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Vacation Rental Management Conference: Vacation Rental Business: How to dramatically cut costs to survive

Vacation Rental Business: How To Dramatically Cut Costs To Survive
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This article is part of our Rental Scale-Up vacation rental management conference series. This is an extract from our April 2020 conference: “Get Your Business Through the COVID-19 Crisis By Discovering How Local Property Managers Resist the Global Coronavirus Epidemic.”

Vacation Rental Management Conference: Zenguest’s Andrew Macdonald

How did Andrew manage to get 75% occupancy for its Bali villas, when 90% of its guests are normally from far-away countries? How did he adapt his company’s service level and costs to be able to break even on discounted longer-term stays? He will share all this, as well as how he came up with his lockdown plan, cut costs, reduced staff expenses, and negotiated better terms with his suppliers. He will tell you what measures he has put in place to protect his staff and how he’s been able to find the right timing to get villa owners to be onboard when making tough decisions about pricing, discount, and length-of-stay.

Vacation Rental Management Conference: Video From The 2020 Local Property Manager Conference

  • Andrew started Zenguest two years ago and currently manages 22 villas in Bali.
  • Bali is a unique market with about 12,000 villas. 20% of visitors are Australian, 20% Chinese, and the rest from other countries. Everyone is coming on holiday or for weddings, so there’s no business travel and no local travel.
    • Therefore, Bali was very affected by the closure of international borders.
    • The Chinese market traditionally booked package tours, but more recently they started booking villas in Bali.
  • Bali was hit by the coronavirus crisis earlier than Europe and North America. Andrew noticed a slowdown in the end of February. By the beginning of March he received a lot of cancellations, though luckily they were able to get some occupancy back but at much lower rates. By the end of March, there were essentially zero tourists left in Bali in the traditional sense.
  • Instead, there was a new market of foreigners who wanted to wait out the virus situation in Bali. About 80% of his villas are occupied now but at rates that are about 20% lower than average. 
  • A few weeks ago Andrew started getting inquiries from Russian visitors. There are no scheduled flights back to Russia right now (unless you can get an evacuation flight), which means there are many Russian tourists stranded in Bali.
  • With one Russian guest, Andrew arranged a special situation that would give her a refund for unused nights if she got an evacuation flight, but he would start looking for new guests to take over the property and give her 3 days notice if a new reservation was secured. Both Andrew and the guest were happy with that arrangement.
  • Bali has a partial lockdown in place. People are supposed to stay home, but it’s not a legal requirement. Streets are quite empty and most hotels and restaurants are closed, though some are slowly starting to open again.
    • Many events like weddings and religious ceremonies have been cancelled or postponed.
  • The demand has shifted toward longer term stays. Most of Andrew’s properties have guests staying at least a month or two, instead of the usual 3 to 4 nights during normal times.
  • However, the villas in Bali aren’t designed for long term stays. They don’t have fully equipped kitchens, so guests are asking for bigger refrigerators, washing machines, barbecue grills, and more cooking equipment, but Andrew’s team hasn’t been able to fulfill those requests because they’re so tight on budget.
  • Typically, property managers in Bali provide a high level of service to their short-term stays (like daily cleaning), but Andrew is adjusting his company’s offerings to accommodate costs and safety. They’re now cleaning three days per week (instead of every day) and reducing personal contact with guests. They check their cleaning team’s temperatures regularly and ensure everyone is wearing masks and gloves during cleanings.
    • One of his best practices for motivating cleaning staff to follow the safety procedures is to explain why they need to wear the protective gear, not just saying they need to do it.
  • Andrew is expecting to operate at a loss for several months, probably longer than Western markets since Bali does not get any domestic tourism.
  • His company had to reduce their number of staff in order to be able to sustain operations for longer than a couple of months. This was also a tricky situation because Indonesian labor laws make it very difficult for companies to let employees go.
  • Next, Andrew looked at all of his villas’ expenses. In addition to cleaning less frequently, they were able to negotiate lower internet costs and schedule pool maintenance less frequently.
  • They’re also renegotiating old contracts with villa owners, being upfront with the owners and setting up temporary contracts so both parties can make it through this tough period.
    • It’s crucial to show owners how severe the situation is, so it might be helpful to wait until the situation is very severe.
    • First, Andrew talks about all the benefits his company provides to the owner, then they go into the financials.
  • It was easy to fill their smaller villas, but for 4-bedroom villas, Zenguest offered a “lockdown package” with minimal services but lower rates. Andrew’s thinking about marketing the lockdown packages to a wider audience and he is reaching out to some larger villa complexes that he knows are empty.
  • Andrew’s background includes working at IBM for 20 years, for much of that time he was a client relationships manager working with large banking clients, which taught him to be very organized and relationship-focused.
  • At IBM, he also had to come up with cost-cutting plans and execute them, which prepared him for thinking analytically and calmly about how to handle the coronavirus situation in Bali.

