By Jay Rainaldi, Yardi Systems Inc.
Over the past decade — not to mention the past few COVID-19-riddled months — efficient port management has increasingly become an art in and of itself. Whether it be for management of property, facilities or construction projects, tenant services, accounting and payment processing, budgeting and forecasting or even to gain energy efficiencies, the many tasks related to port management have multiplied as the maritime world moves toward digitization, industry growth, environmental sustainability and increasing government regulations. The APP recently discussed the topic of port management with Jay Rainaldi, Director, Government Solutions, Yardi Systems, to gain insights into the many factors affecting efficient operations and how solutions, such as the Yardi Ports Suite, can provide much needed assistance.
APP: Jay, first, thanks for helping the Association investigate ways to assist Port Members on best practices. Could we start by identifying the trends you’ve seen in port management over the past 10 or 20 years, including how technological advances have impacted on port staff and how has port management changed?
JR: Increasing globalization, world trade and financial constraints have created a number of changes in port management in the last several years. Ports have been forced to modify their infrastructure to allow for larger ships and containers. Additionally, ports are doing everything they can to create use for older tracts of land within the port footprints that are no longer being used for their original purposes. The maritime space is required to do more, faster, and for less. In an effort to stem this tide, software providers like Yardi are developing strategic software solutions to manage ports in a central database that handles the higher management and communication demands currently facing ports around the world.
APP: Looking at the overall management of a port, what areas are most prone to inefficiencies?
JR: Ports need better ways to manage billing and tracking of shipments and real estate. Increasing demands to modify port infrastructure are resulting in new, complex billing of fees and tariffs. Ports need automated ways to bill a variety of fees in many different intervals (ad hoc, hourly, daily, monthly lease). This becomes particularly important as financial demands require higher volumes and complexity of work to be done with fewer workers.
Higher demand among ports has also increased competition and drives port management to be as efficient as possible. It is more important than ever that ports have highly sophisticated automated systems with which to manage finance, cargo and human resources.
APP: How does Yardi help?
JR: Automation is the single best way to capture these increasing demands. Yardi is in the unique position of being able to offer a suite of software that can manage the key areas of a port. In addition to being able to manage the leasing, billing and real estate management of a port, Yardi is uniquely positioned to manage financial tracking, fee management and financial and container history. We are even able to manage materials and personnel necessary to maintain the port facilities or costing out new construction projects around the port.
APP: Could you provide some background on Yardi — for example, the history behind the company, and your biggest strength?
JR: Yardi Systems has been offering automated solutions for real estate providers for nearly four decades. Our strength is in our ability to be nimble enough to adapt to changing market trends while still flexible enough to provide innovative solutions to evolving industries across both the public and private sector.
APP: Jay, thanks again. This has been very enlightening. For the benefit of our readers, I’m providing an overview of some of the products within the Ports Suite and encourage those who would like to learn more to visit your website (www.yardi.com). I should also note that the Suite is also relevant for those of our members who have airports under their purview as well.
- Property Management & Accounting — Automatically tracks leases and processes receivables using an integrated database.
- Tenant Services — Improves tenant experiences through secure portals for online payments, retail sales reporting, concierge services, maintenance requests, property and tenant documents, announcements and more.
- Payment Processing — Provides an efficient, automated payment processing platform, including a complete solution for accounts receivable and accounts payable for commercial property management.
- Energy — Manages costs, consumption and efficiency to be able to gain better control over energy expenses (whether it be a single building or entire portfolio). Yardi’s Energy Automation platform also continuously monitors and automatically adjusts key setpoints in BMS/BAS systems to maximize energy savings.
- Procure to Pay —A full suite of software products develop to support every step of the procure-to-pay workflow.
- Facilities Management — Provides an efficient way to manage all preventative, routine and emergency tasks for all properties as well as reporting that can be analyzed to create even greater efficiencies.
- Construction Management — Supports all phases of construction projects from pre-development to close-out while providing complete financial oversight with real-time cost tracking, commitments, and budget comparisons.
- Budgeting and forecasting — Continuously measures finances to deliver quick, accurate budgets, custom forecasts and valuations from a single, connected platform.
- Document Management — centralized content management that leverages SharePoint and Microsoft Cloud with regular data syncs for security changes and record updates.
With over 30 years of property management and software implementation experience, Jay Rainaldi is the Professional Services Director for government business at Yardi Systems, Inc. and oversees the implementation, support and client acquisition in the government space. He has served on a number of boards and committees in the residential, military, single-family and government arenas during his career and has been a speaker and moderator at numerous industry conferences and events, including a presentation on real estate management in the port industry for the Association of Pacific Ports at the 2019 Winter Conference.