Proudly celebrating its 40th anniversary, Broll Property Group has been strengthening every facet of its business to further penetrate the sub-Saharan Africa property market; embracing an ethos of local employment and addressing current market trends to enhance its international status.
The globally reputed and leading property Group has developed from a single service property management line into a multi-disciplinary, award-winning Company that today, services the investor and occupier markets across sub-Saharan Africa.
“Reaching the 40-year milestone is of huge importance to us,” says Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Malcolm Horne. “It goes back to the old saying that life begins at 40. We’ve grown the business with a solid platform, having developed it in such a way that we are now a single point of contact across the continent for a range of property services.
“As a forward-looking business, we believe in Africa and its future despite the doom and gloom we often hear about. We are old and mature enough to have a solid foundation and strong roots on the continent, and young enough to start enjoying what we have achieved while working on our next milestones,” he adds.
SHAPING THE GROUP’S FUTURE
When South Africa became a democratic nation in 1994, Broll saw an opportunity to venture into Africa and opened its first office outside the country in Namibia in 2003. In order to secure long-term business on the continent, the Group signed an affiliation deal with CBRE the following year. Through this affiliation, Broll is able to access global market knowledge and best practice to the benefits of its clients.
To diversify its income streams, the Group added other service lines and opened offices in West Africa, starting with Nigeria in 2004, swiftly followed by Ghana in 2006. More recently, the Group looked east for its latest expansion, opening an office in Kenya in 2013, with the Mozambique office having opened this year.
By the end of this financial year, Broll is to report record client numbers and growth across the board, Horne summarises: “Our ever-widening geographies and depth of service delivery across sub-Saharan Africa has allowed the business to continue to absorb growth and expand our client base, allowing us to grow just as fast as demand.
“By the end of 2015, Broll will have offices in 12 countries; including South Africa, Namibia, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Mauritius, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and operations in more than 17 sub-Saharan African countries.
“Our next milestone is to see the business being fully internationalised, so we encourage investors to watch the space!”
In the past year, Broll Facilities Management (FM) has seen a rapid increase in its business, growing by more than 200 percent in line with the increase in clients opening offices in various countries across the continent. Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Broll FM, Rowland Gurnell puts this down to the Group’s ability to “consistently deliver excellent, award-winning service levels to clients in an environment where we learn all the time and continue to improve our service offering”.
Today, Broll FM is looking at ways to further consolidate and refine its offering across its current operations in the corporate, retail and tertiary sectors with the integration of the facilities and property management silos within the wider Group. “Our affiliation with world-leading real estate and investment advisor, CBRE has also contributed to our growth with the addition of a number of global clients,” Gurnell adds.
Working across these three key sectors and striving for continuous improvement demonstrates that Broll FM understands that each client has different needs. “This is why we integrate a client’s FM models so that they are flexible and can be customised to fit their individual needs and requirements,” he further notes.
• GOLD for Facilities Excellence in the 2015 PMR Golden Arrow Award
• BRONZE for Facilities Excellence in the 2014 PMR Golden Arrow Award
• Gold for Facilities Excellence in the 2013 PMR Golden Arrow Award
By closely working with the client and their portfolio, Broll FM is able to offer a tailor-made solution where a full FM service is not economically viable. Gurnell explains: “Whether clients are in a space of 100 square metres or 30,000 square metres, Broll FM has been a proven cost-saver; leveraging our extensive contractor database to negotiate the best rates and offer these contractors increased volumes of work as well as a platform to share resources.”
Moreover, Broll FM’s drive to further improve efficiencies and cater for the aforementioned rapid growth has led the Group to implement some of the best technologies to support its service offering; including an effective reporting tool that tracks every call made by the Company, and a supplier interface portal offering full transparency from call tracking to invoicing.
Broll FM currently operates in South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast; and in Egypt and Morocco through CBRE. “To satisfy the growing demand for facilities management, in the next few months, Broll FM will be opening offices in Congo, Gabon, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Benin, Southern Sudan and Ethiopia,” Gurnell summarises.
THE GROWTH OF BROLL’S OCCUPIER SERVICES
Writer: Jess Cleland, Head of Strategy and Consulting: Occupier Services
While many multinational corporates already have a successful track record spanning decades in Africa, many more are still in the process of developing their operations across the continent.
Africa delivers the potential for a strong and loyal consumer base from a largely under-serviced, yet rapidly urbanising population, now supported by a generally less restrictive regulatory environment.
Requirements from a real estate solution for corporate occupiers, therefore, depend on the growth phase of the individual company and vary enormously across the spectrum from an initial supporting functional role to an integrated platform for business enhancement.
Real estate services for occupiers revolve around managing the accommodation value chain from start to finish. Elements include managing property transactions, lease administration and reporting, finance and data functions, estates management and the strategic integration of real estate with business strategy.
The common cornerstone across all stages of the business cycle is the need for a fit-for-purpose real estate portfolio that provides value for money.
Across Africa, supply is evolving to meet those needs. Real estate is truly becoming a creator of change and is in fact changing the face of entire markets and cities.
Within this context, corporate real estate services are increasingly seen not only as a facilitator to business and economy, but as a potential source of competitive advantage for corporates in terms of attracting and retaining customers and employees alike.
Major themes across many occupier portfolios currently tend to revolve around improving levels of space utilisation, portfolio optimisation and structuring portfolios to unlock inherent value and ensuring flexibility – all with a driven focus on reduction of total occupancy costs and delivering financial benefits in line with business objectives.
Tailor-made occupier portfolio
Meeting this cross-section of real estate needs is achieved through strategies crafted to optimise the portfolio to manage internal and external uncertainties with enough flexibility to adapt to changes in the operating environment.