Vacation Rental Management Conference: Full Conversation Between Andrew Macdonald And Thibault Masson

Thibault:

Dear Rental Scale-Up members. Thanks for joining. Once again, this video for the conference about local property managers fighting this global epidemic. I’m joined now today by Andrew MacDonald. Andrew is a property manager in Bali. Bali is very interesting markets. If you’ve never been to Bali, you may not do. That’s a huge Villa market obviously. So this very interesting to understand from him, not only what the market is that usually what the market is like right now that there is demand, but you see it’s very interesting kind of demand. So very interesting to you. Property managers around the world, listening to what he has done to adapt his business. The current crisis would be talking about reducing costs. We’d be talking about adapting services. That’s very interesting as well. What’s been doing, it was, we’ll be talking about how are dealing with relationships with homeowners because we all have to deal with the homeowners and to talk with them.

Thibault:

That’s a very good point. So Andrew, thanks for joining a thank you. So a complete a disclaimer first. So we know each other through a good friend of mine [inaudible] because he was a Villa manager of one my villas in Valley. And now he’s an employee of yours. Yes, my star employee is stone. So obviously I, I love Bali and thanks to Barron and being able to start talking with you and you’ve been very, very new telling me very interesting things about how you’ve been adapting your business to it. So maybe can you first present your, your, your company? 

Andrew:

So my company is Zen guest property management. We started about two years ago. We had we had 22 villas under management now and we had until recently, 24 staff. And then I’ll go into a little bit more detail later about that’s part of the expense cutting is that of course our staff has gone down.

Andrew:

Yeah, that’s how, that’s the company. So, so, so you, you basically have the you see 22 Vilas with you and, and I said that guy is a huge and markets for Villa. So can you maybe help us, have the people watching understand what the market is like in Valley and in terms of like supply and demand? Usually? Yeah. Barley actually has, I think about 12,000 villas. It has a massive, massive number of villas. In terms of the market arrivals in Bali, a 20% Australia and 20% Chinese and then a bit of everyone else from all over the world. Everyone who comes to barley is coming here to holiday. So there’s very little business travel. There’s very little domestic market.

Andrew:

It’s basically international holiday makers and weddings. So it’s a little bit different to other markets in that when the international borders closed down, we are really, really impacted. And in terms of the recovery, I think it’s going to be much slower because we’re not going to get the domestic recovery because there isn’t a domestic market. So we’re going to have to wait for all of those international borders to start opening up. So that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s interesting. Exposure to international markets. And as you said as well. The two biggest in down markets are Australia and China. I think Australians have been renting villas for a long time and you see, I think we talked a bit earlier, but you say the Chinese are so used to come on package stores now they also renting builders as well. So the Chinese is a growing market for Villers.

Andrew:

Two years ago we would not have a single Chinese tourist staying in a Villa. But over the last year we’ve seen a big rise in numbers and a lot of those visits are conducted purely through Google translate the whole thing. There’s no common language, but actually they work really well. It really works well. That’s very interesting. It’s also tip for anyone working with international travelers. Google translate. So let’s talk about now what’s the current situation is because we, we talk about this and what’s interesting as well Valley obviously was hit earlier than other markets. Something about Europe in the U S and of course flights from China stopped I think end of January. So I’m not mistaken. So what happened and what is the, and there’s still demand on the ground. So that’s also great. What happened and what’s the demand like right now? So the demand really started slowing down in, it was actually towards the end of February.

