Through our interviews and conversations with the SmartRent Work Management team, we learned there were a number of additional features that we should have already been thinking about,” Deering said. “SmartRent solved for more issues that we didn’t include among our major problems, but which were still essential. That included a customizable inspections platform, make-ready boards, Spanish language options, the ability to communicate directly with residents through the app and the ability to scan inventory through the Assets feature. After viewing the full picture, it was clear to us that Work Management was the best option.”
“Through our interviews and conversations with the SmartRent Work Management team, we learned of a lot of additional features that we should have already been thinking about. They solved for more issues that we hadn’t included among our major problems but which were still essential... After viewing the full picture, it was super clear to us that Work Management was the best option.”
Amber Deering, Timberland Project Manager
Timberland piloted Work Management at six properties to enable their teams to learn the system and make any necessary adjustments before rolling it out to its entire portfolio.
“We had the best support from the get-go. SmartRent’s salespeople were on the ball, and once we decided to roll out, every single person involved — from their project managers to their IT team — were really connected and dedicated to making the process as smooth as possible,” Deering said.
Timberland launched Work Management with three goals in mind:
1. Achieve 98% adoption of the mobile maintenance platform.
2. Gain 75% approval from service team members.
3. Reach both of these goals within two months of implementation.
Results: Work Management immediately embraced, drives workflow efficiency and transparency
Timberland Partners reached its targeted adoption and approval marks within one month — half the time it had allotted.
“We saw 98% compliance within just one month, which was mind-blowing!” Deering said. “We also achieved exactly 75% approval. That was really exciting because technology can be challenging to adopt and it’s never going to be perfect.”
One of the key factors in the rapid adoption of Work Management was the creation of a direct line of internal communication through the app. Instead of receiving constant calls and texts from the leasing office throughout the day, the platform empowered maintenance technicians and office associates to stay in contact through instant messaging.
“The ability for the service team to communicate with the office team directly within a task is extremely beneficial. It limits the number of phone calls and text messages our technicians get from the office team, so the office isn’t blowing up their phones,” Deering said. “Another key feature is mapping. The ability to pinpoint a location makes everything very clear for the responding technician because they don’t have to guess about the location of the problem.”
Built for multifamily — by multifamily
Deering said the simple fact that Work Management performed as promised has built trust in the platform and boosted adoption among maintenance technicians.
“It’s so clear that the people who designed Work Management have done maintenance before,” she said. “It wasn’t done by a system engineer who thinks they know everything there is to know about maintenance. It was designed in a way that makes the most sense for the people actually doing the work.”
“It’s so clear that the people who designed Work Management have done maintenance before. It wasn’t done by a system engineer who thinks they know everything there is to know about maintenance. It was designed in a way that makes the most sense for the people actually doing the work.”
Amber Deering, Timberland Project Manager
The visibility established through Work Management’s reporting features powered its adoption through all levels of Timberland’s organization.
“Everybody in our organization now has Work Management on their phones,” Deering said. “Work Management is by far the best reporting system I’ve used for any aspect of property management. You have the ability to see whatever you want to see, whenever you want to see it and however you want to see it. Other systems have canned reports, and in order to make edits to the canned reports you have to go through a long process, or spend a lot of time and money making those adjustments. I’ve taught people at all levels of our organization how to filter out the info they want in Work Management and it has increased transparency for our team members.”
"Work Management is by far the best reporting system I’ve used for any aspect of property management. You have the ability to see whatever you want to see, whenever you want to see it and however you want to see it."
Amber Deering, Timberland Project Manager
Timberland Partners launched SmartRent’s Inspection Workflow solution over the summer and is continuing to explore additional features.
“The feedback on inspections has already been so overwhelmingly positive. Anyone who has conducted an inspection through the system has loved it,” Deering said. “Move-out inspections are saving our teams 15 minutes per inspection, versus the former process of taking pictures on a phone, scanning and then uploading one by one. The time savings are already fantastic.”
Deering said the decision to address their four major concerns through Work Management has been a tremendous success, but the benefits have carried well beyond those initial objectives.
“People have completely forgotten about the problems we experienced with the previous platform,” Deering said. “Work Management is so ingrained that it really has become a way of life for our teams in the past year that we’ve been utilizing the new platform. In our case, there was no other option than SmartRent Work Management.”