Success Story

iPad replaces deluge of forms

Thick piles of preprinted forms in triplicate are a thing of the past at the Nassauische Heimstätte/Wohnstadt group of companies. Instead of folders, stacks of paper and pens, employees now go into the field equipped with only an iPad. On site, they simply call up the relevant electronic forms. At the beginning of last year, approximately 150 customer advisors and residential estate consultants from the group of companies were provided with tablet PCs containing the easysquare mobile app, which was launched in a collaboration with the Berlin-based systems retailer PROMOS consult. The resonance among both colleagues and tenants has been positive across the board.
IT&I Magazin Nr. 20 - "iPad ersetzt die Flut an Formularen"

In particular, the software makes the work of housing and residential estate consultants much easier. Christopher Ramge from Darmstadt was involved in the test phase: “For me, the main benefit is that I no longer have to go into the office to pick up my return and handover logs. I now receive them conveniently directly by email on my iPad.” Ninja Brittig, customer advisor at the service centre in Darmstadt that was responsible for the preliminary tests, had a similar experience: “Even printing the sets of forms was often a problem because the printer could not cope with the three-page preprinted forms – now that is no longer the case.”  

Previously, 18 pages had to be created, processed and archived just for a change of tenant – preliminary acceptance, final acceptance and handover to the tenant moving in. This workload has now been mostly eliminated, as the software performs the work automatically in the background. The investment paid off right from the start. Holger Lack, service centre manager in Darmstadt who played a major role in the development, estimates time savings of at least half an hour per apartment handover. Usually the time gained will even be significantly more than this.

Informationstechnologie und Immobilien (IT&I) Ausgabe Nr. 37 / Mai 2024

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Working with ease using a tablet PC  

Today, the customer advisor creates the process in SAP – for instance, when a termination is received. The app accesses this master data and generates the required electronic forms, including the letter with a suggested appointment date. At the actual preliminary acceptance, the employee walks through the rooms together with the tenant, iPad in hand, and records the result in the electronic form. At the same time, the employee takes an inventory and examines the overall state of the apartment. At the end, the customer advisor and the resident sign the form directly on the iPad. Once signed, the log can no longer be changed. This is a trust-building measure for the person moving out.  

The apartment manager then creates the log including the letter with the aid of the app. At the same time, the system develops the form for the final acceptance and sends it electronically to the PC of the housing and residential estate consultant, who will then go through it with the tenant at a later point. Here, too, simply swiping with a finger is sufficient to document the completed work. The colleagues have various options throughout the entire procedure; for example, if something still needs to be done in the apartment, they can specify grace periods and generate comments or work orders for technicians. A form for vacant property checks is also stored in case the apartment is not going to be rented out again immediately.

Digitaler Wohnungswechsel bei der Unternehmensgruppe Nassauische Heimstätte/Wohnstadt mit der easysquare mobile App

En route to paperless management  

However, it is not just the software that relieves the workload. The iPad itself saves the employees from many manual actions thanks to its technical possibilities. The built-in camera, which can be used to document damage or problematic areas immediately, is particularly appreciated. The saved photos are transferred directly to the SAP system via data transfer without any additional work steps. There, they are available to all employees for further processing.  

In the first completion stage, the app stored processes for the apartment handover, the safety check, the check of children’s playgrounds and other routine work. Lack summarises the key benefits: “The processes are transparent and self-explanatory. Employees no longer need to carry around folders or old documents because everything is saved.”  

The app is currently being tested thoroughly in operation and will then be evaluated. “We will successively store all real-estate processes in the app,” announced Dr. Constantin Westphal, responsible manager of the Nassauische Heimstätte/Wohnstadt group of companies. This applies above all to procedures such as the maintenance of gas appliances and documentation of modernisations, as well as creation of new buildings, fire protection and even a tree registry. “Our aim,” Westphal continues, “is to be able to do without stacks of forms entirely within a few years.” Tenants, employees and the environment will welcome this.

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