Andrew:

I mean, at the end of February, we still held hope that things might rebound. And I, nobody really knew what was happening. But by about March 5th, March 6th, we started seeing all the cancellation starting to come through. Mmm. At that time we managed to replace nearly all of them, but at a much lower rate. So we still had very good occupancy in March. But at that point I started letting the owners know that we had a big problem and getting them to understand that we were going to really have to look at price points we would never have ever imagined before. So I, I started getting that message across at that point. And then by the end of March, we were basically, we didn’t have any normal holiday making tourists at all. So all of the, all of those reservations had been canceled. [inaudible] So what we’ve found though was that there was another market and that market was people who to stick this thing out in Bali and not return home to their home country.

Andrew:

Mainly Australians, also Europeans and Americans. Mmm. And it’s actually quite a large market. I have no way of knowing how big it is. But I do know that we, we get at least still five or six inquiries every day. We organize at least two or three visits or villas every day. And 80% of our villas are occupied. Now. The only thing is they’re occupied at rates, about 20% of the normal market. Right. So they basically just covering costs. The other interesting thing we’re finding with the market now is the Russian market. Hmm. So this only started about two weeks ago. We suddenly started getting a lot of inquiries from Russians, and now probably 70% of the inquiries are Russians. It’s, I, I don’t know whether it’s a combination of the difficulty of getting back and also just an unwillingness to go back. The difficulty in getting back is the fact that there are no scheduled flights back to Russia.

Andrew:

There’s no way to get back. You have to get on an evacuation flight. So you have to register with the government and you have to be ready to leave with a few hours notice. So that means that it’s very difficult to make a month, a monthly booking. Mmm. So we recently had an experienced, actually she’s checking in today with a Russian who booked with us for a month, paid up front and then started realizing that this thing was going to go on for months and months. She had a mortgage back home. She had family. She started to worry, she started to think about getting back on one of those evacuation flies. So she asked us, is there any way we could give her back any unused days if she got an evacuation flight? So I talked to the owner and of course we want to be as flexible as possible because this is not going to be the only case we have like this.

Andrew:

So what we offered her was that she could stay in the Villa, we would give her a refund if she got an evacuation flight of any remaining days. However, we would keep looking for a guest now. And if we found a guest who is willing to move in now we would give her three days notice and then she could find other accommodation in that time. And we could bring in another guest who was this you know, who, who we could rely on more for that monthly rental. And she was really, really happy with that solution. The owner was happy with it. And so it’s something we’re probably going to offer to more of the Russian market is that we just work with each guest and give them a flexible solution. So, so companies then guests has been able to sort of respond to that new demand for me to mute you, your customers, I don’t think you had very strong links with the Russian markets before, for example. Very interesting. But also maybe

Thibault:

To help people understand situation value. What’s the lockdown like there in Bali? I think some baby, maybe co co cafes and restaurants, some are open house, dish situation, right?

Andrew:

So the lockdown is a, it’s a partial lockdown. So you’re supposed to stay at home, but it’s not, it’s not a legal requirement. When you’re out in public, you’re supposed to wear masks. Again, it’s not actually clear whether it’s a legal requirement or not. As a lot of the laws in red in Indonesia are quiet, right? They’re quite difficult to actually interpret. So there’s still people around on the street, but they’re very, they’re quite empty. I mean, for example, this is the first time I’ve ever had to respond to a guest request to hire bicycles because you would never think of riding a bicycle in normal times environment. Never. But now the roads are so, but I’ve actually had three different guests requesting how can I hire a bicycle? So I’ve had to source a few suppliers so people are taking it seriously. The beaches are closed probably nine out of every 10 restaurants and cafes is closed, but they’re opening up slowly. Most of the hotels are closed. Even the five star. It tells me if they’re not there at under 5% occupancy.

