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Transit NZ Takes Control Of Its Property Portfolio

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Transit NZ Takes Control Of Its Property Portfolio

With the introduction of an innovative owner-centric property management operating model, Transit New Zealand has been able to appoint three separate property management companies to manage its 3,500 properties throughout New Zealand.

The three successful property management contractors are Opus International, DTZ New Zealand and Colliers International which will each manage separate substantial regional portfolios under three-year contracts.

It is believed to be the first use of an operating model that enables the property owner to retain complete control of data and financial management while still providing all the functionality and management tools required by the property management company.

In the past Transit left the design and management of its property data to whichever company or companies had the current property contracts. This meant costly and time-consuming changeovers and loss of security at the time of contract changes.

Transit New Zealand has worked with Ofek Technologies Ltd to develop this new single-property management and financial system. It is available to the four parties via the Internet with control vested in Transit.

"This system enables each company to do what they do best. It provides property management companies with the tool to maintain the data that Transit requires and to administer properties efficiently," says Neil Carr, National Property and Business Manager for Transit New Zealand.

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"We no longer expect contractors to control our data - we have freed them from the accounting and IT tasks, which exposed us to risks in the past.

"Obviously, this will result in cost savings to us, and more competitive contracting costs.

" As the property owner, we no longer have the problem of remote off-line data access over which we have no control. Instead, we now have a system with total transparency. We have complete control over data and the accounting function, and we are able to utilise the system to closely monitor our contractors' performances. It also means, of course, that we are now able to react faster to changing requirements and to refine the system to better suit our business needs," he said

The new system streamlines the management operation and provides simple and efficient means to maintain adequate standards across all the contractors. Multiple-contract property management was no longer the challenge it once was he said.

"We can also monitor and benchmark the performances of individual contractors, and when contracts expire, the administrative and logistical complexities of replacing a contractor are simplified because there is no time-consuming transfer of data required - it's all on the one system, said Mr Carr.

Issues of confidentiality, security, and audit trail are very important in this model. Transit controls what users can see or edit in the system and can keep track of any change to data. This means, for example, that a contractor cannot access information that lies outside its management portfolio and that Transit can trace the activity of any individual user.

A further key benefit is the immediate and extensive access Transit has to all of its data, which enhances its ability to verify the integrity and accuracy of its information. In the past, like most property owners, it had been reliant on monthly reports from its property managers.

"For example, we can do instant checks to pick up rent reviews that were not updated and consequently would otherwise have been missed. And we can easily trace situations where management fees have been incorrectly charged.

"It will also enable us to provide more up-to-date reporting to Transit's board, the Transit New Zealand Authority, and give us instant access to the data to answer directly the many queries we receive about the number, value, condition and level of occupancy of our properties," said Mr Carr.

The next steps for Transit New Zealand are to integrate its property data with data from other systems within its organisation, such as acquisitions and disposals, project management, and perhaps allow access to others involved in the business such as valuers.

Ofek Technologies is the developer and supplier of a leading property management and financial system, OPM Boston, used by over 50 organisations throughout New Zealand. They include city councils, government bodies, large public and private property investment companies and property managers.

ends 16 August 2002

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