Among the programmes it produces for the ITV network are its live daytime shows Good Morning Britain, Lorraine, This Morning, and Loose Women, which boast millions of viewers across the UK and have been the recipients of many an award. As a result, ITV Studios employs a wide variety of people working behind the scenes to make sure that everything comes together at “action,” and that these live shows go off without a hitch.
Rostering complexity overwhelms manual processes
Live television knows no downtime – a diverse staff is needed across different departments at all hours of the day, and the process of scheduling, tracking, rostering, and keeping employees updated, informed, and paid on time is time-consuming with little room for error. Still, with no consolidated system between departments, the operations team had to work extremely hard to ensure no errors.
Picture the scene: the first live show starts at 6 AM each day, with people coming and going at different times, and the entire production’s success relies in part on some fairly complex roster patterns. ITV Studios employs a mix of staff, from studio employees, editorial staff, post-production, operations, and a variety of regular or one-time contract workers. Not only do all these people need to be scheduled accurately (often across multiple teams), but they also need to be kept updated frequently on their schedules and potential changes.“Rostering was a constant headache for our teams, as our previous manual scheduling process opened us up to accidental double-bookings, missed shifts, and a general lack of scheduling clarity for employees,” says Emma Shannon, Operations Manager.
Before turning to Replicon, this rostering and time tracking process was handled manually, with schedulers inputting and collating data in collaborative Google and Excel spreadsheets, and then ultimately converting these into thousands of individual payment requests before handing them off to Payroll. Not only was this tedious and time-consuming, but it created a significant amount of effort to ensure that people were not booked for multiple shifts at once, or the wrong shifts. Employees had access to schedules but they were difficult to interpret, and schedulers found it difficult to allocate everyone efficiently and accurately.
Gaining accuracy, efficiency, and insight
ITV Studios turned to Replicon for a cost-efficient system that was agile enough to accommodate the diversity of their employees’ various classifications, track their complex rostering patterns for scheduling and leave management, and – critically – was able to automate their formerly-manual processes of collating all this information in real-time.
“At a certain point, it was obvious that our manual processes were just not serving us well, and we knew it was time to commit to a more automated, accurate solution,” says Lynn Robertson, Senior Operations Manager.
“This change has been like night and day for us – with Replicon, the formerly one-day weekly cost reporting process has reduced to a half day, and our 2-3 day monthly payroll request process now takes about a day.”
Thanks to the flexibility of the system, they can now make quick modifications to team structures and schedules with little administrative headache. With access to accurate, consolidated information, ITV Studios admins can do quick cost reporting on a weekly basis (enabling them to closely monitor cost/spend and payroll from an audit perspective), as well sick leave reporting, and various other data analysis.
“We’ve had some difficulty in the past getting hold of holistic information around our schedules and associated processes in a timely manner,” says David Baksh, Principal Business Analyst. “But with the Replicon system encompassing virtually all our staff across all four shows, we’ve been able to run both accurate cost analyses and a wide variety of audits on how, when and where the production team’s time is spent.”
“Payroll is pretty much bang on now,” says Emma Shannon, Operations Manager, “We’ve seen a dramatic reduction in the amount of payments from the previous payroll being processed and paid in the current period.
With Replicon’s solutions, ITV Studios’ employees on these shows are now empowered with the ability to self-serve, in that they have full access to their schedule, time off, and annual leave information,
and don’t have to constantly seek out schedulers to glean the basic facts about their schedule.
Consequently, the team feels far better informed, and they’ve seen a significant drop in the number of queries to the operations teams about individuals’ schedules. “Part of what drew us to Replicon was the accessibility of their solution,” says Nick Haworth, Head of Technology. “It gives our teams secure access to their schedules wherever they are and on any device, including mobile. With a cloud
solution, ITV Studios gets an out-of-the-box system that’s fully supported so we don’t have to worry about it becoming obsolete.
Because Replicon’s mobile capabilities allow ITV Studios workers to book leave from anywhere at any time, they’ve been able to significantly reduce scheduling disruptions. Access to time off and annual leave requests has also helped streamline the scheduling process, as schedulers and managers can now proactively see who on their team has requested leave, and schedule workers around these absences.
"Part of what drew us to Replicon was the accessibility of their solution. It gives our teams secure access to their schedules wherever they are and on any device, including mobile."