Thibault:

Hmm. So it’s pretty British situation where, so basically you couldn’t be in a Villa, so you can go to the market and find food, go to a cafe and find something, but it’s not the usual usual value of course. And also something striking you told me if anyone has ever been to Bally’s that belief was region is very important, but he needs to Hindu by needs and there’s no more ceremonies. Right. The big thing for everybody is almost

Andrew:

Nonexistent anymore. Right. Almost non-existent. So they’re very limited now the ceremonies. So I think the weddings, funerals most ceremonies are being deferred. So it’s only, there’s a couple of critical things in terms of marking people’s stage in life. Like there’s a tooth cutting ceremony. I think those ones still go ahead. But they kept very small. Yeah.

Thibault:

So it’s a, so it’s a big, big change in Bali. So that’s the demand side, right? I hear civil property managers seeing the switching to longer stage, right. Longer term stays and we have people staying more weeks or months. Right. And obviously be able to stream the, this gas is going to be even more, more things because I think you’re so good at that. So you have lower rates. So that’s also what you’re seeing as well as lower, longer term stays maybe, I guess.

Andrew:

Yes. Yeah. So the stays are at least a month. We’ve got people staying at least a month up to three months at the moment. And we have people requesting for up to a year. Sorry, there’s something, because the rights are so cheap. I mean, I think the interesting thing is though, that these villas are not built for long stays. You know, the average length of the stain of Valley Bueller is 3.5 to four days. So, and generally people don’t cook. So the kitchens aren’t, you know, really well equipped because, you know, it’s, it’s balling. You can go out and get a great meal anywhere. [inaudible] So the villas are not really equipped for longterm. So, so we’ve had a lot of requests, which we’ve never had before. For instance guests have asked for a bigger fridge refrigerator. They’ve asked for yoga mats, you asked for barbecues, more cooking implements a washing machine.

Andrew:

So all of these things to make their life so they can actually live in the Villa rather than just be staying there on a, on a holiday. We haven’t been able to supply those amenities because we’re on such a tight budget that we comp Indian, they will generally go out and get and get those things themselves. So that’s, I think that’s interesting when we’re talking about like, no, this is another, we’d be switching out to talking about how you were adapted your business two days in. One of the first thing of course, has to be changing the service levels because yes, we’ll do good. Explain is it’s not a big thing. What, so there’s a very high service level for vacation rentals in Bali compared with other places. Yeah. This is David by your staff and the service level and waste staff interacts all this, you had to adapt to face the crisis.

Andrew:

Yeah. So that’s, I mean, lastly, I say this is a, around health and safety. We do have a different model here to where you would, what you would normally say in that basic, there’s a basic guest expectation, no matter how low the price of the Villa they’re staying, that they will get daily cleaning and that they will, in most fillers, they will have someone around most of the day that they can ask for anything they need. So there’s a lot of contact with the guests. And that is a big safety issue for us. Yeah. So what we’ve had to do with the monthly stays we only offer cleaning three times a week and the guests are absolutely fine with that. In fact, some of the guests, so we don’t want cleaning it all just when we need it, we’ll ask for it. But otherwise you don’t need to come in.

Andrew:

Mmm. So there’s that, which reduces the risk somewhat. But we’ve also implemented some other measures there. So we have a daily briefing. Every morning, all the staff come in and we talk about where they’re going to be working. The staff aren’t assigned to individual builders. They go from village to village cleaning. So we take temperatures with the temperature gun. Mmm. At that point we also check the symptoms. When the staff go into the Villers, they’re wearing gloves, disposable gloves and masks. And I basically a state of disinfectant procedures that we’ve put in place for Cobbett 19. Also, my, my business partner is a medical doctor. And so he gives regular briefings to the staff because he, he basically explains why you need gloves, why you need a mask, why you need to wipe off touched surfaces, et cetera. Because I think until you understand why you’re taking preventative measures, it’s very hard to stay compliant if you don’t understand why it’s easy just to say, well, I didn’t really need the mosque or didn’t really need the gloves.

