The staff at the Boxer Property, a commercial real estate organization with approximately 16 million square feet of mostly office space in its portfolio, always viewed itself as 10 times larger than it actually was and needed an internal system that reflected that mentality.
The company experimented with different platforms before deciding to develop its own. The end result was Stemmons, a software system that allows every member of an organization to work under a universal system that clearly displays its processes, data, workflows activities and more.
“Once we developed Stemmons, it was a massive game changer as we were able to shift data and work through time and space,” Boxer Chairman and CEO and Stemmons co-founder Andrew Segal told Connected Real Estate Magazine. “We hired 250 people in India and our insurance premiums plunged to about a third to a quarter of our peers’.”
Boxer also was able to expand to approximately 150 locations across the United States after Stemmons was developed. The company was also prepared when the COVID-19 outbreak hit the U.S.
“We rolled out playbooks, maintained business continuity, used artificial intelligence, blockchain and structured everything into a single place,” Segal said. “(Stemmons) made it easy to disperse the workforce and keep on top of everything. We ended up rolling through this crisis without a big bump. We have collected virtually all of our rent, but have two hotels that are empty, so it’s not all good. But overall, the core business sales are up.”
“This is the kind of company that more CRE leaders will be hearing about in the future” said Rich Berliner Publisher of Connected Real Estate Magazine. “In light of the Global Pandemic, landlords need to find ways to increase efficiency and cut costs at the same time”
How Stemmons works
As Segal puts it, Stemmons acts like an iPhone—at first glance it’s a device that can store music files and make and receive calls before users quickly realize its really a system that unifies all types of different solutions. It was the same for Stemmons—Boxer was able to eliminate thousands of sales and service programs it did not need, and the ones it did, it attached to its new platform.
“There was always that one place of truth for everything,” Segal said. “The biggest thing (Stemmons) allowed us to do when we rolled it out to external customers was change the time of place and work. We could work remotely, but we’re missing two good parts of that—number one is working in different places is fine, but you need to get people out of their house. They need to be in a distraction free zone—I don’t care if they are dispersed, but I want them in an office environment with secure connections, reliable Internet and no dogs, fridges or children if possible.
Time is the other element the Stemmons platform helps manage. Only 20 percent of the clock is used for business, according to Segal—an employee’s chair is empty 80 percent of the time between evenings, weekends and vacations. Work can continue, even in an employee’s absence with Stemmons, however.
“We say the sun never sets on Boxer Property,” Segal said. “We can reduce the cost of architecture, lawyers, accountants by 90 percent, and if you’re using the system it makes it very easy. We offered our external clients what we refer to as the, ‘Human cloud’ where they are communicating over a system and saving a tremendous amount of money and massively compressing the time it takes to get things done.”
Stemmons’ impact on business operations
Boxer Property has seen its worker’s compensation claims drop by close to 70 percent over the last few years because it now has training, compliance and acknowledgement regimens in place as well as the ability to spot check things. The company does a lot of construction where people are handling heavy tools and the Stemmons solution lets it identify problems before they happen.
“I have detailed records of every inspection that we have done over the last 10 years and what the results were,” Segal said. “I can tie it back to managers, supervisors and regions. It’s really an actionable system.”
Like the iPhone, Stemmons continues to evolve in terms of what it can be used for. It adapts to the way that people want to work. For example, Waste Management is using Stemmons to handle dispute resolution amongst employees. Meanwhile, Gucci is using the solution to track the tenant side of leases.
“When you have a unified, intuitive system, people are going to find ways to use it that are much more creative than I could ever think of,” Segal said. “It’s kind of like how Amazon taught us how to buy a book, but you had to use their system. It did not take us long to figure out this was going to be much bigger than buying a book—I’d say Stemmons is the same way.”
How companies can best implement Stemmons initially
Replacing remote workers with people in lower cost situations is one of the best entry points companies can make, according to Segal. Companies don’t have to outsource the work per se, but instead, “move the cubicle.”
“Once you do that, then you get into the business continuity, inspections, compliance and also just understanding what is going on in your enterprise,” he said. “Very few people can pick up the phone and see every building, every employee at every building and what every employee is doing and why. This is a game changer in real estate management, but beyond that as well.”