Three agency Operational Heads share the power of at-a-glance visibility

 |  By: Kate Jones In: Visibility

If asked right now, do you think someone in your business knows exactly where each job is up to? Which jobs have been most profitable, which are in danger of running over and which are already in the red? Would they know immediately off the top of their head or would they look into it and get back to you later? Perhaps later that day, that week, or never if they simply didn’t have access to the information.

Maybe you look at this annually, quarterly, monthly or simply when a job is finished. Perhaps, it depends on when your next board meeting is. But if a job is failing a month is a long time to wait to find out and wouldn’t it be nice to have the problem solved before the board meeting?

You sell a service, so profit is based on how much time you’ve used in comparison to how close you are to finishing the job. If you don’t know how many hours you’ve used, then you don’t know what you’ve sold only what someone has paid.   

We caught up with three leading figures whose day-to-day job it is to make sure their agency operations run smoothly. We discovered how they’ve organized operations in their agency so they can see exactly where jobs and clients are up to at a glance. So if they don’t know off the top of their head, they’ll have a report to you in five minutes…

Ian Fiddler, Head of Business Operations, Enjoy Digital

Enjoy Digital is a Leeds-based digital marketing agency, their clients include Goodfella’s, Costcutter, Randstad and Leeds College of Art. With 44 full-time members of staff, they’ve doubled in size over the last two years and have ambitious plans for future growth.

We caught up with Ian about how he successfully manages a busy studio within a growing agency. Ensuring maximum profitability and client success.  Two years ago, Ian implemented Synergist, Ian discusses what gaining visibility of up-to-date job and client information has done for Enjoy Digital.

“Everyone can access Synergist which means I can see what everyone is logging. This has been fundamental in getting visibility on where jobs are at profitability-wise as all the information we need is in one place. I can easily see time spent on a job vs what has been estimated, as well as what people are working on and how long it’s taking.

Synergist’s dashboard feature can see what was forecasted and what’s actually been invoiced to date. So at any point throughout the month we can see straight away what stage a job or opportunity is at. The dashboard speeds up the process and enables us to react more quickly.

If our Client Services director sees that a forecast isn’t right, he now knows where to look to find out why. Is it that people get the estimates wrong? He knows how to update it to shift it along to where it needs to be."

Ian is not only ensuring that data is up-to-date by baking Synergist into the agency culture, but he is diligent at using past data to inform future work.

When it comes to future estimating we now go back and look at previous jobs, assessing both estimates and actuals. This is invaluable when it comes to providing clients with quotes. This has helped enormously with costing of jobs.

Our growth has happened quickly so it’s great that we can forecast on a client and new business side. We can also put a direct split on this and see which is stronger.

I can report on job profitability to the board based on these job types and specific clients. So they know which area of the business is most profitable. For the last two years, the figures coming out of Synergist are as accurate as our accounts. There are many decisions the board can now make as they have the information in front of them. We never used to have that.”

Deep Sangar, Production Manager, Clevercherry

Award-winning, Birmingham-based Clevercherry pride themselves on ‘creating the unexpected’, they do this through their clever and creative team. Boasting clients including National Wedding Show, Bristan Go, Millbank and Yolo Food Company.

We caught up with Production Manager, Deep Sangar to get his thoughts on the importance of visibility. Before we spoke to Deep, his Managing Director, Nigel Wilson, commented “clients are more frugal today, savvier. Their budgets have been tightened their money has to go further. So you have to respond. It’s never been more important to be able to deliver efficiently.”

Something that Deep has taken to heart and considered when planning and organizing his studio. Deep shares how important Synergist and the visibility gleaned through the system is to Clevercherry.

“Synergist pulls everything together, jobs, estimating, scheduling, purchase orders, quotations. It tells me immediately about the state of every job, the requisitions and the time remaining, the time quoted, everything. It flags up a problem early on.

At the end of every day, I generate a report that shows all the key information, which I use to email the account managers with updates, slippages etc. At a quick glance, I can see everything. It makes it easier than ever for me to work with the account managers and work out what we need to do to keep on track. “

Deep also shared the impact having this information has had on the studio

“The studio had benefited greatly. It’s removed a lot of admin from them. It’s cleaned everything up. Made it slick. No more post-it notes flying around, no more physical timesheets. We wouldn’t go back to all that now. The system makes their lives easier.”

Ben Griffiths, Operations Manager, Excentra

Excentra is a b2b marketing partner. They create long-term partnerships with their clients, basing their advice on in-depth research. Their mission is to help every business realise its full potential. And it’s working. They’re enjoying clients including Horizon Platforms, Yusen Logistics, and C3.

Ben discussed how Synergist has become crucial in helping him organize operations at Excentra.

“Our business is time- based. We sell time and expertise. It’s resourcing and understanding where people should spend their time based on priorities.  

We map out the resource to understand what we can deliver and when we can deliver it. Synergist helps address these issues by putting everything in place so we can see exactly where our resource can be attributed. We can all view KPIs and analytics on jobs so it also helps us better support our clients by estimating jobs more efficiently.“

Ben also discussed how he took time to work with Synergist’s implementation partner, The Agency Works, to make sure Excentra knew exactly what they could get from Synergist to really make the most of it.

I hope this article has given you some food for thought. Perhaps, at-a-glance visibility is moving further up your list of agency goals.  

If you would like to hear more about how Synergist can help, then drop us a note. Or why not sign up to one of our short webinars, delivered by our implementation partners, The Agency Works to find out how Synergist works and the visibility it can bring to your agency.