Excel Production Manager
Excel Photographers is one of the region’s largest and most innovative full-service provider of school portraits and yearbook production. The company, which began in the home of owner Marty Brown 39 years ago, grew from 59-218 schools in the last 15 years.
As the company grew, IT issues became more frequent. They hired a family friend to keep IT costs low, but he didn’t have the level of expertise they really needed. His service resulted in “Frankensteined” fixes with no sense of urgency. The company continued having frequent connectivity issues, an unsecured network and employees who were constantly battling over bandwidth.
Excel Photographers employs a lot of seasonal workers. Setting up and getting devices running for these employees was taking too much time, which meant a loss of productivity.
The Excel team was always behind schedule. Sorting drives to find files were the norm. They were always so far behind that employees were unable to take time off for holidays and office morale sunk to an all-time low.
The company was losing clients because of emails they never received due to whitelisted domains. But it was in 2017 when their server crashed and they couldn’t provide 6TB of data to clients that they realized they could no longer afford to keep doing business like this. If they wanted to take their business to the next level, they had to make technology changes.
Adept Solutions conducted a Discovery, which included a system analysis. They also reviewed business processes in search of more efficient options.
A new server with highspeed SSD drives and four NICs was installed and the building was rewired. In no time at all, Excel employees had a streamlined system for uploading and accessing files instantly, instead of taking hours like it used to.
Adept also added WIFI to the office, including a guest network, to keep their network secured. Employees were able to continue working, regardless of their location in the building. Recent email migration to Office 365 contributed to their improved productivity as well. Employees could work on the go with their phones.
Transformed Office Productivity. “Photographers used to sit for hours waiting for their photos to upload. Since Adept has taken over our IT, we no longer spend days searching for something we might have. Now we can look back instantly and access everything with just a click of a button,” said Mychalene Black, Production Manager.
The staff is no longer slowed down and troubled by their IT issues. Staying ahead of schedule allows them to have normal holiday breaks. The stress levels are lower, which is a priceless result for them. To prepare for incoming seasonal employees, Black used to spend four months getting things ready. In their first season with Adept Solutions, the process only took one month. And time wasn’t the only thing they saved; it was also the first season they went into stress-free.
Impact on the Bottom Line. Excel Photographers can now distribute customer orders three weeks earlier than previously, reducing their delivery time by 50%. The upload time for photographers has been reduced by 120%. Their mail-order sales have increased by 3% and internet sales increased by 24%. With less downtime and staying on schedule, they can create new opportunities for sales that would have been impossible in the past.
With the boost in productivity, Excel now hires two fewer seasonal employees, resulting in a savings of $20,000. Their seasonal work ends three weeks earlier than previously, resulting in a total savings of $32,800.
Mychalene explains, “We’re no longer paying for people to sit around and do nothing. Our cost of business might have gone up, but our profits did too. Our bottom line is higher than what it was, even with the added expense of hiring an IT firm.”
FREE TO FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS. What was once a burden on their business, technology has become a non-issue because of the fast response times and actual resolutions Adept Solutions offers. Since passing off the IT duties, Black is free to do her actual job as production manager. For Black and her team, this also means not having to work overtime. She is able to be more attentive to her roles with billing, where she caught multiple errors that would have cost them more if they had just slipped by like in the past.
In addition, Excel can resume giving back to the community. “We are not just a school portrait company. Now, we are constantly considering new technology for parents and school staff so kids can be taken care of and their memories are preserved.”
From the overwhelmingly positive experience with Adept Solutions, Excel is ready to explore innovative technology to help their business grow and increase customer satisfaction.
“If you’re having problems and working with someone who isn’t providing the support you need, even if they’re a friend, make the switch. At the end of the day this is a business and if they’re not helping, they’re hindering. Find people who help you move forward while being your partner in your business. With Adept Solutions you’ll get all of that and more," said Black.
To learn more about Excel Photographers, go to their website: https://www.excelphotographers.com/