Saturday, 23 May 2015

A Good Property Management System for Retailers and Occupiers

Companies which own, manage or occupy significant amounts of property would benefit considerably from a good property management system. Retailers especially often miss out on what I see as significant advantages.

Fast Access to Key Information

A good property system allows property managers access to all the information they need to perform their job – at a stroke, instead of having to dig out paper files, refer to spreadsheets or ask another person for information which is only contained within someone's head. (See my article on Succession Planning.)

Access to information is a major issue in some companies, even where the database is held centrally. And where the information is held in spreadsheets, different spreadsheets often hold contradictory information. A retailer I visited could not state categorically how many shops they had open at a given moment!

Empower Staff

A well-designed system can empower people throughout the company.

For retailers and similar companies it can hold all the branch addresses and telephone numbers as well as the names of the managers and staff. If this information is speedily available to everyone then time can be saved by accessing this information directly rather than (as often happens) one or more phone calls being needed to find this information.

One company had no clear list of who was responsible for the maintenance of different sites, so emergencies required a series of calls before the correct contact could be found.

Hold data only once

One key factor with a good system is that up-to-date information can be recorded just once in a central database and then disseminated throughout the company, accessible to all those who require it.

Retain Diverse Information

A good system can also hold financial and physical information, so senior staff can quickly see key figures like turnover per square metre, or profit per sale. Property charges are often one of the largest areas of costs that cannot easily be reduced, so control can be improved if they are recorded and made easily available for all appropriate staff to see and monitor.

As the organisation grows, an appropriate property system will grow also, and so it should not require significantly greater numbers of staff.

The system can record Health & Safety Information, purchasing information, energy information, “green” information; and can be used to address the large number of areas where the government is forcing companies to take action – either in reporting compliance or in assessing performance.

Allow Users Direct Access

Each user of property information should be able to directly access the information and reports they require. This should reduce or eliminate requests from other people. In fact, staff in other departments should be able to easily access the information they need to do their job. In one organisation I calculated that 20% of a staff member’s time was being spent answering requests for information from other departments – information that they could have had access to directly.

Informative Reports

Finally, one of the main problems I see over and over again is a lack of good, informative reports. A vital part of the development of any new system should be the creation of appropriate reports for all who need access to property information. These reports (which can of course be screen views or spreadsheets) should be available from icons on people’s desktops, or via the Intranet or Internet.

When detailed information is available at the touch of a button, it can transform performance.


The key benefits from a good system are thus:

  • Information is held and updated only once
  • It is quickly and easily accessible
  • Information is directly available to all those who need to access it
  • It should be designed to grow as needed and hold a wide variety of information
  • Good reports should be available to disseminate information.

Contact me to discuss how to improve your systems.


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