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How To Avoid The Cost Of Inefficiency
Thu 24th May 2012
One company that had been suffering with top down operational inefficiency is Do Design - a successful print and communications company. The company have a good client base and are often recommended by word of mouth. They have even invested a considerable amount of capital on a new print plant, offering clients services including specialised finishings and unique folding.
However, as revenue flowed into the company, it also looked as if Do Design were in danger of losing customer loyalty. There had been a few hiccoughs as the team tried to keep up with the pace of workflow. Double booking client meetings was a common occurrence; repeat orders were frequently lost in the system; and cash flow had been blocked due to slow, outdated software. To put things plainly, the company was about to be known as Don't Design. Do Design made an across the board decision to become a smarter business - and invested in Microsoft Office 2010.
Previously, Do Design would try to organise meetings using an antiquated manual booking system. Rooms would often be double booked, or resources (such as conference call facilities) were not allocated to the correct meeting room. This was particularly embarrassing when clients arrived in the office for a round the table session only to be rerouted to the local café - cosy, but what kind of impression did that give?
Now, thanks to Outlook 2010, meetings and resources can be booked while any calendar clashes are flagged up immediately. Calendars shared by email arrive in the recipient's Inbox as email message attachments, with a Calendar Snapshot in the message body. Users can edit the Calendar Snapshot before sending. For example, fonts can be changed and it's possible to highlight days or appointments.
Do Design know that the best way to increase profits is to drive sales. Traditionally, the organisation would allocate a budget for advertising and marketing. But the sales department had to sell more products than before, recover associated advertising and marketing costs. Do Design needed a sure-fire way of winning pitches and generate meetings to convert to real sales.
Using PowerPoint 2010 to deliver impactful presentations has helped with internal and external pitches. The advanced editing tools including exciting new audio and visual capabilities give an almost cinematic feel to a presentation that's easy to create and powerful to watch. Picture editing features include versatile artistic effects and advanced correction, colour, and cropping tools. And a huge bonus for the Do Design sales and marketing team is the opportunity to use video in their PowerPoint presentations. It's easy to embed and edit video from within PowerPoint adding fades, formatting effects, and bookmarking scenes. The embedded videos become part of a PowerPoint presentation, so there's no need to worry about additional files when sharing a slide show.
Departments can now automate key Excel 2010 spreadsheets to reduce reporting turnaround, and link these spreadsheets into a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. This has helped Do Design smooth out any glitches when preparing for client meetings; and this is something that is being reflected in high-quality communications.
Marketing and customer service teams at Do Design can now share their data via Microsoft Access. Previously job cards, tracking sheets and delivery notes were saved and stored in an Access database - and that's where they remained. Departments at Do Design are divided according to expertise such as IT, graphics, finance and marketing, so the company needed to examine how they track and audit their day to day activities across all the departments.
The finance department, for example, used different software to input information from each department's individual time sheets. If any of the design team required to find a key contact or to track an order, they had to physically move to a designated PC to log onto another system. Now, marketing and customer service teams can share their data via Microsoft Access.
This is a common constraint within many organisations: Often, data is stored in Access, but it needs to be moved or copied into Excel. For example, a report generated in Access might need to be seen by a group of users who prefer to view it in Excel. Or there may be a need to analyse Access data by taking advantage of the analysis features of Excel. In such situations, the contents of an Access database can be exported easily into an Excel worksheet. Now, Do Design apply data that has been extracted from Microsoft Access into Excel for greater analysis and management reporting.
Well-maintained and well-managed Excel spreadsheets can cut costs at department and organisation level. Excel 2010 delivers powerful new features and tools to help pinpoint patterns or trends that can lead to more informed decisions.
Analysing large data sets, for example gives greater leverage to existing IT applications. Excel allows a visual summary of data using tiny charts that fit within a cell alongside text data with new Sparklines. Large amounts of information can be filtered using new Slicer functionality, and there's the flexibility to enhance PivotTables and PivotChart visual analysis. New analysis and visualisation tools are a must for keeping track and highlighting important data trends: patterns or trends can lead to more informed decisions.
Businesses that use Microsoft Office are constantly reporting the potential opportunities to leverage their existing IT applications, which, in turn, have resulted in key efficiency gains. Do Design turned from being an inefficient operation and source of frustration for both clients and suppliers, to a company providing one of the best print services in the industry and, though customer loyalty, enjoying an ever-growing client base.
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