How many times have you experienced the following scenario; everything is relatively quiet for a few weeks, but you hear rumblings that there are some big projects coming down the pipe....  Client Service keeps asking the clients when, what, how long, etc. but get nothing or just vague answers in return. Then the floodgates open and suddenly you have 5 kick-offs in the next 3 days.  Chaos ensues. Teams get double or triple booked on the tsunami of work coming in, and every client wants their project to have highest priority. No excuses. After all, you're the ad agency and you should be able to infinitely flex to accommodate whatever crazy workload the clients throw at you, right?
 
When it rains, it pours.
 
3759730196_20e60d767b_b.jpgThese circumstances pose a high risk for the agency because assignments overlap, resources are strained to the breaking point, and confusion can easily set in. These are the times when the right resource allocation tool can make the difference between a busy, productive and positive atmosphere within the agency or a pissed-off, tantrum-filled anger fest that degrades the quality of the work, destroys any work/life balance and can cause people to leave the agency.
 
Trying to manage these situations with tools built for other purposes (like Excel) can pose real problems and put the agency at risk for missed deliverables and employee revolt. The good news is that resource allocation is a fundamental part of most ERP systems and when used correctly, can ensure that employees don't get overbooked. When paired with a strong timesheet system (especially one oriented toward employee-centric input so that employees actually enter their time on a frequent basis), the resource allocation system can recalibrate assignments to balance the workload within the agency.
 
"That's one of the biggest challenges with using disparate systems to run an agency" says Ellen Coulter, President of Advantage Software. "Everything is fluid inside an agency and workloads change all the time. The project that was scoped for 20 hours winds up taking 50 and if the timesheet system isn't connected to the resource allocation system, you're going to end up with employees working crazy long hours and high attrition as a result."
 
Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 7.19.17 PM.pngAdvantage's Availability Analysis makes resource allocation about as easy as it can get. The colorful interface is customizable for every agency's particular time expectations and enables you to see at a glance who has bandwidth and who doesn't. Since it's integrated with the timesheet system, employees can protect themselves from being overbooked by staying current on their timesheets. Yes, that's almost a Project Manager's dream, but by giving employees the ability to record their time by simply speaking to their phone (via the RecordTime app), Advantage gives you the best chance of realizing that dream scenario.
 
A 2017 study by Future Workplace and Kronos found that improving employee retention was a top priority for 87% of employers that year and 15% of organizations with 2,500 or more employees blame burnout for over 50% of their annual turnover.
 
"Onboarding new employees is almost always more expensive than retaining the ones you have." says Brent Shedd, CEO of a technology startup and former ad agency executive.  "No matter how well you vet your candidates, you're always rolling the dice with new people. There are so many factors that can go wrong (like company culture, team dynamics, etc.). When you've got good, proven talent already in the agency, it's worth making every effort to keep them; even when that means putting their needs before your own. When employees are leaving due to burnout, it's a team failure and that team is comprised of Project Management, Finance and Agency Management. "
 
If you're lacking the right tools to manage your resource allocation, don't wait for the tsunami of work to get them in place. Systems take time to install, time to train on and time to understand - regardless of how intuitive they may be.  As Alan Lakein once said; "Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail".
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Schedule a free demo of Advantage's AQUA ERP software and see how the Availability Analysis can help you manage workloads of any size. It's quick, it's easy and it's all online.
 
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