or LinkedIn here http://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy
Communication, isn't that one thing that can let our housing systems and processes down? Like we expect the letters in a stick or rock to still read 'Jaywick' from one end to the other, do changes in our operational systems always seamlessly get translated to our reporting teams?
An experience I had this week made me think on this, regarding some repair information. An end user manager had noticed that her void repair spend for last month was just a fraction of what it was that month last year. maybe some great improvements had worked through the organisation, and who wouldn't want that? The reality, as is often the case was much more mundane.
Where before only a single priority for void repairs was in use, ('Voids 20 days' or similar), now there were multiple, aiming for 5, 10,15,20 day void turnaround. We all need to drive faster voids turnaround, in the difficult environment we work in. Voids have an analysed Job type too. The extra priority codes had been added via the ICT team, following the protocol in place.
Resulting standard reports just included the (old coded) 20 day void priorities and had ignored the new ones. Now regarding computers & software, "stupid is as stupid does", usually as they are told stupid things to do, and they do it! Interestingly, the reports used a hand-picked list of priority codes, not the overall void job type in order to generate the data. An easy issue to fix, the data was looking more familiar and accurate by the following morning.
This brings up a couple of areas that are worth considering. Firstly, what is the chain like regarding how coding changes feed back into reporting, in your organisation? If these are controlled by managers, executed by ICT, then used by another team, like Performance, Business Improvement, Quality (or whatever other exciting names you have for them), have you a solid chain of how the changes go in? As we are always told, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. What's yours in your organisation in this respect?
Secondly, our systems generally come with possible multiple levels of analysis coding, available for use. Like in this example, the priority coding of voids, is really a sub-set of the voids Job type. If reports were driven from the void job type, they would work correctly however how many new void priorities were added. These codes can also be involved in financial, payroll, HR or other system postings etc and of course these should be considered too, when making changes.
Often organisations over complicate coding or replicate it at lower levels. Property coding is one that I see a lot, and managers are often wary of sorting it out, if it's working at the moment. This can create many problems and hassle for KPI reporting teams. A structure like Owning Body (RP1, RP2 etc) > Area (Bath, Trowbridge, Westbury etc) > Scheme > Needs Type (e.g. general Needs, C&S, Shared Owners etc) if used correctly will only have codes at the right coding level.
In a structure like the above, we could create an area code called 'Bath C&S'. If we did that, we create ambiguities for reporting. do we build reports on Area to pull out C&S (care and support), Needs Type of the property, or a bit of both? What happens if our property coding across these codes get somewhat out of whack? You can see the dilemma can't you?
Have a look at the way your major entities, like properties, rent accounts, repairs etc are coded and catagorised. Are you doing it in the most joined up manner?
Related Post: Why exactly are voids not handled in housing systems that well?
You can link with me on LinkedIn here - http://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy It would be great to connect !
Santana - The Chain.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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