When the UK’s leading independent travel agency renewed its time and attendance software it embarked on a journey to an unexpected destination.
Trailfinders was prompted to review its staffing and work processes during the implementation of the Open Options system from Crown Workforce Management.
It spearheaded an organisational change project which resulted in a centralisation of support services and self-service input from staff that led to more time for its 32 branch managers to focus on core business.
As a result, in the three years that the system has been in place, the business has seen sales growth of 10 per cent, year on year.
Russell McHardy, Trailfinders Operations Director, said that Open Options had brought about a step change which fuelled real business improvement.
“It forced us to address the bigger picture and has undoubtedly contributed to our ongoing success. We have been able to reinvigorate our managers and allowed them to focus on sales generation instead of staffing arrangements,” he explained.
The company chose Crown because it was competitively priced and the modular system offered greater scope to apply different functionality on a staggered roll-out.
“The early meetings went very well. The relationship we have had from the very start has always been an easy and co-operative one which has worked very well for us,” added Mr McHardy.
Once the decision was made, there was a speedy implementation of the software and internal processes.
Mr McHardy said that Trailfinders pioneering owner gave it his endorsement: “If he thinks it’s a good idea the decision gets made and you are expected to deliver it quickly. There was no nonsense. The testing was done in a matter of months and the roll-out three or four months after that. It was a hard and fast process,” he said.
The introduction of Crown’s Open Options system also provided greater flexibility for its 1100 employees. A standardised approach to rostering was introduced but with the opportunity for staff to swap their predictive days to accommodate leave and travel – a key part of their development as expert advisors.
Said David Bacon, Sales Director for Crown Workforce Management Systems: “We see Open Options as more than just a tool to undertake a series of tasks. It provides business management solutions. The implementation process often raises a lot of questions as the system needs to mirror the structure of the workforce and its working practice.
“This allows senior managers to take a step back and consider whether the right arrangements are in place to allow the business work to its optimum.”
Trailfinders was established in 1970 by former SAS man Mike Gooley. His adventures led him to consider opportunities for others to travel to more exciting destinations and ‘off the beaten track’ locations. In operating overland tours to Kathmandu and further afield in a Bedford bus, he discovered the greatest opportunity came from negotiating discounted return airfares. It was a move which led to the start of discounted air travel in the UK.