Pineview Village, operated by Burnside Retirement Services Incorporated, is a non-profit retirement community in Glenside, City of Burnside. Established almost 40 years ago owned by the local city council and managed by a board of directors, the village consists of 83 unique two-bedroom unit options on a 3.34-hectare landscaped site, surrounded by lush gardens and a welcoming community.
Michelle Cheetham, Executive Manager at Pineview Village, shares her experience implementing an all-in-one retirement living software solution and how it has benefited their daily village operations.
When I first joined the village, there was a lack of operational village history and knowledge due to a recent restructure and appointment of a new team, except for our maintenance staff. Consequently, the information available to make decisions was limited to what remained in spreadsheets, in bits of paper documents and the initial stages of implementing a previous software, which only included basic details such as unit numbers and property names for maintenance purposes.
There was no comprehensive database or historical records except a spreadsheet with brief descriptions. I had little insight into the various processes and mechanisms involved in running a village, apart from monitoring the number of maintenance requests coming in. There was essentially little data-driven oversight to the daily operations of the village.
Shortly after I started my role at Pineview, an industry professional in the retirement village sector, paid me a visit and offered to show me the capabilities of Person Centred Software's Operations Management Software, powered by Centrim Life. I discussed the tool with our village manager, who was genuinely impressed and expressed interest in future possibilities.
Within 4 months of implementation, we have already seen the benefits of the tool; it has helped with increased awareness of important events and recurring tasks happening in the village. It has been invaluable in a setting lacking corporate knowledge, ensuring crucial tasks are not overlooked and positively impacting the community.
We gained a good overview of the system by going through the system with the training team to understand each module's functionality, how it worked, and its interconnections. If we ever encountered any uncertainties while using the system, we were able to message through the app or email the support team quickly. We always receive prompt responses that have kept us actively engaged, ensuring that operations run smoothly.
I also appreciate being able to access the roadmap, which provides insight into future development plans of the system. It's great that Person Centred Software understands the importance of ongoing improvement and development of the software to meet the industry requirements.
It's been ideal for us as the Person Centred Software team operates in Australia with almost no time difference, resulting in rapid responses. The team is incredibly enthusiastic about assisting us and dedicated to providing support. In addition to the valuable virtual face-to-face training sessions, we can approach the team at any time to ask questions and clarify any doubts.
The Feedback & Quality feature plays a crucial role in our operations. Recently, we initiated the feedback process by sending out our first annual resident survey via paper, as our residents tend to be more old-school in their preferences. While handling it in this manner was frustrating, we understand that these things take time. As the completed surveys return, I have been diligently entering the data into the system to generate a comprehensive report.
Additionally, we have been utilising feedback for the 90-day post-moving surveys. These surveys are sent out after the cooling-off period, allowing us to gather insights into the sales process and determine if there are any areas of improvement or specific preferences residents may have for their units. This information has proved to be invaluable. Furthermore, we are also able to track compliments, complaints, and suggestions, which the board of directors greatly appreciates. It's providing us with meaningful reporting, as previously, we didn't have a proper mechanism to record such feedback. Overall, the feedback system has been highly beneficial.
The Maintenance & Asset Management feature, in terms of day-to-day reactive maintenance, has helped ensure that our daily maintenance operations run smoothly. However, one significant aspect of Centrim Life that sets it apart from other suppliers is the ability to incorporate preventative maintenance tasks which has made a notable difference to us. Currently, we have a recurring task in place for our maintenance coordinator; he visits each unit annually to perform various checks, such as cleaning the filter in the range hood and ensuring the proper functioning of the air conditioning system. These routine inspections allow us to keep a close eye on the units, identify potential issues, and ensure the wellbeing of our residents.
We have also utilised the system to manage our contractor quote requests and invoices and invoice residents for tasks that require additional maintenance beyond our general maintenance services, such as building bookcases. While we are still learning and fine-tuning the system's features to meet our specific needs, we understand that every company uses it in a unique way. We have also started to label each of our assets with a QR code and are compiling all the information within the asset management feature - this will be a game changer because we will finally be able to see all the assets we have and where they are located. South Australia does not have asset management plans like New South Wales, which require reporting on assets valued over $1,000. However, I anticipate that this will change soon. The asset management feature is a great starting point for storing information and understanding asset locations and movements.
I have also found the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) feature to be a valuable tool for my waitlist management reporting. It provides insights on where inquiries are coming from and helps identify points where potential residents drop off. Sometimes, people leave the waiting list because they have found housing elsewhere and are unable to continue waiting. Since we have a long waiting list, this information is crucial. To streamline the process of checking addresses and ensuring prospective residents are within the council's jurisdiction (as we are council-owned), we can generate a report showing their current place of residence. While this functionality may not be applicable to everyone, understanding our catchment area and where most residents are coming from is beneficial. Moreover, we have utilised the CRM to send confirmation emails for viewings and tours, which has helped store relevant data.
The staff loves the CRM feature because of its user-friendly and intuitive design. It operates similarly to other software they are familiar with, making it easy to understand and navigate.
The retirement living software has helped with increased awareness of important events and recurring tasks happening in the village. It has been invaluable, ensuring crucial tasks are not overlooked and positively impacting the community.
There are two styles of management in the market: the traditional managers, who are part of the original village makeup and heavily involved in the residents' day-to-day lives and becoming champions of technology, and the new operational managers, who bring expertise from other areas, wanting access to digital tools to support their roles to improve staff retention.
As an operational manager with a background in student accommodation, I find it surprising that many retirement communities still rely on paper-based forms and manual processes. However, aged care facilities have adopted new technologies that can save time, streamline processes, and reduce staff reliance on memory and paper.
Retirement villages are somewhere between property management and aged care, but the new cohort of residents from places like Bloom and vertical communities will expect more technology-based solutions. The shift towards adopting new technologies is slow but steady, with more and more retirement village managers recognising the need to keep up with the times.
Also, newer software products, like Person Centred Software’s Operations Management Software, can provide an improved dashboard and day-to-day functionality that older software products lack. The retirement village industry needs dedicated software solutions which can be tailored to specific needs.
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