A Special Letter from Chris Blum – CEO / Co-Founder of Action Title Research
2022 has proven to be a year of sharp transition for those in the real estate industry. We’ve exited from a world of meager interest rates to an environment where razor-sharp focus needs to be applied to achieve growth and sustained profitability. As a result, we all must make painful staffing decisions. And for some of you, the impact is severe.
In my 20+ years of living the ups and downs of the real estate industry, I’ve learned that focus is critical, hard work is essential, and continuous improvement is a must. This includes taking responsibility for modernizing our respective companies to remain competitive. Updating your technologies and processes, with far less reliance on manual steps and paperwork, is an absolute necessity. This drives your costs down and contributes to profitability. Put bluntly, your survival as a company may well depend on making the hard choices now about the headcount you need during the downturn and the long-term headcount you “really” need. Many of you are fearful that if you lay off staff, how will you quickly rebound when times return to good again.
The way around this is first, take care of your critical employees, who have brought you to this point, many of whom are essential in your client-facing activities. Second, it’s crucial to look at what you’re doing in your workflows that can be streamlined or eliminated through technology or partners as a service model. Finally, you can build a business model where expenses scale up and down with you as you demand more or less. Then, as things improve, you scale your variable costs, avoiding the fixed costs of having huge labor expenses.
As we head into 2023, you may be thinking, how can I position my business for a more profitable new year. There are several things that you have to do:
- Where practical, seek out automation – archaic processes can delay turnaround and productivity. Routine tasks can chew up as much as 60% of an employee’s time. It’s estimated by McKinsey that as much as 45% of workforce activities can be automated. According to McKinsey, this represents approximately $2 trillion in US wages. But more than simply a cost-saving measure, automation advances the employee experience. Automation handles mundane tasks, freeing time and resources for more interesting, creative projects. It contributes to retaining your best employees.
- When building out your automation, make the time to understand the manual workflows your teams are undertaking. Processes that become interdependent with other people or processes define workflows. Understand the manual tasks that make up those workflows. Manual workflows can become digital workflows when companies use software, automation tools, and other technologies, such as SmartSearchTM to digitize and automate manual tasks, processes, and workflows.
- Seek enduring partnerships, and learn the benefits from others who’ve already automated key workflows in their business. You can’t always do it on your own. Our company, Action Title Research, is a product of living in the title industry for years, mastering each workflow. We learned how to automate key title production processes into a digital workflow with our SmartSearch offering and are integrating agency partners into this workflow. The excessive paper and manual steps are gone. What does this mean for you and your clients? It often translates into:
- Fewer human errors
- Higher quality work product
- Increased turnaround time
- Improved productivity
- Increased employee availability
- Reduced labor costs
- A one stop shop (Search and digital workflow)
- Higher profitability
- A more agile organization
To learn more about how SmartSearchTM can help you begin your automation process click here.