Complex Global Property Management Made a Little Easier with doForms
As part of its mission to provide commercial real estate strategy, services, and support to organizations around the globe, JLL manages store properties across America for some of the world’s largest and best-known retailers.
When stores like these undertake a system-wide renovation, planning and managing the on-site work becomes complex. JLL discovered that by using doForms to inspect, inventory, and catalogue every aspect of the individual stores within a retailer’s network, the JLL project team could save hundreds of hours of in-field work and back-office data integration. In fact, doForms became an award-winning technology solution inside of JLL.
Making a daunting task a little easier
In 2014, a major discount retailer, with over 11,500 stores in the U.S., approached JLL to manage a system-wide renovation. Pre-doForms, this would have required long days onsite, complex data integration and collation, and manual data entry back in the office. JLL project manager Rob Mote recalls every store took 9 to 10 hours to collect data onsite and collate it, and hours more back in the main office. “We’d spend 6 hours or so in each store, filling out an 80-page form, taking pictures, making sketches. We’d then go back to the hotel where we’d spend another 3 to 4 hours collating the information to send it back to the office. Then, the data had to be entered into our systems manually by data entry clerks.”
Mote began to search for a mobile solution to expedite and streamline this cumbersome process, and discovered doForms. “doForms was ideal for us. It was by far the most robust and flexible mobile forms solution, allowing us to create forms precisely as we need them,” said Mote. “Because we could build capabilities like skip logic into the doForms forms, we were able to reduce an 80-page survey form to 17 pages. We were also able to embed into the forms as many photographs of the store conditions as we needed, adding more to the form as we went along. We could also sketch directly onto the photos, annotating and recording precisely the information we needed. Time stamps, location stamps, voice-to-text options, and dropdown menus drastically reduced manual data entry in the field, and we virtually eliminated the 3 to 4 hours of daily data collation and uploading. Meanwhile, back at the office, the data could be automatically integrated into our existing databases without manual inputting.”
Data entry and accessibility in a snap
Submitting data directly into backend database and applications not only increased productivity in the back office, but also greatly helped with data integrity. The full-time data input clerk, whose sole task was to input field-collected data, could be re-focused on more valuable activities.
Data became accessible in near real-time, enabling faster, more accurate analysis and reporting for both JLL and clients. And historical data — which is also critical for detailed, accurate client reports — is just a click away, rather than buried in a file drawer or storage box. “Moving to doForms allowed us to streamline work order communications from building and maintenance crews to the back office,” said Rob Mote. “The efficiencies gained have translated to significant and ongoing cost savings, as well as more responsive business operations and more satisfied clients.”
An award-winning solution
As part of its mission to be a thought-leader in the commercial real estate industry, JLL is always looking for technology solutions to help improve the way it does business. As part of its goals, it sponsors the “daVinci Awards” – an internal competition to find and reward the best technical innovations brought to JLL by any of its approximately 50,000 employees around the world. The project management team for the store system renovation earned a 2nd place award for its use of doForms.
Beyond the award, JLL clearly recognizes the value that doForms can bring to its business and has taken steps to embed it in many different initiatives and processes. Today, doForms is used by project management teams across JLL. A close partnership between JLL and doForms has enabled the company to build forms and solutions for a wide-range of on-site needs and challenges. Rob Mote sums up the prosperous relationship: “The product is fantastic, but the real engine behind the success is the customer service and support you get from their team.”