Flight Centre is a leading full-service offline and online travel agency throughout Canada with more than 220 travel agencies and over 1,000 employees. Flight Centre is a subsidiary of Flight Centre Limited, a publicly-traded company on the Australian Stock Exchange, which operates over 29 retail, corporate and wholesale brands internationally.
A large part of Flight Centre’s growth and success as one of the most popular employers in Canada is the company’s entrepreneurial spirit and culture of continuous innovation. With a business structure that allows each company in Flight Centre Ltd. to operate independently, more than 170 small business units throughout the network are handling their own business centers which include marketing, administrative services and accounting. This independence has fueled the company’s expansion throughout Canada, enabling its ability to provide differentiated and comprehensive travel services to customers in-person, on the phone or online.
In 2010, Flight Centre Financial Controller Paul Ramm recognized its manual tracking and reporting process for absence management could no longer satisfy the company’s growing needs. Their process involved more than 170 business units tracking their respective employees’ vacation and sick time manually on spreadsheets with no uniform process or consistent reporting format. The tracking was labor-intensive, cumbersome and prone to error, resulting in inaccurate data and an inability to compare the time off data with payroll records, which were centralized within Flight Centre Ltd.
“As the company continued to expand and our workforce grew, we knew the current method for time off tracking was not sustainable,” said Ramm. “Our managers were spending too much time chasing employees and because we did not have a better tracking system in place, time off hours were often submitted after the fact, making the data unreliable.”
Ramm initially considered using an add-on module from their payroll provider, but after testing he found the product did not adequately meet their workflow demands. A colleague in another department recommended Replicon, and Ramm liked Replicon’s SaaS model, scalability and multiple access options available through the cloud. Quick implementation and ease-of-use were additional bonuses for a multi-location operation. Ramm also liked the reporting features and ability for online approval for managers.
“With Replicon TimeOff, we experienced a significant reduction in processing time, an increase in the quality of work and improvements in financial deadlines,” said Ramm. “Reporting was reduced from four days to only two days, saving about 80 hours of accountant time every month across the finance division. An added benefit to faster reporting was that we gained the ability for accurate forecasting, enabling better business decision making.”
With so much reduction in administrative and reporting time, Ramm’s team could now use those hours for activities that offered higher business value such as visiting agencies in the field for audits and freeing up staff resources to work on other projects. Flight Centre has also been able to maintain its original accounting headcount for the past three to four years, maximizing workforce productivity in the process.
"Reporting was reduced, saving about 80 hours of accountant time every month. We gained the ability for accurate forecasting, enabling better business decision making."
Flight Centre now has a streamlined, efficient process for tracking employee time off in a scalable and easily accessible format that enables managers to submit and approve time off anytime, anywhere. Time off data is now entered in advance, ensuring more accurate information and enhanced capacity planning. Less time entering time and a streamlined process have returned valuable hours to managers and the accounting team to focus on other value-add activities.
With more accurate data, business managers have more confidence in the system and accountants have more trust in the reliability of the numbers. Replicon’s easy-to-use interface makes entering time a snap and the reporting features allow managers to submit data in a consistent and reliable format.
Moving Flight Centre’s employee time off tracking from reactive to proactive with forecasting abilities has transformed business operations. Management now has advance visibility into workforce capacity planning, which empowers them to make better, data-driven business decisions.