Understanding the complexities that surround inventory and supply, Breezeway set out to create a solution within its property operations tool that monitors real time changes in inventory to help track associated costs and forecast expenses to capture billables. To explore the foundations of this new feature, we sat down with Director of Product Andrew Lee, and VP of Client Experience, Koryn Okey, to hear joint perspectives on the benefits this tool can bring the community.
Prior to smart solutions, how were we seeing managers handle inventory management on the Breezeway platform and in the industry??
Koryn Okey: Well, I don’t think well. For many companies, it has been very manual. And It’s even more challenging because inventory can actually represent three things for a property manager:
- The homes they have on their rental program
- The items that exist within a home
- And What we’ve built, which is the inventory of replenish-able items/supplies
So that’s something that was really interesting, how do people manage all that? Many are operating via just Excel files, because there isn’t really a good solution that’s been tied to property care tools. Most companies would physically send someone to a property to determine what it needs? What does it have? What needs to be ordered? That person could manually go in and count how many forks, cups, plates, etcetera, and then they would add that information into a master file in excel, so at the end of the day, one can go back in and say okay, across our 50 homes, we need to order X number of these items.
What led Breezeway to add inventory management to our solution?
Andrew Lee: As part of how we look at operations as a whole, inventory is a critical piece of that, and understanding where you’re at with your inventory, understanding when you need to replace inventory, understanding how much you are using to manage your guests and owners and what that’s costing you is important. We recognize this information is critical for operations, which is why we took the step forward developing this. We want to make improvements in property care across the board, but inventory was something that we’ve heard a lot about from our customers, and we felt that we could start to deliver against issues many are having with it. We know that it should be integrated into your operations platform - You shouldn’t have to use a different product to try to manage inventory when that inventory is directly connected to the tasks that you are executing to maintain and prepare your properties.
Koryn Okey:I would echo that. With this service we could see the value we could provide to our clients. Additionally, and I think this is the case for many of the features we build into Breezeway, we’ve heard what our clients are asking us for and this was a big pain point for them so we wanted to deliver against it. And because of what Breezeway already does and the part of the business that we support, this is just a really smart addition.
How is our inventory management tool saving property managers time and in what ways is it making property care better?
Andrew Lee:We see this saving managers’ time in a couple of ways. One, being able to understand where they’re using things and how, so that they can bill correctly. We see this as teams being able to be more coordinated about the supplies that they actually purchase and have more insight into what they are putting into every property, and so we’ll be able to track that over time. And then, finally, for inventory, it also provides a way for some accountability that may not exist today. So you can say, hey, we used this many batteries on smoke alarms - and you’re also able to see the person who had the task to replace those batteries. We’ve noticed most teams have difficulty tracking this and need better insight into what they’re doing.
Koryn Okey:This visibility Andrew speaks of is what is making property care better. The more that we can make Breezeway and therefore the jobs of our clients easier, by removing manual steps and allowing them to really focus on the job at hand, the better experience for the next guest’s arrival and reputation of the industry as a whole.
What differentiates Breezeway’s inventory management service?
Andrew Lee:I’d say the key differentiator is how it’s tied directly to the work that is done. What we see this as is the ability to connect this inventory to tasks, and eventually – we don’t do this yet, but to connect it to properties and to people and how you’re able to get those insights into what’s being done and when, and how it should then be charged to people, etcetera. That’s our differentiator.
Koryn Okey:The biggest thing I would acknowledge is the fact that we pride ourselves on really listening to our clients and listening to what they need and ways that we could help them continue to improve their business. So this inventory product was really built off of that feedback from our existing clients, and even from prospects that aren’t using Breezeway - the differentiator is that it was made directly from the feedback of users.
How is our inventory management service impacting other areas of property care?
Andrew Lee:I think the biggest place where this will make a difference is how we’re going to be able to use inventory for critical parts of the turnover process, like linens - that’s a big one. Another would be where a guest might request something, like a loaner item. Tying that inventory or supply into guest requests, and then eventually tying inventory into owner relations is a big opportunity.
I also think a huge way inventory management will impact overall property care is with property safety. Using supplies and inventory as a way to create and monitor tasks that are set up over time around areas like replacing batteries in smoke alarms or other items that need to be used for long-term care like fence repairs, that’s a big part of the story here. It’s not just, what do I need for today, it's what do I need for the year, or next year, to make sure that these properties are in a safe and serviceable state.
Koryn Okey: Inventory will impact many aspects of property care as this piece of the product provides more insight into your operations holistically. Automatically sending you a reminder when your supply is running low, which allows you to create a task instead of relying on someone to manually take that step, helps set your business up more efficiently. Driving efficiency across operations is one of our core missions at Breezeway and we’re helping professional managers do this on a daily basis.
Learn more about Breezeways’ inventory management services to keep your properties well-stocked and prepared.