The goals were set. Now the right application had to be found to achieve them. Given the technical demands, the Bauverein zu Lünen first turned to their SAP consulting partner, Comline AG. Comline immediately recommended Datatrain GmbH, with whom it had collaborated on previous projects, as a partner in its new venture. With respect to organization, execution and interfacing, the joint undertaking has already proven a success. “When it came down to it,” says Stephan Heupel, “Datatrain’s presentation convinced us.”
In a comparison with competing applications, the mobile solution My Inspections and Turnovers was found to be the best fit, not least because of Datatrain’s readiness to adapt it to the exact needs of the client. The solution divides the on-site tenant-change process into the preliminary walkthrough, final inspection and apartment turnover, providing targeted corresponding functions and a range of catalog-based options.
One major challenge for the Datatrain team was to activate the application’s SAP components within the ASP environment exclusively for the clients of the Bauverein zu Lünen. But the developers found a solution allowing tickets for the various walkthrough types to be generated only for specific SAP company codes and only for certain residential rental and long-term lease contracts.
In configuring the application for the Bauverein zu Lünen, the Datatrain employees first adopted the agreements and single-level condition descriptions from the existing paper inspection form, and then added several items to it in consultation with the housing association. In the future, the Bauverein can easily amend and update the form using the application’s customizing functionality. Additionally, the walkthrough type “post-inspection” was integrated. This comes into play when the mobile employee gives the member a “grace period under penalty of denial” at the final inspection. On the basis of the Datatrain template, the housing association also introduced a new digital form for the apartment turnover to an incoming resident. The walkthroughs are documented in corresponding walkthrough reports, and the data archived by means of synchronization with the ERP system – making them centrally available at any time.
Detailed catalogs of amenities and their condition are key to getting the full benefit of the application. Prior to the walkthrough, the employee – in the office, at home or on site – synchronizes with the ERP system to transfer all needed information to his iPad. The data is automatically retrieved from the SAP component Flexible Real Estate Management (RE-FX). The employee can process the data offline and then synchronize with the system again. This triggers a new notice informing the responsible office employee that he can check and, if necessary, correct the entered data, and then transfer it into the ERP system at the touch of a button.
Automatically generated emails deliver important information directly to where it is needed. A few examples: on completion of the final inspection, the rental department is notified so that it can add the apartment to the pool of available rental units; when keys are missing, predetermined recipients are alerted so that replacements can be ordered without delay; and when a resident moves out, his new contact information is sent to the responsible personnel for immediate updating in the ERP system. Whereas other property management companies typically subtract repair costs from the tenant’s security deposit, the Bauverein zu Lünen deducts them, where appropriate, from the member’s share in the association. Here, too, the respective employee is notified of this task by email. When an outgoing resident requests an inspection report in hardcopy, the system prompts the responsible staff to send it to him. Designated email recipients can, of course, be changed as necessary.
The overall process thus runs quickly and smoothly, despite the involvement of various departments. The numerous manual steps in the original process – drawing up the report on paper, making copies, distributing them to personnel, etc. – are completely eliminated.