Andrew:

Mmm. But I think our team has a big advantage in that sense. I think they’re the best educated cleaning came in Bali, so it’s so, so it’s a big advantage. So you’ve talked about protecting your staff, explaining why they should care, which is so very, I really like this, right. It’s like, it’s not just about do this, which is why it was important to you and you’re so adept in service level, not only cause there’s a cost of this Lee and also Dana actually sometimes as you said, it’s actually sometimes coming from the guest, right? It’s like I don’t want people to come in. So yeah. There’s things, mutations in Valley waste like to be individualized, fishy, a known term I guess multi PCs. We talked about, so a visible for multi-state low level service or adaptive level service actually is a way to reduce costs.

Andrew:

What other measures have you done for your own business to cut costs? So as you know, I mean I suppose like a lot of property management companies, we are going to be operating at a loss for potentially I think a lot longer than say the us or Europe because of the lack of domestic travelers. So we had to put together a plan where we cut expenses so that we could survive for 15 months. That’s what we’ve, what we boasted around. So the first step we had to take, because the biggest source of our cost was staff. We had initially planned to just cut staff hours and staff salaries to 50%, but when we realized how long this thing was going to last, we changed our thinking because that’s really a major you take when you can see a recovery in a month or two and you need the staff there to deal with it.

Andrew:

That’s not going to happen. So we decided to cut 50% of our stock was a very, very difficult day. Mmm. And we’re left with very dedicated and committed and motivated core group now. Mmm. And I think there’s actually a lot of optimism within the group about where we’re going, what the position we’re going to be and when the market recovers. So that was one area we looked at and that’s, that had a huge impact on our expenses. Mmm. The other thing was, because this has been declared a force measure situation by the Indonesian government, the termination payments were much less than they’d normally be. Because normally it’s very, very expensive to terminate a staff. An employee in Indonesia. The labor laws are extremely strong and you do not want to get in trouble with the labor department.

Thibault:

That’s very interesting point, right? Because people believe that because it’s Southeast Asia or Indonesia, that there’s no law. There are lows right there. Yeah, exactly. So it’s not like it’s, well, it’s never easy to find anyone. It’s always actually very painful, but it’s very powerful legal constraints in, in everywhere. And there’s

Andrew:

It probably more so here because it’s easier for people’s rights to be to be undercut. So I found the same thing I used to. I worked in Thailand as well. Thailand, also extremely strong labor laws and an extremely long, strong labor department who can destroy your business very easily. So yeah, that was, that’s certainly something we spent a lot of time researching. It’s a balance between being fair and doing what you can legally meeting a legal requirements. 

Andrew:

So then we looked at, started looking at all of our expenses. So when you’re running a Villa, there’s a lot of expenses. Some of which are paid by us and some of which are paid by the owner, whether they’re paid by us or the owner. We still want to reduce those expenses for us and for the owner. So assuming pool maintenance, we’ve cut from twice, twice a week to once a week has control twice a week to once a week. The laundry cost has gone down a lot just because we only cleaned three times a week. So we do change overs less often. Internet, we’re negotiating a 50% reduction in the cost. So we’re basically just going through with every supplier and negotiating and they don’t want to lose us as a client. We’re quite a big client of all of our suppliers and we’re finding that they’re very open to that negotiation. The other thing we’ve done is gone back to our clients. We have different contracts with different clients. I think when we first started the company, we we hadn’t quite got the formula right

Andrew:

And where we found that we were basically in an unsustainable position with a, with a contract where it was going to cost us a lot of money every month with no guests. We went back to the Iona and we just were honest with them, you know, this is the situation. It’s not sustainable for us over the period of this that this thing’s going to last. Can you work with us to come up with a contract that’s a temporary contract we can use to get through this period? And now we’re all more than happy to do that. I mean, I was overwhelmed actually. I just, the, the Goodwill was incredible.

Thibault:

So Zen gas has been able to talk with homeowners and you have tips for property managers who may also have to to talk with their homeowners or to talk about that in a new type of contract, maybe temporary or completion.

