It's not long before most agencies and consultancies outgrow post-it notes and whiteboards as their traffic management system and start to cry out for a resource scheduler. But many still maintain a ‘make-do-and-mend’ approach, using ad-hoc systems, spreadsheets or a siloed system they’ve developed themselves.
These can prove to be labour-intensive, requiring constant manual updates across multiple systems. They also leave more room for error, as not everything is visible in the same system. In agencies, where billable resource provides the income, these issues soon become crucial.
So perhaps it’s time to look at more efficient scheduling software to manage your agency or consultancy's resource and ensure everyone is scheduled to capacity?
What Synergist can do for agency traffic managers
What the rest of the team can see
There are multiple benefits to having your schedule integrated with your wider company intelligence and reporting. Time is at the heart of any project-based business such as agencies, and your schedule is where you dictate how that time is used.
Integrating the schedule with wider company intelligence means you gain live visibility of projects that are likely to over-run, over-servicing or equally, when a project could finish early. All this is reflected in the wider project reporting and ultimately in company reporting.
As well as the project clarity you’ll gain, there are numerous practical, time-saving benefits too:
Estimates - once an estimate has been approved, work can be scheduled directly from the estimate. Significantly reducing the amount of administrative work required.
Timesheets - with Synergist’s scheduling software, timesheets can be created from the schedule in just one click. Saving everyone time on admin and leaving no excuses for incomplete timesheets.
This also provides yet another indicator when work is taking longer than it should, as you can clearly see time scheduled against time logged.
Work requisitions – work can be scheduled directly from the work requisition request.
Synergist makes it easy to move jobs around to accommodate project changes. And in busy, multi-project environments like agencies, things do change. Dependencies can slip causing other work to be delayed, approvals can take longer than planned or alternatively work can be approved quicker than expected and tasks can be completed sooner than the hours scheduled.
Synergist’s drag-and-drop visual schedule allows traffic managers to work flexibly with these changes. The schedule design, including colour-coding make it easy to see where gaps are appearing, so the traffic manager can plug these gaps asap. Similarly, where the schedule is over-loaded, the traffic manager can accurately assess when external resource is required.
If it’s a long-term issue that freelancers and other external resources are needed in the same area, then it’s a solid indication of where recruitment is needed.
Schedule views can be filtered to show whole agency, team and individual availability. So as well as giving at-a-glance information on when an individual or department are over-loaded, the Synergist schedule and capacity management tools allow you to see where resource is under-utalised. This gives traffic managers and project managers the opportunity to pull jobs forward and fill gaps.
And all team members can see what’s next for them in the schedule, so if they complete a task early, they can jump on the next one immediately. The added benefit of project documents and work requitions being uploaded straight into the scheduled task means everyone has the tools they need to get started with little or no briefing. So even if the project manager or traffic manager are unavailable, there’s no reason not to move onto the next piece of chargeable work.
In the long-term, having a view on future capacity will help inform new business functions of the type of work to chase in order to constantly maximise capacity.