Established 20 years ago and with 100 awards to their credit, Blue Chip deliver promotional marketing to brands such as Kellogg’s, O2, Nando’s, 3M and McCain.
Blue Chip Marketing originally used an administrative system that incorporated both manual processes and spreadsheets. However, over the past 10 years, the company quadrupled in size and, as it grew, so did the amount of paperwork.
Every year a huge number of handwritten job bags were generated. Adding up the figures on these proved time-consuming and had the potential for errors. Cash flow prediction wasn’t easy either because real figures were only available from job bags at the point of closure. Separate spreadsheets were created to capture “live” figures.
Recognising the need for a more efficient, computer-based system, Blue Chip Marketing reviewed the marketplace, looking at a number of marketing-based options – including Synergist from Express Systems / The Agency Works. Company Accountant, Lorraine Lee, found that Synergist had immediate appeal.
“We found it was quite a logical system – it was easier to understand than some of the other systems we looked at whilst still offering detailed analysis in the areas we required.” They were impressed with The Agency Works / Express Systems too. “Steve [The Agency Works partner] knew the system inside out and could answer all the questions we asked. He was very user friendly, not over-promising but always realistic about what the system was able to deliver.”
The Agency Works / Express Systems took care of the installation of Synergist and the training, and Blue Chip Marketing found both to be of a high standard.
Trainer Louise impressed Lorraine Lee by getting a very quick grasp of what they wanted out of the systems and tweaking it to suit their needs. “We…had the same person every time. I liked that continuity,” said Lorraine, who has also found the Synergist helpline to be very useful.
Synergist now plays an important role in the company’s administrative systems. “In terms of job bag administration, the efficiency has improved a lot,” said Lorraine.
Client work by Blue Chip
“Purchase order raising is a very good feature of Synergist – and invoice production – I love that too,” she said. “Sometimes invoice numbers were duplicated on the manual system, whereas with Synergist you can’t do that, so that’s cut out a whole area of worry.”
With Synergist, Blue Chip Marketing can get a snapshot of open jobs at any time. It’s also helped with looking at costs on a job. “If someone asked me how much time we’d spent on a particular job, it could have taken up to half an hour on the old system, whereas now, I can pull up a report in around five minutes,” said Lorraine.
She also likes that fact that there’s a lot of information at your fingertips which wasn’t there before, and finds the billing plan very useful because it highlights if any invoices haven’t been raised.
“Purchase orders are now more routinely sent out and our terms and conditions are automatically added to pdf versions of purchase orders. This has tightened up on managing cash flow,” added Lorraine.
The system has impressed the Company Accountant. “From an administration point of view, Synergist is brilliant,” said Lorraine.
From a team efficiency perspective, Synergist has transformed the lives of the account handlers in Blue Chip. MD Nicky Thompson commented that “year-end job bag closing used to take up to 2 months of Account Handlers time to complete and, at its peak, disrupt the smooth flowing of the office. With Synergist, we can’t even tell it is happening. Last year was done and dusted within 2 weeks – amazing!”
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