I opened ARM Procurement Advisors after going out to get coffee with a VP from a large multifamily property management firm. He had just taken over their Procurement and Risk Management operations for the company (at this point they had around sixteen thousand doors, and they have doubled in size since then), and he asked me to meet him for coffee to pick my brain about his new role. Two and a half hours (and three coffees) later, he told me I should be doing this full time – three weeks later the LLC was formed, and here I am. Thanks, Mark.
My Exit From Corporate America
I wasn’t even working with property management firms at the time Mark called me, I had left my job running B2B sales and key account management for 18 stores at a large building materials retailer almost a year before. That company was making some changes that made my job harder and would guarantee a pay cut for me as they changed my incentive structure, so I exited and took a Director role at a building products manufacturer. After over twenty years in leadership in the industry, more work for less pay wasn’t very attractive to me.
I was in the best position I could be to “go out on top”…I had built the largest property management customer volume in the U.S. (and the world) in the company, as well as the largest overall volume in the region and held it there for a few years. I was on a plane every other week and was on site with customers in fifteen states, and selling more appliances and LVT/LVP than anyone else in the company – all to developers and property management firms.
When they finally replaced me, they split my portfolio in half and hired two people to take over. To this day those two positions added together haven’t equaled the volume I was producing – while I’m still flattered by this result, I hold no illusion that the company actually learned anything about how I did my job or why I chose to exit. Everyone is replaceable in corporate America.
During my time working with my customers, I noticed a pattern in the concerns, issues and opportunities shared by most of them. I was able to find success in what I did by learning from them about how their businesses worked and what their priorities were, and then sold them products and services that helped them meet those needs.
I also made it a point NOT to sell them anything that wasn’t a good fit for their operations or that we couldn’t do a good, consistent job servicing and sourcing.
It got to a point where I would meet with a potential customer about their business, and during the process of asking them questions, I would uncover and highlight the same issues and opportunities I was helping my other customers to address. I was literally taking sales from the competition by fixing problems and not creating new ones.
I also made it a point to never meet with or talk to anyone who wasn’t an owner or a c-level operator in the business, because no one else had the big picture or the power to make the changes necessary for success actually happen.
I spent a lot of time brainstorming and collaborating with my customers as a trusted advisor, helping them find ways to make more money from their operations. Sometimes it was cutting costs by value engineering or reducing maintenance by using better products, other times it was increasing curb appeal (and monthly rents) by adding smart technology, granite countertops, and in-unit laundry. Most of the time it was all of the above.
There are hundreds of case studies showing that vendor collaboration drives innovation and adds value and profit to the bottom line for all involved, and I’ve been a first-hand participant in those efforts. Continuing my education in the industry and earning the certifications I have has allowed me to add more value and enabled me to offer more comprehensive advice to my clients, in turn helping them make better decisions and more money.
I purchased my first book on consulting back in 2011 and started participating in expert networks in 2016. Since that time, I’ve provided guidance on the building materials and real estate industries for six of the top ten global management consulting firms, along with international investment banks and global building products and electronics manufacturers that are household names.
So far in 2021, I’ve been asked to keynote speak twice by an international investment bank in Australia on the real estate market and multinational building products manufacturers performance in the US for their investor calls.
Procurement is defined as the process by which organizations acquire the goods and services they require in order to operate as needed day-to-day. It should encompass specifying products and the scope of services as well as sourcing, negotiations, purchasing, managing the supply chain, and inventory management.
Procurement as an operation impacts every other functional area in real estate, impacting compliance, risk management, maintenance, capital improvements, general business operations and more.
Most companies don’t treat it that way and, in turn, they leave a lot of money on the table. When you treat procurement as a profit center and not a cost center or revenue sink, great things happen.
Now I bring the knowledge and connections I’ve developed in the last two decades to my clients to help them leverage their buying power and to address the issues they face in their supply chain – and I do it without selling products. I work with their existing supply chain and try to help them maximize the value that their procurement operation should bring to their business.
Helping You Succeed
Since the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, I’ve spent most of my time helping my clients address the cost increases, delays, shortages, and overall chaos of the building material supply chain. Since I have over 20 years of knowledge from being in leadership with my past career, I understand how the industry works from the inside – manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, and retail. I know how the contracts are written, what their margins are and need to be, how they buy and and how they pass on costs.
All this means I can negotiate with them as an equal and make sure both parties are getting the maximum value from the relationship as possible. For the average buyer, they only know what they go looking for, or what’s brought to them by vendors and they don’t know what the fair market value of anything really is because they lack perspective. I’m not insulting them or saying they are bad at their jobs – they just don’t know what they don’t know and have no good way to find the information they actually need.
My mission is to help my clients make more money and provide a better product to their end users. Simple changes can have massive impact long-term, and the guidance, methodology and frameworks I can provide focus around providing the lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) without sacrificing quality, sustainability or resilience.
I’m here to help your company adapt to the new normal we find ourselves in. While I can’t fix everything, I can help your team mitigate some of the impact. Please give me a call.