You started off on a shoestring. You had a small team, and not much cash to splash. But business has been good and you’ve been growing. Or maybe you’re a larger, well-established company still using old fashioned systems and processes – excel spreadsheet, anyone? But do you really need a translation management system? Below we’ve rounded up five signs that indicate you could really benefit from using a TMS. How many of these do you see yourself in?
1. Your staff are unhappy
From client management, through to project management, and vendor management, the traditional translation and localization workflow typically comprises rather a lot of repetitive tasks. It might be sending out mass emails, sending files to and fro, or processing invoices. Not many people enjoy doing repetitive tasks day-in, day-out. We don’t find them interesting or fulfilling, so it can be hard to stay motivated. Plus, all this can be incredibly time-consuming, meaning your project management staff in particular need to work long hours. So if your workflow includes a lot of this type of work, you may find your staff aren’t all that happy – whether they’ve voiced their concerns or not. And unhappy staff means low productivity and often, high turnover.
What’s more, in this type of workflow, you rely even more heavily on your staff than you might realize. If processes and client preferences aren’t recorded, and there isn’t an intelligent, centralized system, when staff leave, they take all that valuable knowledge with them. This makes high turnover even more costly, and training new staff even more time-consuming than you might think.
2. You’re slow to quote and deliver
Speed is of the essence when quoting on new work, and when delivering projects. If your quoting process is cumbersome for the client, you might never hear back from them. Or if you respond with a quote too late, they may have already chosen another provider. And when it comes to delivery, being late is clearly a huge no-no. It might mean the end of that working relationship. The only way to really compete is to work as efficiently as you possibly can. Do your current processes and systems allow you to do that?
3. Your vendors are unhappy
Put yourself in your vendors’ shoes. They may regularly work with dozens of companies like yours. When they have to change address, update qualifications, availability, or send in invoices, they may have to email four different teams… per company. They might have to send multiple emails to get all the information they need for a job. If you were them, would you enjoy working with a company that had systems like that? Or would you prefer to work with a company that made your life easier, giving you 24-hour access to everything you need, with seamless workflows and an intuitive translation management system they can access?
4. Your clients’ expectations aren’t being met
Of course, you want to not only meet, but actually exceed your clients’ expectations. And it’s hard to admit to areas where we fall short. But be honest with yourself, and have a good hard think – do any of these apply to you? Maybe you’ve asked your client for the same details more than once. Or you’re slow to respond to their queries. Maybe you don’t keep them as up-to-date with the status of an ongoing project as they’d like. Or perhaps they’re underwhelmed by the unprofessional look of your emails or invoices.
5. You lack oversight of your business
Is work evenly spread among your team? Which of your clients are your biggest earners? Have you seen increased demand for a particular service? How many projects quoted convert into sales? And how does this compare to the industry average? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, don’t worry, you’re not alone. A surprising number of business owners don’t have easy access to information like this. Yet, if you don’t have a handle on where your business is at, how can you take properly informed strategic decisions?
So, what’s the answer?
Well, there are actually several answers, depending on which of the five issues you’re focusing on.
To make your staff happier…
Automate those repetitive tasks. Streamline your workflow to give them more time to dedicate to more fulfilling work, like nurturing client relationships. And when team members do leave, processes and communications are centralized and documented, so handover is far easier.
To quote and deliver faster…
Automate, automate, automate. Use an online quote request form which pre-populates your quotes. Automatically calculate your quotes using CAT tool integration and vendor rate details. Have your files automatically move along each stage of your workflow, from translator to proofreader, to QA, all the way through to your client.
To make your vendors happier…
Give them the information they need, when they need it, and make processes as hassle-free as possible. (XTRF’s Vendor Portal is the one-stop-shop for them to receive and provide everything – from job details, availability, to invoicing).
To meet your clients’ expectations…
Data is where it’s at. It’s the successful business owner’s secret weapon. When you implement a comprehensive translation management system, one major advantage is greater oversight of your business. For instance, XTRF gives you access to extensive off-the-shelf reporting options, so you can better understand how your business is doing, from most requested language pairs to most profitable services, and much more. Reports are customizable as well, so the options are limitless! By gaining this insight, you’ll be better placed to make strategic decisions to grow your business.
So, what’s the answer again…
Yes, in a way there are several answers. But you could also say there’s just one. A Translation Management System. TMS offers all of the above and more. Sure, it costs money and it takes time to implement. But before you know it, you’ll be recouping those costs and that time, and then some. TMS will help your business to not just survive but thrive.