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CREs and the Importance of Office Services (Soft Services)

Traditionally CRE companies focus on acquiring, renting and managing the buildings and services that are directly linked with those buildings, including hard services such as energy savings, lighting, landscaping, HVAC and plumbing. More recently, CRE companies are tasked by their clients to also manage soft services within those buildings. Soft services include inventory & asset, mail & parcel, hospitality, reprographic, events and more.

For years, Facility Management (FM) outsourcers were the owners of the office services (soft services) world. Recently, CRE’s involvement in those services is much higher and as a result of it, the interaction between CRE and FM outsourcers has increased significantly as well. In situations where a CRE company is responsible for soft services, they need to have new solutions that:

1. Manage the day-to-day operation of office services (soft services).
2. Measure how well operations meet Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on a real-time basis.
3. Measure the benefits of using technology for office services. Examples of benefits can include reduced expenses, increased usage of automated processes to prevent mistakes and increased efficiency.

In addition, since many of the clients have become more sophisticated, the tools that are used should meet these criteria:

1. Every tool must be completely web based, with no need for desktop software installations.
2. The software must be secure and robust, and meet the IT security guidelines of the different enterprises.
3. In the past years, many enterprises choose to use hosted solutions (SaaS). Some enterprises still have a preference for internally hosted applications. The option to host the software internally or externally is important for IT departments.
4. The software must be user friendly and have clear and consistent user interface.
5. Mergers and acquisitions are everyday occurrence in business. Scalability and easy expansion to additional sites and processes is important to support the resulting organizational changes.
6. Each company specifies their own workflows, sometimes even at different sites within the organization. Managing an inventory room is different in a large campus with thousands of employees vs. a small site with 100 employees. Ease of configuration to accommodate the different workflows has changed from a ‘nice to have’ criteria to a requirement since companies constantly look for increases in efficiency.
7. Complete visibility of the processes and statuses provides the company the ability to measure its success of these soft services and enables improvements in them.
8. Last, the ability to partner with the software provider and to take full advantage of the software is important to receive the highest return on the investment in technology.

Bear River, a thirty-year old company, develops enterprise software solutions for office services. BearTracks provides a robust solution for mail and parcel services and in the past several years has expanded to additional office services such as inventory, copy & print, hospitality, facility and more.

In addition, we have developed an integration architecture that allows BearTracks to seamlessly integrate with other software and hardware products. For example, for mail services, BearTracks is integrated and supports mail and parcel sorters, digital mail, document scanners, intelligent lockers and more. BearTracks captures the complete history of all events to ensure a complete chain of custody and enables measurement of SLAs and KPIs for complete workflows with no gaps in coverage.

Companies that need to meet high regulatory standards or handle high volumes of parcels, mail, supplies, and so on are the type of customers that use Bear River’s integrated solution on an enterprise scale.

Many of our customers have grown with our solutions: When their environment and needs changed, we helped them to figure out the best solutions for their unique new situation. There are hundreds of companies that use BearTracks to manage their soft services. Some have one site while some companies use it at dozens or hundreds of sites across the country or world. With our SaaS solution BearTracks supports companies of any size. In addition, we provide CRE companies the ability to view, analyze and manage the operations in the office service world, whether this is executed by one or more FM outsourcers or by the CRE company itself.

One of the largest 10 banks in the world has saved over 50% of their expenses in supply rooms and mail centers in the first year of implementing BearTracks. The main improvements were in two areas:

1. Better managing the workflows that are related to debit cards and the processes they are shipped to the different bank offices.
2. For first time the bank has visibility into daily operations and therefore the ability to manage the suppliers and correct their behavior, instead of relying on self-reporting of performance.

BearTracks captures the complete chain of custody for everything that is tracked. This record can validate whether office services meet your compliance policies. Both are crucial for auditing and management purposes. Increased visibility combined with data analytics and performance management to identify best practices help companies to improve their soft services operations while reducing costs.

Revital Gilad, COO & CBDO, Bear River

This Week’s Sponsor

Bear River
Bear River's enterprise software, BearTracks, manages office services (soft services): Mail & parcel, supply & asset, reprography, hospitality, documents, facility. BearTracks provides insight into performance, and metrics to evaluate actual operational results against targeted service levels. Our customers use BearTracks to analyze business processes within the enterprise and in each site. We thrive by establishing long-term partnerships to support achieving our customer’s goals. www.bearriver.com

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