Integration and Work Interfaces

10 December 2023
Language: Hebrew

Guest: Adi Sharvit, Ariel Properties
In this episode, the Operations VP of Ariel Properties explains how integrating experts across different service fields can lead to a higher level of service quality and why you should always be nice to people in elevators.


Idit: In previous episodes we talked about different concepts in the IFM world. This time we  will talk about the IFM itself, the I of IFM, integration. What is integration, what it includes, how to practically do it and how through this raise the level of service that the customer receives. And I can't think of anyone better suited to present the subject than the COO of Ariel Properties Group, Adi Sharvit.

Adi has been working at the company for three and a half years, a year in her current position, she is actually responsible for all the company's lateral processes, all tenders, contracts, technology, sustainability and she manages projects at the construction stage, among them are Merkazit Hamifratz Terminal, Microsoft, and Tou-Towers. She lives in Beit Hefer, is married to Ofer and mother to Yuval, Lior and Guy.

I actually met Adi for the first time in the elevator. We started talking without me knowing she worked at Ariel Properties Group. My office was on the 14th floor and hers on the 15th floor, and the truth is that from the beginning there was a click between us. And when I realized that we were working in the same group, I was also very happy to add her to the IFM community. And I must say that since then we have been cooperating, consulting with each other on various issues. We go through all kinds of challenges together as women and Adi also hosted us, the IFM community, in Nerkazit Hamifratz Terminal which more than it was impressive, it was also very enriching and demonstrated how integration works practically.

So hey Adi how are you? We're glad you're here!

Adi: It's great that you invited me, thank you very much and I'm also happy to be here and to share the integration with you

Edith: Awesome. So, as in every episode, we would like to hear some quote or about a person that holds significant to you.

Adi: I think the quote that fits the topic we're talking about is: Theodore Roosevelt's "Believe You Can and You're Halfway There." And the simple reason: when you talk about complex arrays or integration of services, people recoil with fright and say, wow, how do we do that now? We won a huge tender and how do we do it now? And breaking down to very, very low details, but also knowing how to fly and build the faith and what we do and how to do it, is something that is no less important. Because otherwise everyone will go in a certain direction, but not everyone in the same direction. So the belief that we can do it. That it's possible. That we imagine how to do it. This is very, very important when we handle complex projects.

Idit: Exactly. So let's address this word for a moment that everyone is afraid of. What exactly is the integration of services?

Adi: Today's integration of service fields is actually to provide all the solutions to the client in a way that is like an orchestra playing. Integration is the conductor. It's an instrument, it has its sound and it has its meaning and there's its uniqueness and the integration is to make sure that everyone plays and creates some kind of symphony. Which is a work that in our case contains many elements. It is to maintain security and safety and cleanliness and maintenance and in complex projects integration is wellness. And integration is really everything about customer experience. And the ability to understand customers and their needs and the specification of services we provide and give them in a way that a customer gets an experience is an art.

Idit: Totally.

Adi: It's a specialty. For the simple reason that you don't come to a restaurant and you know what happened in the kitchen. You know that the dish comes to you so nicely and neatly and what you ordered. I don't know now if certain ingredients are missing.

Idit: You see a picture without seams, you see a complete puzzle without the connections between them. Between each other, everything is very smooth.

Adi: That's right. Like in a fine hotel, that is how it is like in the properties we manage.

Idit: We have no idea what's going on behind the scenes.

Adi: We have no idea.

Idit: But the service is like wow.

Adi: The service is wow. And the service is something I enjoy and also when there are certain adversities. You know how to provide the solution that is an integrator who understands both the customer experience and the customer's need. So I think the complexity of that, it's actually covering all bases and making sure everyone knows their role and we know what we need to provide and do it in the best way.

Idit: It's actually a bit connected to the next topic, to the next question, which is why customers want integrative services? Because you're producing something that's so simply operated. And it creates some kind of operational quiet, business continuity for the client, so obviously they will prefer the, as you said, the range of services, this one-stop-shop in a provide-one, it makes sense, that's why should we actually enjoy services that are a whole package of integrative services.

Adi: It makes a lot of sense, but not only that. This is a sensible business decision. For the simple reason that a management company integrates services, it is much more than just the conductor of the orchestra. It is about a professional trustee. We, after all, manage very, very sensitive things. We manage our clients' money, and if you don't believe that whoever manages it, is actually the one who looks out for your interest, it is a problem. Once you are a professional trustee, and you also know how to integrate the services, and you are a trusted advisor who is constantly updated, you actually allow the client to focus on his core activity.

