Commercial and residential property manager, James Andrew International, relies on Qube Global Software solution to provide transparency, build trust, increase efficiencies and save space and time.
James Andrew International: An introduction
James Andrew International (JAI) has served its clients in the UK, Europe and the USA for approaching 40 years and offers a range of services, including a major concentration on property management. Its clients include high profile businesses and corporations, major investors and wealth funds.
JAI has £2.5 billion of commercial and residential property under management in the UK alone. It specialises in the management of major commercial buildings, particularly in the West End and City of London. The company also has a growing residential portfolio under management – concentrating on high value apartment blocks and mixed use developments. JAI takes a progressive approach to property management, developing productive relationships between building owners and their tenants.
Delivering a high level of service means having the right support systems – that’s why four years ago JAI decided to invest in software and technology to help the business even better serve its customers. The company has always been extremely ambitious and it realised that this investment would help it achieve further success and take the business to the next level.
For Corin Jenkins, Head of Property Management at JAI, the choice was clear. Corin had known of Qube from past roles due to its strong reputation in the market, which meant it was therefore on the initial shortlist of solutions for consideration. Crucially, the company required a system that had all of the right functionality from the outset. Corin explains: “Qube not only brings together property management and accounting functions, it’s also a superb business process management tool. Qube offered an unrivalled set of features that would really cement and enhance our processes.” These points were key drivers in the selection of the software and continue to bring extensive and significant benefits to JAI.
“In respect of managerial control – I can see exactly what is happening in the business
because we have set the processes in place with Qube.
Qube has given us improved access to data, transparency and speed of response.
It delivers the standards of excellence and sophistication our clients want.”
Corin Jenkins, Head of Property Management, James Andrew International
Providing transparency and building trust
While Qube has a range of features that support the property management and accounting process, it is also a central point for all property information – core to this is an integrated document management facility. Because of this, it has become the document database for the JAI business storing everything: documents relating to the physical properties (including images), correspondence (scanned paper and electronic) and all relevant financial documents (such as invoices).
Having all this information in one place and easily accessible is a significant benefit to the business. Clients welcome the fact they can also view this information whenever they want through the system too, remotely from their own offices / devices. Needless to say, this access is subject to relevant security parameters to ensure that owners can only see documents relating to their own properties. From Corin’s perspective, being able to offer such a service helps builds trust between JAI and its clients.
Qube reporting assists with building confidence
JAI works closely with its property owners to deliver a high quality personal service, making sure clients have all the information they want, when they want it. This often involves producing client specific reports, which it uses Qube to produce. For example, a client might require a periodic report showing all money movements for each property: rental income received, invoices paid etc. Once set up, these reports can be generated by the system and emailed to the client automatically.
By having a clear view of every single transaction, clients are not only kept informed about relevant activity but are also provided with the added confidence that all future transactions will take place on time. Furthermore, not having to produce these reports manually has offered significant time savings for JAI; as well as now having more satisfied clients, Corin and his team are also now able to dedicate more time to other tasks.
Corin firmly believes that taking the time to generate automated reports has been another investment that has paid off. He speaks highly of the Qube professional services team which helped during the implementation stage and on subsequent visits in the optimisation phase when consultants have helped smooth business processes; Corin has also found it easy to adapt existing report structures into similar reports for other clients.
Automated reports are also useful internal tools, especially when they are linked to workflows and trigger email reminders of actions due. JAI has set up reports for the ‘nuts and bolts’ of property management, for example to confirm that gas safety certificates are up to date. Other reports deal with the financial side, issuing alerts if service charge accounts risk being overspent. JAI has already produced around 30 specialist reports (for both external and internal stakeholders) due to the flexibility of the Qube reporting suite.
Time and space savings
Qube has led to significant and measurable time savings. A notable example is having the Document Manager – which has cut administration time on the £20m worth of service charge accounts in half, while the automating reports for owners has provided significant time savings as they no longer have to compile them manually. In addition, Qube provides a clearer audit trail (as previously mentioned). While not specifically measured, providing remote access to Qube has also made building managers a great deal more effective.
“In respect of arrears chasing – the system has saved at least a week a quarter in the credit control team on the rent roll of £200 million.” Corin Jenkins Head of Property Management James Andrew International
“People who see our processes are really impressed and ask what system we use. They want to use it themselves.” Corin Jenkins Head of Property Management James Andrew International
Bar Code Scanning is another piece of technology that is making a measurable difference. JAI receives as many as 200-300 invoices each day and, like many organisations, its offices previously had to accommodate paper files. As technology developed, the invoices were manually entered into the JAI system but the task took someone all day to complete. With Qube, this process has been transformed. Now all those invoices are bar-coded and scanned and the human interface has been cut down to a matter of minutes. What’s more, the online versions are all in one place and are accessible to JAI from any office location or in the field.
But it is more than simply an efficient scanning exercise. Qube’s bar coding function means that invoices are automatically assigned to files (by supplier, tenant etc), making them far easier to retrieve. So, for example, when service charge notices are sent out, all related invoices can be easily retrieved and attached to the notice as a pdf. Not only are such tasks completed far more quickly, bar coding means fewer mistakes are made.
The scanning and bar coding system is both extremely efficient and cost effective. An additional benefit is that all those files have finally gone too. As Corin points out, a professional looking, tidy office does matter – both to the people who work in it and those who visit it.
What’s next for JAI with Qube?
Corin is looking forward to making more use of Qube technology to support the JAI business, with more workflows and automated reports to track transactions and prompt timely action. He is also looking forward to using the recently released features that enable more synchronisation of Outlook and Qube – providing even more integration and efficiency.
JAI intends to adopt the Qube Tenant Self Service Portal to allow tenants 24 hour online access to relevant parts of the system, for example, to check that rent and service charge payments are up to date and log or check on the progress of maintenance issues. Lawyers working on a property transaction will likewise be able to access relevant records through the portal.
Corin is keen to implement remote access via tablets and apps for both iPhones and Android devices – enabling property managers to feed in updates when they are on site instead of waiting until they get back to the office. With the property managers now having more ownership of the financial side, Corin wants to grow this more.
“Put simply, the future is that Qube will continue to be at the heart of what we do,” he says.
“Our business has grown significantly thanks to our investment in Qube.
The business would not have grown without putting this system and the associated processes in place.”
Corin Jenkins, Head of Property Management, James Andrew International
“I’m really impressed to see how JAI has grasped the functionality of Qube – JAI is an excellent example of just how much a forward thinking company can achieve with Qube.” John Thumwood Regional Sales Manager Qube Global Software.