Inside Self-Storage

MAR 2019

Inside Self-Storage (ISS) is an information source for industry owners, managers, developers and investors covering news, trends, facility operation, finance, real estate, construction, development, marketing, technology, insurance and legality.

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Primarily with manager buy-in at first. Technology is awesome, but the real chore is getting the entire team bought in. Our managers have realized that it's the only way to stay competitive. —Brian Byrd, Chief Operations Officer, Landvest Management (oversees 37 facilities in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas and Texas) Some of the challenges have been the learning curve when developing an application program interface for new products, taking over properties with outdated technology, training process updates, and prioritizing technologies to test and implement. —Jennifer Barnett, Chief Operations Officer, Absolute Storage Management (operates 116 properties in 14 states) Because we're utilizing proprietary and third-party hardware and software, we're subject to an unlimited number of potential problems. We must regularly handle these problems and troubleshoot for potential issues. While this is difficult and can require high amounts of work, we believe the customer experience and operational capabilities are well worth it. We know that using technology is what has allowed us to run our business at the speed and scale we do. —Seth Bent, Founder and CEO, Red Dot Storage (owns and operates 135-plus properties) Everyone has some hesitation with new technology. To best roll it out, I partner with managers, from the Baby Boomer to the Gen Xer, to beta test the product so we can identify the challenges and brainstorm other beneficial uses. After a few months, our managers share their experiences of using the new technology in our monthly meeting. Having peer-to-peer discussions increases the adoption rate. —David Doget, District and Revenue Manager, SKS Management LLC (operates 20 facilities) While our technology platform provides us with countless benefits and advantages, we still run into the same issues most businesses do, given the sophistication of our platform. We can break the challenge down to a few simple categories: annual service and support with the core system, annual costs, and new development. The new development is where it gets challenging and fun. For instance, some of our discovered opportunities may require introducing new technology into the mix and, therefore, creating a new implementation project and everything associated with it. We need to be mindful and diligent with our strategic planning and budgeting to ensure we don't develop technology for development's sake. It's a tricky balance to know when to introduce something because, in the end, we have to see a return on our investment. —Jason Lopez, Chief Marketing Officer, US Storage Centers (operates 120-plus facilities) There's always an aversion to change when implementing anything new. We try to conquer this challenge by utilizing a test group of facilities and making those store managers advocates for the technology. Those managers can demonstrate how the technology worked for them … Showing how the technology can enhance and help them do their job more effectively and efficiently is key. —Melissa Stiles, Director of Marketing, Storage Asset Management Inc. (oversees 150-plus properties along the East Coast) We use technology to help our managers in their daily activities. We've distributed the Amazon Echo Dot to our facilities to take advantage of Alexa as a digital personal assistant. We chose Alexa as it integrates well with Google calendar for scheduling meetings and reminders. We take advantage of Alexa's integration with Todoist, our project-management application, which allows us to add actionable items to execute or order. We use Alexa to dial into conference calls, making it easy to be hands-free and take notes. One of our team members said he uses it to give himself reminders to smile throughout the day to create a welcoming environment. Capturing everything by voice is fast and efficient, and reduces stress, as you don't need to walk around trying to remember that thing that you need to do. —David Doget, District and Revenue Manager, SKS Management LLC (operates 20 facilities) SKS property managers like Leroy Wright use the Amazon Echo Dot in their daily activities. What kind of training does staff receive when new tech is introduced at your business? In-person and continuous. We also feel that when we launch something new, there's nothing like a good old-fashioned contest to get everyone bought in. We've all heard the adage, "What gets measured, gets done!" —Brian Byrd, Chief Operations Officer, Landvest Management (oversees 37 facilities in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas and Texas) What challenges have you faced when implementing new technology? 18 ISS I March 2019 www.insideselfstorage.com

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