Idit: In his core business.

Adi: In his core business, someone comes along who is a consultant and accompanies you, and you trust him. A partner, really a partner. It's a partner who talks, comes and talks to you, asks you what you need, what you want, and together, when you weave the dream, makes it happen, and that's what we do.

Idit: It's about going hand in hand, together.

Adi: It's hand in hand together, in faith, in transparency, in endless feedback, it's hearing how they feel, and correcting, and streamlining, and that's actually the advantage of integrating services. After all, you can't be an expert both in gyms, in customer experience, and in security, and in telephone systems, or sustainability, or catering, or in countless areas that we provide as solutions to our client. We have the professionals, content experts, in house.

Idit: Do not worry, let us as content experts take care of your assets, you will be dealing with your core business.

Adi: That's right.

Idit: And there you have it, a winning recipe.

Adi: A winning recipe, say what you want, we'll make it happen.

Edith: Beautiful. So how do we, if we want to look at the issue of integration, where are the challenges we encounter in integration? I think it's both from the client side, and from within the organization, and our teams.

Adi: True, it consists of these two elements, because sometimes we come up with solutions for customers for that matter in the client's challenge, and it's not one single customer, but it's a number of customers who don't always agree.

Idit: Okay.

Adi: Andthen there's the challenge of the professional to come and explain what we think serves their interest, or what's right. And the second challenge is the challenge within.

Idit: Yes.

Adi: Like I said.

Idit: Internal organization.

Adi: Internal organization.

Idit: Connect all musical instruments.

Adi: Exactly, to connect all the musical instruments. Understand what each person's part is in this overall picture. For the simple reason that people, every project is also different. It's not one solution that fits everyone.

Idit: That's right.

Adi: Every project is different. It is different from the structure. It is different from electro-mechanical systems. Most importantly, it is different because of the users of the specific building. Or in the same project, because we also manage not only buildings. We manage countless projects, and there is a huge difference. An office tower in Tel Aviv is not like one in Haifa or of a hi-tech company.

Idit: Google, for example, Facebook.

Adi: Either a shopping center or a mall or the gyms we run. And the challenge is to understand, really studying the client. Tailor the resources to them. And after that, in the teams that work, explain to them the client himself.

Idit: Yes.

Adi: What is the services scope we provide? What are the expectations? Where are the challenges? Because like we said, we want to come to the restaurant and get the dish. We don't want to hear the cook shouting, "Hey, I need cucumbers." Right? It's inappropriate. Not suitable for a company that integrates services. Not suitable for a company at the level that we want to provide the service to the customer.

Idit: So how do we actually harness them? Let's say, the teams, for that matter. For example, the maintenance and janitorial services that I am aware that are provided in the same level of service that I expect to give my end customer.

Adi: I think the real harnessing is, first of all, to unite and build them as a team. One team, which has a common goal, who support each other, who understand what our role is in the project.

Idit: It doesn't cancel each other out. It's like they have to say, it's not that one comes at the expense of the other.

Adi: It's synergy.

Idit: Everyone has their own area of expertise, exactly.

Adi: Exactly. But there are so many interfaces. That is, if I, for that matter, work as a cleaner on a particular project, and I see a burnt lamp. It's not imaginary, obviously. Or I'm part of the maintenance team, and I see something unclean. There's no ability that we're measured well, unless everyone cares about everyone, and how we look, and the customer's experience. If we focus on the customer experience, people understand. If they lend a hand to each other, it works fine. This synergy works great, and that's where it is measured, and it proves itself. And we talked about Merkazit Hamifratz Terminal, you gave is as an example, which is the largest transportation complex in Israel today, we have 108 employees in various fields. We provide services starting from information stand, which is the only company in Israel besides Egged, that provides this service, and cleaning and maintenance, as well as catering when hosting, and the project is very, very complex.

Idit: Right.

Adi: Because that's over 100 employees who provide service, to almost 40,000 people a day.

Idit: But basically they all end up producing the same complete picture.

Adi: Creating the same experience, the letter of the complete picture. And I think the uniqueness there, is the uniqueness of the team, which understands the mission, and is focused on the customer.

