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Inside Self-Storage 7/99: Real Management Systems

April 1, 1999

4 Min Read
Inside Self-Storage 7/99: Real Management Systems

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Real Management Systems

Getting to the heart of the self-storage business

By Diane Di Cioccio

One-hundred percent occupancy is the primary objective of every self-storage businessowner. Getting there is the challenge. Doing it consistently seems impossible. Everythingfrom location, staffing, marketing and rental tracking can make a difference. Many oftoday's automation systems address some of the needs, but rarely do they address all ofthem.

Recognizing what impacts the self-storage industry and ways to make it better are whatled Gregg Genualdi to launch Real Management Systems in late 1998. "When I started inthe business 15 years ago, there were no software solutions available," saysGenualdi. "The early systems--and still many today--are basically databases thatsatisfy the day-to-day task requirements but don't handle the operational needs or offermethods to help businesses grow." Joined by several associates who shared his vision,he launched the company and selected a name that emphasized the company's"real-life" business philosophy.

"Our mission was to create a package that was flexible and versatile enough tocoordinate all of the activities and tasks within a self-storage facility. We didn't wanta system that would just handle the business; we wanted something that would improve thebusiness," says Genualdi. To do this, Real Management Systems needed to look at theself-storage industry in an entirely new way.

Breaking from traditional, unit-based tracking solutions, Genualdi began development onTask Master™ and decided that the product would be a client-based program."Self-storage owners and managers are frustrated with systems that track units andcan't efficiently handle delinquent accounts or leverage marketing information,"explains Genualdi. "As a client-based program, Task Master can keep all of thehistorical data on clients and keep accounts active even after units are vacated orre-rented. Now management has easy access to accurate client information for marketing,management of collections, delinquent accounts, assigning multiple rental units to asingle client, consolidated billing and more."

Another problem the company chose to tackle was cumbersome data input and extractionroutines. A prime example is billing cycles. For many self-storage managers, the beginningof the month means culling through loads of checks and switching from screen to screen torecord payments to individual accounts. Genualdi's team set out to simplify and streamlinethe entire billing process. "We designed the system so that there is no need toswitch from screen to screen or reorient yourself," says Nick Block, Real ManagementSystems' vice president of sales. "You can go through a stack of checks, stay on thesame screen and switch quickly from client to client." Payments can even be splitamong various units with a few simple keystrokes.

Real Management Systems further simplified the input process by recognizing the needfor efficiency during peak business hours. "No one wants to go through a long list ofquestions while potential renters line up and the parking lot is full. We designed thesystem so that a new account can be created by just entering a name. The rest of theinformation can be input later, when business has slowed down," explains Block.

The company also hosts other features and services, all based on the premise ofimproving self-storage business operations. Extensive management and reporting featuresallow owners to keep a close eye on their operations and select what reports they want tosee, when they want to see them. The system is even flexible enough to accommodatemultiple and various types of facilities and services, such as marinas, apartments andoffice-space rentals.

Since its commercial release early this year, Task Master has been installed throughoutthe Southwest with plans for implementation in several nationwide management companiestotaling more than 150 sites. In addition, Real Management Systems continues to moveforward with enhancements and additional products such as gate-access control, a sitegraphics package and a hard-wired alarm system. "We consider our clients to be ourproduct managers. They let us know how their business operates and what they need. It's upto us to create solutions to help them along the way," says Genualdi.

To learn more about Real Management Systems, visit the company's booth at the InsideSelf-Storage Expo, August 23-25, in San Diego, Calif., or visit its Web site at www.realmgmt.com.

Diane Di Cioccio is a marketing consultant based in Scottsdale, Ariz., where shewrites frequently on the high-technology industry and software solutions. She can bereached at (602) 502-8600 or via e-mail at [email protected]

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