Poor resource management in agencies

Poor resource management (and what you can do to fix it)

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Does your agency struggle with resource management? Does it have a proper view of its capacity to plan proactively? Do you find that it is using freelancers when the work could have been done internally?

If so, then you’re in the right place.

Implications of poor resource management

Poor resource management (or traffic management) has several implications, both in terms of costs and in terms of the efficiency of a business. Poorly managed resources can lead to problems, including:

Increased Costs

An obvious example of this is the unnecessary use of freelancers. It is a common complaint of agencies that don’t have visibility of their capacity and resource allocations so they end up contracting a freelancer when they could have allocated the work to an internal resource. This has the double impact of increasing the project cost and the employee’s idle time.

Poorly managed human resources also lead to increased costs, as businesses may need to recruit and train new employees more frequently than necessary. That’s to replace those who have left because of the frustration of working in a chaotic environment resulting from poor management.

Reduced Efficiency

Inefficient resource management can also lead to decreased efficiency and productivity. For example, if resources are not managed properly, work is delayed because of missed steps or the lack of availability of a key team member at a crucial point of the project. Or worse, that member of staff must work 12 hours to get the project delivered to the client’s deadline.

If human resources are not managed effectively, agencies find it difficult to allocate the right staff to the tasks that need to be completed.

Missed deadlines

Effective resource management means that everyone knows what they need to do and when. The project manager and the traffic manager have full visibility of the status of each of the tasks on a real-time basis. They can proactively course-correct if things are slipping and keep the client informed. Conversely, none of this happens when resources are not managed properly.

Poor client work

Without effective resource management, work is rushed, or the employees are working long hours to compensate. The creative industry is a people industry so tired, overworked, and overwhelmed people do not produce their best work.

Resource Management Best Practice

Poor resource management in ad agencies

The good news is there are some best practices that agencies can follow to ensure that their resources are managed effectively. These include:

Policies and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

The argument that creatives need to be free to be creative has been discussed at length so it’s time that your agency has a SOP for traffic management. This will explain the planning and allocation of resources to client work and will depend on the characteristics of each agency. For example:

  • Are resources allocated by the PM or the traffic manager
  • Does the agency resource pitches and quotes
  • Is there a flow/hierarchy for resource approval
  • Is there an approval flow for contracting freelancers
  • How often is this reviewed

And so on.

This procedure should be communicated to the agency and included in staff training, so everyone knows what is expected of them. 

The right tools

You guessed it! You need proper resource management software to effectively manage resources. And Excel does not count. At a minimum, you need a tool that gives you:

  • The ability to allocate resources to tasks based on their profiles, skills, availability
  • A real-time view of the availability of resources to avoid them being double-booked or overbooked
  • Visibility of upcoming projects so that you can plan capacity accordingly
  • Full visibility of what every resource is working on and when they expect to complete the tasks. This includes an overview of absence so that the traffic manager can plan around it.
  • A user-friendly interface for the team to see what projects/tasks that they should be working on per day.

Other than that, there are also some features that you should also look for. For example:

  • Built-in timesheet tracking so that users can register hours as they are working on the tasks.
  • Built-in collaboration so that users can speak to colleagues in relation to their work
  • Approval hierarchies that allow resource allocations to be approved by the traffic manager if required.
  • The ability to include the client in reviewing and collaborating on tasks.
  • The ability to allocate generic resources on quotes which show the availability of the team members without allocating specific resources

If you’re looking for a tool with all these features and more then contact us.

Planning, monitoring and regularly reviewing

Effective resource management starts with planning. You should identify the resources that you need and plan how these will be used. This will help to ensure that resources are used in the most efficient way possible.

Once resources have been allocated, it is important to monitor/review them, and most agencies do this in a weekly meeting. If your agency is doing this daily, then it probably means that you don’t have the right tools in place

By following these best practices, your agency can ensure that your resources are managed effectively and efficiently. This will help to reduce costs, increase productivity, deliver better work, and have a happier and healthier team, while also reducing the risks associated with business operations.

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