JJ FoxGrosvenor Systems

Case studies

JJ Fox International Limited is a Jersey-based holding company with property, trading and retail investments in both the Channel Islands and the UK. It’s a 5th generation privately owned family business and the parent company of the Fox Group.

The business was purchased in 1968 by Freddie Fox who expanded its tobacco importing and distribution operations into Guernsey in 1974. Over the years the trading activities in the Channel Islands expanded beyond tobacco, and the company established a successful property arm and assumed ownership of the family’s London retail business specialising in premium cigars.

The Fox Group now operates three subsidiaries, Fox International Property Holdings, JJ Fox Trading Limited and JJ Fox St James’s Limited.

“Some systems were too simplistic and unable to do what we needed, some were too complex and too expensive to justify against our requirements. Propman offered the right balance between functionality, ease of use and affordability."

Jan Harris, Accountant

Challenge

As the Group’s property activities expanded, it recognised the need for a specialised property management software package which would help the property team to manage Group assets more efficiently, as well as providing an accounting platform for some of their non-property companies.

Solution

The JJ Fox team reviewed a number of property management systems and weighed up the cost of high functionality over financial investment, as Jan Harris explains:

“Some systems were too simplistic and unable to do what we needed, some were too complex and too expensive to justify against our requirements. Propman offered the right balance between functionality, ease of use and affordability.

Equally important to our decision was the professionalism and empathy exhibited by the team at Grosvenor Systems, felt to be key ingredients for a good long-term working relationship.”

JJ Fox implemented Propman and have been impressed with its level of functionality and new level of efficiency that it’s brought their business.

“Some of the greatest benefits have been the productivity gained from the time saved, these include:

  1. Tenant demands – previously produced using spreadsheets, these are now done at the push of a few buttons and tenant arrears are chased much more effectively than before
  2. Automated invoice routine – allows invoices to be sent to tenants via email, significantly reducing the time and effort previously spent
  3. Diary system – this has eliminated the worry of remembering when rent reviews fall due or when a lease is about to expire and providing useful reminders to ensure that deadlines are never missed
  4. Automated payments routine – prior to Propman all suppliers were paid by cheque. This has now been replaced by an automated payments routine which allows supplier payments to be processed quickly and easily via BACS
  5. Bank reconciliations – previously labour-intensive and done slowly on spreadsheets, these are now completed via Propman with minimal effort
  6. User-defined reports – these allow the extraction of information (sometimes vast amounts) easily and in a clear and transparent format. The reports are automatically sent to Excel and can be tailored to our exact needs, suiting any particular requirement”

Propman has provided the team at JJ Fox with a level of flexibility that their previous way of working couldn’t.

“Propman is so flexible, we’ve been able to adapt its functionality for use across the whole organisation. A good example of this is our internal IT recharging process between Group Companies. In previous years we tried to do our IT recharging using spreadsheets, but the cross-charging costs caused a huge amount of confusion across the Group. This year, we used the Propman Service Charging functionality instead, which allowed each Group Company to see the exact details of all costs, and created new transparency in a previously difficult process.

Propman has been an excellent system that has provided an ideal solution to the Fox Group’s needs. Looking back on the objectives we had when we initially chose Propman, we have been consistently pleased with the results. The system has lived up to our expectations and the team at Grosvenor Systems have become friends as well as business partners. We received first class training and support from the Grosvenor team and as a result, this project has been a resounding success.”

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