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“We did it for a better practice and better client service, and we’ve achieved both.”

29 May 2011

Todrick Taylor is the sole partner at Taylor Associates. He was often the bottleneck when it came to completing work – so turnaround times weren’t great. Todrick found that the key to improving things was a tool that would empower his staff to step up and take on more responsibility.

Around six years ago it became clear to Todrick that the practice needed to try a new workflow management system.

"We were using spreadsheets and updating them manually. It was time-consuming, and wasn't updated very often. The result was that the system didn't work at all. We had no idea when things would be completed or what was coming, and a big bubble in the middle of the year when we were stretched over capacity. Our turnaround times were nowhere near good enough and we knew we had to fix them."

One of the tools that promised to help manage turnaround times was Workflow Manager. Todrick decided to give it a try.

"I particularly liked the look of the traffic light system, which shows you a red light wherever there's an issue. It helped us identify the areas we needed to fix pretty quickly! Workflow Manager tracks the jobs in the pipeline, and also gives us a view of what's about to come in. It tells us whether we're on-track or off-track. It helps us plan our staffing for this year and the next. Overall, it paints a visual picture of our workflow, which is a fantastic benefit."

The control provided by Workflow Manager has empowered Todrick's staff to step up and take on more responsibilities.

"The team feels more organised, and much more in control. They have more client contact, and if a client calls they have a progress report from Workflow Manager right there at their fingertips. I'm no longer the bottleneck, which is a great result."

Todrick points out that Workflow Manager is a catalyst for behavioural change, which takes place over time. "We've had to change our work habits, which is great, but it doesn't happen overnight. Our turnaround time has decreased by 30 percent, and we're working on getting it even lower. We're learning to manage the practice better. The behaviour of our clients is changing too – rat-bag clients get chased a lot sooner now, because we know when their work is coming up!"

“Workflow Manager has been a great investment for our practice. We implemented it for a better practice and better client service, and we’ve achieved both. I would recommend it to other practices, so long as they were committed to putting the time and discipline in to make it effective. You need to put that effort in to make it work – but if you do, there’s no doubt that it will be a success.”

Results

  • Turnaround time reduced by 30 percent, and still falling
  • Work in progress reduced by 25 percent – $110k down to $60k
  • Write-offs reduced from 22 percent to 8 percent
  • Cash flow much improved as WIP drops
  • Profit significantly increased
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