How ArmstrongB2B® marketing agency improved utilisation with Synergist

ArmstrongB2B had grown quickly from 20 to 50 people. But what worked when they were a small team didn’t work as they grew. Processes became less effective and issues arose with scheduling and production. Find out how Synergist helped improve utilisation and productivity across the company.

Who are ArmstrongB2B? Award-winning B2B marketing agency specialising in industrial and manufacturing brands. ‘Helping businesses communicate the technical things that they do well effectively and inspire the audiences of today’.

Agency type: B2B marketing agency

Services: ideation, conception, strategy, positioning, and the creation of marketing assets in the form of CGI, animation, photography, video, design, copy and digital.

Size: 50+ employees

Location: Chester

Who is Susy Combie? Production manager at ArmstrongB2B with a strong background in multidisciplinary production teams, facilitating large volumes of projects end-to-end.

“Synergist provides us visibility and control on resource scheduling and job allocation, and we’ve improved our utilisation and productivity across the company, which in turn has improved our on-time delivery of client work, effectively reducing and meeting deadlines far more consistently.”

The problem

Growth challenges: controlled chaos

ArmstrongB2B had grown quickly from 20 to 50 people. Processes that were in place previously became less effective and issues arose with scheduling and production. Susy, along with her colleague Billy Bebb in his role as Finance and Production Co-ordinator, also discovered that junior staff were often underutilised, and more experienced people were overbooked, and the imbalance was having a hugely negative impact on the team.

“What worked when we were a small team didn’t work as we grew.”

“Our utilisation needed improving, as we weren’t using our production team as effectively as we do now. We needed better management and control. Processes that would work for everyone to make sure projects were delivered on time, on budget and as efficiently as possible, to the benefit of ArmstrongB2B and our clients.”

“We’d already been using Synergist so we knew we could use the system to evolve alongside us. Synergist lets you add on functionality to suit your needs, which was perfect for us as we could tailor it to make our processes smoother and smarter.”

“We needed an overall view of priorities, which Synergist could offer us.”

The solution

Improving utilisation and productivity

Susy worked with Agency Works consultants to define a more controlled process for estimating, booking and managing workflows.

“They helped us set up work requests (requisitions). This gives us end-to-end visibility of every job and control of calendar bookings, so work is booked with more intelligence, based on priority, and time is booked based on accurate estimates.

“Plus, we can look for opportunities to upskill more junior staff, by shadowing on jobs or partially taking on projects.”

“Our workflows are much more streamlined now, with all information and estimates checked ahead of briefing, so we can start jobs quickly and work more efficiently.”

“We’ve created job templates and checklists in Synergist to make sure all the required info is added to a job request before it’s booked, resulting in briefs that are far more consistent. The job info is super quick to find. All the emails and docs are held in the job requisition, not in people’s heads. All jobs in the schedule are real and ready, with no one waiting for briefing.”

“Our communication is more efficient, too. Client Services no longer need to check if work's being done, as the team use the Synergist feedback feature to give real-time updates and can add updates and files to the booking.”

“We did lots of training to support our teams as we evolved the way we used Synergist. In particular, we focused on the importance of getting the estimate accurate ahead of resourcing which in turn gifted us more resource and higher utilisation rates.”

“Improved estimating and time sheeting processes also means we get better reporting. We can see estimated vs. actual time against each skill set, which will help to improve our future estimating.”

“Timesheeting is a big area of focus. We’ve worked with our production team to show them how to use Synergist to accurately and swiftly log time.”

The return on investment

“We’ve improved the utilisation of our creative team and we’re still improving!"

"Our schedules now have the correct time allocated and work is ready to start when our teams are booked in.”

“We spend more time upfront, increasing the focus on the structure of the job, and that means less time is wasted across the entire agency throughout the delivery.”

"Now, Synergist gives us control and clarity, and we’ve improved our utilisation and productivity across the company.”

Synergist essentially improves all your processes. We’ve seen improved productivity and quoting, team development, job reporting, briefing... all aspects of the business have benefited.

Susy Combie, Production Manager, ArmstrongB2B

It’s working for them... could it work for you?

Whatever your agency looks like – 10 to 500 people, design to digital –
Synergist can be shaped to the way you work.

See it for yourself.

Synergist consultants, Agency Works, will be in touch to arrange your bespoke demo. Their experience working with hundreds of agencies means they can help you work out what's right for you.