Automation to serve small business growth
Automation is often the key to growth. When you are a small business, you cannot count on an infinite resource base to support you in your operations. Doing more with less is often necessary. Many SMEs are often faced with the same problem: they are too small to make enormous investments to solve their problems automatically, but too big to be able to afford to only proceed case by case. It is therefore important to know how to make the most of your time and that of your employees so that you save it for the actions that are really important for your business. Here is how one Canadian family business, L’Envol des langues (LDL), succeeded in improving their everyday operations by reducing the use of paper and streamlining their accounting and operational processes.
LDL : a good example of a growing small business that suffered from operational inefficiency
L’Envol des langues has been providing language courses in corporate settings for a number of years. Since growth is synonymous with change and larger-scale operations, the company had to make some adjustments to streamline their processes. Two departments were particularly inefficient due to the excessive handling of paper: Accounting and Operations.
In the Operations Department, all processes were performed manually:
- sending emails to each participant confirming registrations and the place, date and time of the courses;
- reminder and follow-up emails to the teachers;
- evaluation emails.
This required a lot of manual emails and many opportunities for errors, particularly in copy-paste actions. Moreover, depending on who sent the emails, the information was not always found in the same place, creating confusion.
In the Accounting Department, approximately 540 attendance logs had to be processed per month. They were managed by the teachers and then physically taken to head office, or returned by fax. They were then processed by hand, tediously sorted by company and alphabetized. An additional person was necessary 3 days a month for filing.
The process caused human errors and lost document, with the following consequences:
- billing delays;
- cash inflow delays;
- often tedious follow-up of files.
A total of 5 persons participated in the billing process, which was occurred around the 15th day of each month, by the time each file was processed.
Automation was the solution!
This meant automating the most time-consuming and error-prone processes, and also improving both internal operations and customer service.
Emails are now generated automatically with all the necessary information.
Everything is done in one click, without copy-paste errors, and consistency in communications is assured. In addition, thanks to better follow-up, customer service has greatly improved.
Billing, which is now handled by 2 people, is done on the 5th of the month, and no longer on the 15th, thus improving cash flow. Files are sorted and archived automatically and an index file is automatically created to facilitate any search for information that may be necessary.
LDL has also managed to reduce the amount of paper it uses by 70%!
Guillaume Lagacé, Director of Sales and Operations, provides a good summary of this project’s success: “The trainers can now concentrate on their work: providing training.”
What could make them happier than finally being able to carry out their actual mission and stop wasting time with paperwork?
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