When you’re developing a new approach to a process, the parallel to building in the physical world is perfectly clear. In both cases, you need to have a plan. You need to have suitable raw materials, which you put in the hands of capable and experienced people. And you need to build on firm foundations.
It’s an analogy that is especially well suited to a certain client of ours. This Fortune 500 company operates in engineering, architecture, and related areas. It’s a global business, responsible for some of the world’s most iconic buildings.
Keeping track of time
In 2017 we worked with our client on a digital tool to track and optimize workflow in invoicing. The benefits that accrued were considerable – cash flow improved by several million dollars, and there was much greater process transparency. As a result, we were asked to turn our attention to HR administration issues.
Timesheets were a particular problem. Contract workers had to submit their hours, receive a Labor Correction & Transfer Form (LCT) from our client, and then print, sign, and scan it before sending it to their own contract manager for approval. The manager then had to reprint it, countersign it, and send it back to our client. The whole process was taking over four days.
To complicate matters even further, there were different forms for different work scenarios, and any mistake in completing the form – entering a wrong project code, for instance – created a lengthy new paper trail.
ESOAR in action
As with any building project, our client needed a plan. We worked closely with the team to examine, codify, and then re-engineer the entire process using our ESOAR methodology. It was a plan that was indeed built on firm foundations.
Our ESOAR methodology helped us identify opportunities to eliminate tasks up front, and to standardize and optimize process steps. It also indicated the potential use of technology to automate and robotize tasks within the process. Indeed, around 80% of the entire function is now automated, with information being fed directly into the ERP system: only the exceptions (which are now much less common) require human intervention.
The working team we established eliminated the need to print and provide a signature on the LCT, ensuring no manual and paper-based tasks were required.
Good news for everyone
The result of our ESOAR assessment was the development of iLabor – a user-friendly, digital platform that enables contract workers to report their working hours accurately in one simple workflow, and to make any changes or corrections to their timesheets quickly and effectively.
The multiple forms have been standardized and replaced by a single, online form that accommodates all scenarios and all necessary approvals, substantially improving efficiency. We also designed iLabor to provide different menus, in line with each user’s access rights and his or her role in the application.
Recording and tracking time-sheet corrections online enables our client to bill and collect revenue from its own customers faster, eliminating the main cause for untimely payments to contractors.
By leveraging our ESOAR methodology to develop and implement the iLabor platform, Capgemini has delivered a range of tangible business outcomes, including:
- A reduction in end-to-end processing time from four to two days
- A 70% reduction in processing time per request
- A total of 723 hours saved in the process across the organization
- A significant reduction in the amount of paper used through elimination of printing and scanning
- Anytime and anywhere accessibility through smart phone
- Significant cost savings.
The results have been both welcome and substantial for everyone involved. They are the result of good planning, great teamwork, and the judicious application of skill – which is of course exactly the approach to which any client in the construction and architecture industry is accustomed.
Dennis Kaushik helps client drive cost efficiencies via robotic process automation, process improvements, and resource/location optimization.