Recalculating

As someone who grew up before smart phones, apps or even Garmin, I relied on old-fashioned maps when venturing out. The most sophisticated I ever got was using MapQuest. Now we’re all spoiled and no longer need to rely on a sense of direction or an understanding of how to navigate the stars. If we make a wrong turn or miss an exit, the navigation system/app simply reroutes or “recalculates”.

Perhaps our industry could benefit from recalculating and charting a new path towards a final destination, whatever and wherever that may be.

For instance, how much longer will we allow advances in technology to surpass us? More pointedly, why are we (as an industry) so slow to adapt those technological advances? When will our industry as a whole give more weight to an online rental than an online reservation? It’s your way of taking the customer off the market immediately. Don’t allow them the opportunity to change their mind, negotiate price or worse, go to your competition.

What will it take to recruit, gain and sustain more owner and manager participation in local state associations, which aim to benefit all levels of personnel through educational seminars, webinars and conferences? Moreover, when can we expect more owners and managers to step forward and volunteer within their state associations? I’ve had the pleasure of meeting countless owners and managers who have an immense amount of insight and knowledge to lend to our industry, but it benefits very few, to include placing limitations on their own success, if those individuals do not step forward to voice and share their insights.

Why isn’t there a widespread effort to introduce and sustain the best practices possible within every organization, whether a one-store operation or a multi-store portfolio? Too often I see examples of operations and ownership that behave as if nothing exists or matters outside the confines of their facility. I would offer that this perspective needs replacing with a new ideology where we all belong to a bigger picture and through recognizing that, we improve our collective success. What’s wrong with wanting the entire industry to be flawless? Impeccable? We should want to avoid having any operational deficiency and erase labels such as “mom & pop” and “mini warehouse”.

When are we going to get away from the blue-collar approach with facility management customer service and provide a more upscale, sophisticated and professional style of facility management customer service? For the most part when a customer enters our facility office, they aren’t expecting much, but it’s when we exceed their expectations that we stand out and they take notice.

When will there be more emphasis and scrutiny placed on recruiting and training the best store-level talent to produce the best financial performance, in that order, rather than micro-managing the wage, benefit and bonus package, if any at all, an employee receives? As we acquire, expand and/or develop new projects, we will not achieve or exceed our financial objectives if we cut corners in the hiring and training process. Furthermore, it’s imperative that we seek out the top talent and pay those individuals accordingly because it is counter-productive to expect lofty goals with base talent and base pay. By no means am I suggesting over-paying an under-qualified candidate, but you must remember you get what you pay for.

I love the self-storage industry and I love what I do. I recognize areas of weakness and areas of improvement within myself and I also recognize it in our industry. I want the best for our industry, which is why I feel compelled to raise these points. I want success. I want longevity. I want reputational quality and a high level of operating efficiency for the industry as a whole.