The effect of technology throughout hospitality has been well chronicled from the guest experience to back-of-house operations. But while the impact on critical areas like project logistics may not be as widely known it can be every bit as important.
To that point, JMC Global—a Spring, TX-based logistics company which specializes in transportation, warehousing and installation—is looking to leverage the latest technology to take hospitality new build and renovation projects to the next level. JMC has developed a private platform that utilizes a series of communication apps to help customers track the progress of their projects as it relates to FF&E and OS&E logistics.
According to John Crawley, COO, JMC Global, the company’s goal is always the perfectly installed room and project. He offered some insight into the broader strategy of JMC Global, which was founded in 2006.
“Early on we decided that we wanted to be a great customer service company in the logistics space. I always tell people ‘yes we have industry licenses and bells and whistles, but at our core we’re a customer service company,’” he said. To achieve that, Crawley further pointed out the firm has set its sights on being a leader in three areas: communication, business processes, and technology.
The company developed its technology platform, dubbed PCN (Private Collaborative Network), internally some three years ago and began rolling it out to installers and warehouses within the past year. The system is designed to take the very best of communications technologies and put them into informative apps on a single platform and make it available anywhere at any time.
Available on a smart phone or a computer, Crawley underscored the significance of a system that provides real-time, actionable updates. “It is what leading companies in other segments are doing….. and to my knowledge we’re the only [hospitality logistics] company with this system,” he said.
Crawley further explained how the customizable platform has changed the game. “What we find is if a customer can get an email from the person on site at an installation, they’re happy with that. That’s the bar. We’ve taken the bar way up and we have what we call the installation app. The onsite installer can—with a few flicks on his smart phone—enter the same data in a format that tells the client whether the project is progressing or not at the very ground level,” he said, adding, “there is also an app called (problem) solver as well.” This app identifies problems early and allows the entire organization to weigh in on solutions quickly and accurately using the quality process.
The COO continued, “Typically, the rubber meets the road when install starts happening. If we can have a system that educates the project constituency real time and they can just get on their phone and chat into an install or solver app…it really is so powerful. I wouldn’t want to use any other system. The system organizes information. So, the data becomes the story. And the story is presented in such a way the client can truly hear it, understand it and act on it,” he said.
Crawley—who also noted the entire company is run on this software of collaborative networks—detailed the process pointing out that it starts with operational logistics or production software. “We take every purchase order from the moment it’s issued by line item and we actually manage by line item from “on order” to “installed” in the room or public area.”
The company has completed projects of all types from luxury to full-service properties, including many overseas hotels. Crawley noted the company had just finished work on the Marriott Marquis in downtown Houston, which represents the largest hotel in the city with some 1,500 keys. He also pointed out JMC is managing the transportation logistics for the 1,800-room Gaylord in Denver, which is currently under construction.
Crawley talked about the increased volume as a direct result of the platform. “Five years ago we were able to handle 5 to 10 projects a month and be pretty good at managing them. Today we can look at our system and we’ve got 70 projects under management at one stage or another…And we know that’s the tip of the iceberg,” he stated.
The COO added that the feedback from customers has been positive as well. “We get comments like ‘that’s the best outcome I’ve ever had on a project,’” he said.
David Bushee, vp, procurement & contracting acquisition, development & construction, Vistana Development—a timeshare company that recently worked with JMC on the conversion of a Sheraton—weighed in on the JMC platform.
“It significantly improved the cycle time from identification of an issue to its resolution. All of the relevant stakeholders—including the on-site install team, purchasing agent, warehouse manager, owner's rep and project managers—were included in the conversation so that issues were resolved in hours instead of days. Communication was contained in one location and organized, significantly reducing time spent searching through emails. It's a nice application of social media technology to the warehouse and installation discipline,” he said.
Crawley further touted the company’s platform and acknowledged more updates are in the offing. “I think it’s the most comprehensive system out there, it’s not perfect yet, but we’re rolling out 2.0 in the next two months. It surely enhances the communications part of the business and reduces emails. It really does fix things faster,” he concluded.