Andrew:

I think the first thing is you have to establish you have to establish a good, very transparent relationship. I think that’s very important that that trust is there. So that’s why we spend a lot of time communicating with minors, giving them updates, et cetera. The other thing is you don’t do it too early. The ironist have to appreciate the severity of the situation. Otherwise it just seems frivolous. It just seems like you’re, you know, you’re trying to grab a bit more profit, so you really have to hold off until it’s very, very obvious that you are in a really, you’re in a real crisis. So we started these discussions in about in late March, right? I think if we’d done it any earlier, we could’ve got some serious resistance. [inaudible] The other thing is it’s not just a contract renegotiate, so you have to look at the whole range of services that you’re providing for the owner, where they’re paying for. So for instance, I told you about the swimming pool, you know, reducing swimming, Oh, costs and all of the other deliver lighting costs that we’re doing for the owner. So we talk about that stuff first and then we go onto the contract.

Andrew:

So basically we put it in or we put it inside the frame of all the good things that we’re doing and then Pam have the difficult discussion about the contract terms.

Thibault:

That’s very smart because you are so highlighting MySQL your time, you’re spending to save them money. Yeah. I was also asking price. We were able even to negotiate internet subscription costs and chemicals for pools and it’s, I think it’s very detailed, but it does add up, right? His chemicals for pools are expensive and I think most [inaudible] Valley has a tool. That’s why it’s so important in this business model, so, so that’s [inaudible]

Andrew:

Both the chemicals proposed. We haven’t quite finalized that one yet. The pool maintenance, yes. I mean we don’t actually, with the pool maintenance, we didn’t want to undercut, we didn’t want to drive the cost of the supplier down. The person who did the pool maintenance because they’ve got to live as well. We just looked at how at doing it less frequently. Yeah, I answer as well because you still want to do that to beat me to be super functioning. I think you [inaudible] even for NC, the last, you sent someone three times a week check where things working. Right? So what we do with the empty villas is I mean most of the villas we’ve got quickly occupied, but where we have a Villa where we can see that it’s going to maybe sit empty for a while. Like how all the larger villas, they’re much harder to fill one bedroom villas real easy. Two bedroom Villa is a little bit harder. Four bedroom, oldest style Villa, very difficult. So we offered a kind of a lockdown package for those clients and that was part of the contract. So it’s a small monthly fee where, and then we just send someone around everyday to check the Villa. Every few days we’ll run all the hot water a check. Just, just keep the Villar in order because you know, in barley, in a tropical climate, the villas are open to the elements. [inaudible] Degrade extremely quickly as you know,

Thibault:

So look done. Packages were less so because this was a part of talking with homeowners also packaging this way. They can understand. So, so we talked about how you adapted your business to about the cost to services. The homeowners, that’s, I think all we’ve been through here are very valuable because it’s something homeowners who are the instrumentals themselves. So property managers watching this good thing. Okay. I could transfer that, I could do it myself. And so maybe on a final question is that, is is like, how did you build all this knowledge? How did you, because you said, okay, let’s create a plan for the next 15 months. I think it’s relying on your own past experiences. Right?

Andrew:

I suppose actually I want to make one more point about the, you know, the lockdown packages, et cetera. What we’re finding is now, like today I just had a conversation with someone who contacted me from New Zealand asking me what could I do for him in terms of that, because he’d heard about it from someone else. So we’re thinking of actually offering this, starting to market it. Mmm. As a lockdown package where we’re still looking for longterm clients and when we find them we can convert it to a different sort of a contract. And then ended up in at the end of this crisis with a new customer base potentially.

