We had been using ScheduAll for four years before farmerswife, and before that we were using Google Calendar. Getting reports out of ScheduAlll was difficult, and it seemed crazy that there was not a cloud solution. We also found the development slow and the overall code and UI was outdated. It felt very counterintuitive to the way The Look worked, and stuck on an old version of windows. Google Calendar is fine, but it could not pull through any rates or machine usage so it was very basic and required quite a complex billing as you would have to work out what you had entered in Google Calendar and then calculate the cost to the client by hand.
We wanted a cloud solution that all the staff could access via a browser (workstation or phone), and not have to be in front of a Windows workstation in the building. ScheduAll at that time felt legacy and clunky, and we wanted to be able to produce reports straight out of the bookings system without learning Crystal Reports. It was very inflexible and despite having an experienced ScheduAll user in-house, he too had lost faith in the system being able to work the way we needed. Everything seemed to be a compromise and workaround, so we went out to the market to investigate all the options, it became clear the only company in the market that seemed to be agile, but also with the right attitude and experience was farmerswife – the rest felt very corporate and the designs outdated with cloud a pain for them to implement.
We use farmerswife to manage the time of all the key components of the business: Operators, systems, and rooms. The producers and coordinators can manage these elements to ensure a smooth running of the facility. Its imperative that all these components can be allocated for each task and that the operators at any one time can see what they are doing, and that the resources they need are available to them.
When we first adopted farmerswife it took over a year for us to start to use it to its full potential. At first, the operators were still retrospectively booking in certain non-client attended tasks, the big change has been that operators won’t do anything without a booking now, and can even reject it if the information from the producers does not have what they need to carry out the task correctly. This has meant also that the operators have a much more organised day and that if there isn’t time for a task, it is moved to either another operator or another day. This has meant people leave on time and work is properly tracked and billed – rather than via email or phone calls.
It was important to us that staff felt less stressed and that they were able to have a lunch break and go home on time. This requires their time to be managed. We live in a world where people feel ‘flexible working’ is a holy grail, but when our time isn’t managed well we can easily become reactive rather than proactive, and stressed. By utilising farmerswife properly the whole team can benefit from calmer more structured working.
We are looking at more financial reporting on the use of systems and rooms to assess the areas that make and lose money. Accounting software and their teams don’t go as granular as this, so having a report of systems that really are maxed out allows us to make the right purchasing decisions and staff hires. If an operator says we need another ‘X’ system, and we run a report and see it has been used only 30% of the time, we realize that its really not the case that we need another one, but rather the task isn’t being properly booked in with enough foresight.
The support has been the key to us expanding our use of the system, we have had excellent support from the UK and international team, and we have really bought into the way farmerswife works. Because they have been on hand to answer questions and come up with solutions it has encouraged us to use areas of the system that on the surface didn’t seem that useful. In this world, the support makes up 50% of the ongoing relationship with any system and I find few vendors realize its importance, farmerswife do.