Sources of such change may include fluctuations in market supply and demand, the competitive landscape, the company’s own business model and an evolving and dynamic customer base.
The Broll delivery model of occupier services through regional hubs combined with central oversight provides on-the-ground professionals with local skills and knowhow, integrated with centralised process development and quality controls of the central team.
The ripple effect of such global service standards delivered in-country reaches across markets and industries. The entire professional market benefits from upliftment and interconnectivity, whereas such skill sets were traditionally imported, often on a short-term basis.
Global brands have an expectation of world-class service from their service partners, no matter which country of operation. Broll’s platform is based on well-proven processes and technologies using global best practice which has been tailored to the African markets.
Our clients are therefore able to benefit from leading edge occupier services, confident in the experience that Broll brings.
CUTTING EDGE SOLUTIONS
Broll Investor Services provides a comprehensive, holistic and value-add service to its clients across sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East; comprising real estate investment asset management, property management, specialised retail leasing, feasibility and sustainability analysis and assessments, and specialised research.
Standing out from the competition in sub-Saharan Africa requires the implementation of relevant business and market intelligence and the provision of a value-add service, along with strategic long-term relationships with both tenants and management partners.
Heidi Rix, Managing Director of Broll Investor Services further explains: “We do not take client partnerships for granted. The value of such relationships and our commitment to adding value as a multiple of our cost has been borne out in the growth of our managed portfolio; both by way of client portfolio growth and continued faith in our management service as well as newly acquired management clients and contracts.
“We thank our clients, staff and support services for their continued support and we look forward to many more mutually beneficial partnership years.”
Delivering the right solution
According to Rix, efficient asset management is the key to success, achieved by way of aligning the interests of the property investor, the tenants and the manager; utilising a blended recipe of skill, experience, knowledge, relationships and proactive operational efficiency including establishing proper checks and balances in the property operation process, and integrating the latest technology into internal processes. In order to achieve this, Broll utilises its market-leading Broll online management system, a fully integrated property and financial management system offering valuable business intelligence analytics and assessment capabilities.
“Delivering value-add is about constantly asking the ‘why’ while successfully implementing the ‘how’ via the development of a strategic plan to reach the client’s objectives in the most efficient way possible,” says Rix.
She concludes: “Ultimately, effective asset and property management is about identifying and finding synergy between the client’s objectives and what the market, the property and the tenant’s can deliver in terms of meeting those objectives. Broll strives to move from diagnostic analytics – ‘what happened?’ – to prescriptive analytics – ‘how can we make it happen?’ – and recognises that real estate is not static and therefore our management approach needs to remain proactive and dynamic in the face of opportunity in Africa.”
LEADING PROPERTY EXCELLENCE
Established in 2002, the Broll Property Academy was the first of its kind in Africa to provide property-related courses aimed at upskilling employees. Supported and accredited by the SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority), with training provided in conjunction with the University of Pretoria, Broll Property Academy has many useful facets that can be tailored to suit the business.
“The Academy has a Recognition of Prior Learning; it takes staff with years of experience (and those without experience) and through a structured process, benchmarks that on-the-job practical knowledge against formal learning standards, in this way, recognising the knowledge and skills gained through informal training,” comments Horne.
With a varying level of education felt across the continent, Broll Property Group holds training close to its heart, with local employees and black economic empowerment (BEE) initiatives deemed the most valuable assets as the key to delivering outstanding relevant services. “We see training as the tool that creates knowledgeable and multiskilled staff who can work in teams or independently without constant supervision.
“Moreover, this also improves employee performance and confidence, helping the Group maintain its strong position in the industry,” he further highlights.
Training, regardless of an individual’s level, is dependent on the needs of the service line and career development of individuals.
Broll Academy’s all-encompassing course range includes; Introduction to Property Management, Certificate in Lease Negotiation, Introduction to Facilities Management and Advanced Facilities Management. Additional ad-hoc courses, such as legal practices in the workplace, personal assistant training, the Occupational Health & Safety Act, as well as a variety of computer related and business writing courses are also in place to address other core competencies.
“The Academy remains the best investment we have and this will continue to be the case. Some of our employees have even been promoted as a result of training and we see this as a real value-add to our business,” the CEO explains.
He concludes: “As we continue to strive for excellence, and, being the leading real estate services company servicing the needs of the investor and occupier markets, we will unveil a new concept where we will choose pockets of excellence on service lines to further unlock employee potential and performance benchmarked against international standards. Through our affiliation with renowned international real estate firm, CBRE, we pride ourselves on having international knowledge, which helps us service the needs of our clients.”
FULLY INTERNATIONALISED STATUS
With all the right components in place to succeed across property management, Broll Property Group is utilising its vast industry knowledge to identify exactly where to expand, and where to consolidate in an admirable and efficient strategy that will see the Group maintain its leading position on the continent.
Aligning with the Group’s focus on education, Broll is to continue investing in its people and scout for passionate and dedicated new talent that can shape its long-term future as it targets the opening of new offices in Botswana and Zimbabwe. Moreover, Horne is set to announce a platform to grow new business entrants in the property sector as service providers; an initiative which will be piloted in South Africa before being rolled out into sub-Saharan Africa.
He details: “In light of the recent success of the occupier services and specialised retail offering service lines, we will continue to look at ways of expanding our service lines when the opportunities arise. Our IT platform, Broll Online, must remain robust, so we plan to invest heavily in refining this and many other internal processes.”
Horne concludes: “In 2016, Broll is aiming to achieve fully internationalised status, with our clients spreading word of our services and locales across the continent; clients are our best sales people.
“We are extremely proud of our 40-year history and track record. If we can deepen this track record and add even better value to our clients’ businesses going forward, then we are on the right track to achieve great things in the next 40 years.”