Thibault:

Yeah. And so if I’m not mistaken, then gas is, is like, is, is really good at getting bookings from Airbnb. Right. That’s, that’s our best channel. Yeah. And right now you’re still actually both travel and other kind of of demand coming from different ways as well. And we’re so active, maybe been able to have new villas joining in right now. It’s, it’s, it’s very aware of

Andrew:

We, we, we’ve, so we’ve also done deals with a couple of Villa complexes, one with 20 Villers, one with six fillers where basically they’re quite a conservative in the way that they price. They used to, you know, re-pricing twice a year. They’re not very flexible. They basically not responding to this at all and consequently they are empty. So I’ve gone to them directly. I know the complex is, and I’ve seen their Airbnb [inaudible] files and I can say that they’re empty. So I’ve just gone to them and approach them and we’ve w we’re now helping them. Mmm. Just through Airbnb, trying to get bookings for them. We’ve got a few bookings so far. And hopefully we can, if not, feel them, at least get them to a position where they’re covering their expenses. And again, at the end of this, I would be, I would be encouraging them to become permanent clients and guests.

Andrew:

That’s, that’s that’s fantastic. And you going back to my question again because it’s, I think this was all what’s been very interesting, I do all these interviews, property managers is how first, how we have different backgrounds, you know Yahya Adele, who’s in an interview, she’s at will change young paragliding where she’s, she’s a world champion or lighting and she just prompting [inaudible] as well. So, and she was talking like she’s trained to face fear. Yeah, that’s what she does. She’s, she says she’s not special person. I think she is. But anyway she, but she’s retrained to this fear. So she used that. You see, okay. That’s the fear. That’s hundred of that. So what, what skills or what training experience did you have to cook with these plans? Okay. That’s how it could be adapting. So I think that’s pretty good background. Basically I spent 20 years working for IBM and and most of the last seven or eight years of that was in ma in large outsource contracts with banks.

Andrew:

So we would take over the whole IOT a department, bring on all the staff into IBM and I would be the client relationship manager. So I’d be the person that the bank would come to and scream at when anything went wrong. So I had a very strong motivation to keep things very organized to keep communication. I was very strong on communication because that’s critical in a role like that. The, the, the customer must not be surprised, you know, you have to keep them from being surprised by anything. You have to always make them feel that they are in the loop and that they, they are in control of what’s going on. That was really useful. But then the last three years I became the business operations manager first in Singapore, then in Thailand. That meant that every quarter IBM releases its financial results every quarter, the last month of that quarter is chaos worse than this.

Andrew:

It’s because basically they give you these expense base targets mainly around cost reduction that you simply have to meet. There is no, there’s no way around them. So you, you sit together and you spend a week looking through every single cost that you have and working out how to reduce it. That can, partly that can be retrenchment. But it’s, I learned that you cut out as tiny little cost. You do that a hundred times and you come up with a huge cost saving. And then of course a week before that’s due, they, they raise the target and so you have to go back and start everything again. So I’m kind of used to that, that situation coming up with a plan. And then executing against that plan. And I’m really lucky with the team that I have here. Baron steps up to situations like this. Amazingly, he’s really, really good in a crisis.

Thibault:

And another person that had hired just a couple of months before, Hey, just amazed me. He just shown with when we, when we came into this situation and mainly with the help of those two were able to put this plan into everything to place and execute it. Andrew, Andrew McDonald, thanks so much for sharing all of this with the people who are watching. W in the notes in the show notes, I’ve tried to summarize most of the actions points you have, action points you have here. And also I was, I really like how we ending this. Also talking about, you know, how the staff is also helping because it’s deep on lab companies right there. So if people want to know more, want to reach out to you, how can they get a hold on you? 

Andrew:

Oh, they’re welcome to email me or WhatsApp if you include the details anytime, because I can talk about this endlessly.

Thibault:

Okay. So yeah, maybe your email address or even WhatsApp. Let’s see. Yeah. In your, in your contacts below. Yes. When’s there anyway, feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to. Happy to chat anytime. Perfect. Thanks to dots. And well thanks for the details. I think the plans and so the energy and the cow, I think that’s also very good because it’s really helping people think through this and that’s what people need right now is, is I think there was a first wave of panic and now there’s like people adapting. So that’s what we’ve been talking about today has been very, very helpful. Interesting in my side. So thanks for your time and drink.

Andrew:

It is my pleasure. Okay. Bye. Bye.

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