Idit: Everyone there is very dedicated. This is very evident on the visit. And you couldn't see the seams. Everything is well-orchestrated. The cleaners pay attention to the details of the upkeep, the maintenance pays attention to the details of the cleanliness. Even in their look and feel, in what it conveyed. For me, it was integration in its entirety. I was very, very happy to take the IFM community there. It really illustrated the concept. Tell me, what utilities are there that actually support the integration services, that you know?

Adi: I think that today technology is an essential aid, both in terms of SLA and tracking malfunctions or deliverables, but not only. Technology makes it possible to connect customers with us, but also between the different staff members. I mean, you don't have to pick up the phone. You just take a picture, open a work order, and It is automatically routed to it. And it allows us to both learn about ourselves, and also understand hours of certain peaks, or which field are we performing less well or...

Idit: Do some lesson learned, produce insights.

Adi: Everything. It gives us information, and information is power that you analyze it, and you can improve, and we talk about continuous improvement. And not only technology, I think the interpersonal connection is also a tool that helps with integration.

Idit: Communication.

Adi: Communication, yes. Communication, banal as it sounds, to compare that with technology.

Idit: You can't do without it.

Adi: You can't do without it. Continuous communication, team meetings, meetings to discuss issues, that bring things up, challenges, and even ventilation. We talked about it, that it's also very important to talk to colleagues, to reflect. The insights come in, when you're actually ventilating, and then you realize that someone is dealing with the same thing as you, and then comes that feedback. So I think it's tools that are tools, both technology and communication, and building knowledgeable and strong teams and people, it allows for good integration.

Idit: Are there cases in which it is better for the end customer to receive sigmental rather than integrative services? When is it better for them to receive segmental services, for that matter?

Adi: Actually, I just think it's only with very, very small projects.

Idit: Yes. There is no added value to the integrative aspect.

Adi: if there is just one service you need, if you only need maintenance, that's it. So take my contractor.

Idit: So it really depends on the complexity of the site itself, the customer.

Adi: Of the customer.

Idit: How prepared they are to receive integrative services.

Adi: This is also the scope of the activity. The scope of activity is very, very small. Let's say, I have a law firm, and I need a cleaner for three hours.

Idit: Three hours a day, yes.

Adi: This is a service I take, and here there is no need for integrative services. As we said, our job today, is besides being professional and professional trustees of our client, we also integrate for services that cause him a lot of headaches.

Idit: Yes.

Adi: And they deal with the core of their business. If it's something that's very, very small, very, very specific, you don't need to get integrative services.

Idit: Makes sense. So in conclusion, how do we, as a tip our listeners, how do we maintain quality of customer experience, service experience?

Adi: We are constantly being updated. Also in what is happening not only in our market, in global trends, in consumer trends.

Idit: Every day things change, there was COVID, the work environment changes, our client's needs change, we as service providers need to be updated all the time.

Adi: That's right, in consumer trends even, all the electric cars coming in now, it affects what we're going to manage in the next few years. We study the trends, we know what they are. The whole issue of human resources, in the world not only ours, but human resources in the world, in the environment, it affects trends. It affects our customers in the market, who find it difficult to recruit employees. Then they expand the services they provide to employees. We hold so many areas of expertise that we have to be constantly updated. Moreover, I think that one of the most important things we have to do as managers, as very large employers in the economy, is to embrace our employees in this aspect.

Idit: They are our most important resource, no doubt.

Adi: That's right, because at the end of the day, they're the ones on site, and they're the ones who create the experience, and they're the ones who are informed. And another element is our customers, continue being there for them.

Idit: Listen to them. What they need, what they want.

Adi: Not just what they need and want, but explain to them what's going on. We have some role as experts, as professional consultants, because they take us to save themselves a lot of other things. This discourse, the connection with them, because it's a personal connection, at the end of the day, everything comes down to a personal connection.

Idit: In general, the whole issue of customer experience is, as you said, very personal, very emotional. After all, for that matter, there are many companies that know how to do maintenance, cleaning, security, but you have to find this added value, this extra mile, something that will connect more, this special interface. This, as I see it, sums up the issue of customer experience, among other things. So, fun. Good, we were very happy to have you on our podcast.

Adi: Thank you for inviting me, I was happy to be here. And good luck to us.

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