The pricing landscape of the translation industry has dramatically shifted in the past decade. This has led to LSPs heaving to add more human resources and labor costs to process the same amount of revenue that they had in previous years.
For CQ fluency the same problem arose as labor costs doubled between 2014 and 2016. It soon turned out that change was inevitable. If CQ fluency wanted to be ahead of the competition and ensure its future growth, there had to be an organizational change.
In order to continue to hire the most talented and hard-working project managers in the industry, we knew we had to streamline how we manage projects. There was a need for us to develop and advance our technology further if we wanted to continue to be competitive with pricing and turnaround times.Elisabete Miranda
The need for implementing a new process and technology was already clear, but two questions were still open: Firstly, which technology would help to organize the change and secondly, how could this organizational change be managed and project manager convinced to embrace the new solutions?
To be competitive, CQ fluency had to free up project managers from doing administrative and repetitive tasks. This meant not only labor cost savings, but would also allow project managers to spend more time building out their customer accounts to generate new revenue.
As a consequence, CQ fluency was looking for automation to establish a more efficient workflow. After evaluating different market options, Plunet was chosen as a business and translation management solution that met the requirements perfectly. Implementing Plunet’s automation feature would allow CQ fluency to stay competitive with pricing without signification increasing production staff to handle the workload. Furthermore, the system would benefit the clients and help to advance the growth of the company.
Since Plunet has several features to aid with order automation, many companies may be tempted to roll them all out at once. But there was too much change happening at the same time and employees felt overwhelmed about juggling their many projects and finding time to set up workflows and resource groups. It was important to deploy an adequate strategy and to have a talented product owner who was able to manage the changes that were going to happen in the near and distant future.
Change management, in general, describes the process of establishing new strategies, structures, and systems in a company with the goal of transforming the company sustainably from the inside. To ensure the process of their change management, CQ fluency had to consider its employees’ potential resistance to the planned changes. Due to factors like the fear of the unknown, the need for new skills and the possibility that the system wouldn’t work, this was a point that couldn’t be ignored.
CQ fluency soon realized that a phased rollout approach would be most suitable. Taking this up, its change management should be based on five different and successive steps – in short, the ADKAR methodology:
After careful preparations, the automation initiative kicked off in the last quarter of 2016.
The automation initiative included three phases:
Price lists for customers and vendors were set up in a consistent manner to integrate with ProcessManager. In addition, the "clone a quote" function and conversion of quotes into orders were integrated into the standard workflow for project managers.
Once the team saw the immediate benefits of these activities, they began to embrace additional automation features and became ready for the changes in phase two.
In the second phase, CQ fluency focused on the vendor side of things—getting all external resources access to the system, and training them on how to retrieve and upload files and invoicing their jobs directly in Plunet. While this phase helped vendors (and accountants) tremendously, it also meant that project managers no longer had to move files along and save them to the network. This became a huge time saver—time that could be used for more productivity in phase three.
Phase three saw changes made to e-mail templates to streamline communication and the creation of order and workflow templates specific to customer accounts. Customer and resource groups were formed to make reporting more powerful. Furthermore, time-savers such as the delivery dialog were used to change the status of items and deliver projects to customers. During phase three, more and more customers were using the system to submit quotes and requests.
When the project managers started to request solutions for their unique customer accounts, more customers used the system to submit quotes and requests. This enhanced the automation as requests could flow into quotes and orders and then be delivered back to the customer seamlessly.
By the end of 2017, CQ fluency's project manager averaged 85 percent more orders per month compared to 2016, before the automation initiative kicked off.
The automated features in Plunet (such as ProcessManager, quote/order conversion, order templates, job workflows, and delivery dialog) cut project processing time by 77 percent compared to not using Plunet.
Each phase of the Plunet automation initiative resulted in more orders compared to before the initiative was launched. In detail, it turned out like this:
The company was primarily focused on the employees’ needs and the reaction to the changes rather than the changes. The employees could send out weekly improvement requests and so participate directly in the process. It became clear that small frequent changes were less disruptive than lager ones. By following this strategy, CQ fluency set milestone goals, saw continuous improvements, and gently but efficiently introduced the employees to the changed structures of the company. As a result, the employees could concentrate on proper configurations and support the company to gain maximum benefits.
CQ fluency still has plans to further automate using Plunet and has begun preparations for rolling out the final phase. The focus of this phase will be the onboarding of more customers into the platforms as well as the use of text modules for customizing the system to meet new client needs.
Plunet developers are constantly implementing new and beneficial features. We look forward to continually improving our processes and use of technology with each release of Plunet BusinessManager.Dan Milczarski