Double Robotics Productivity – The New Ways to Improve Your Productivity
Covid-19 is a game-changer for many industries and companies. For 3E Accounting, Covid-19 represents the validation of our company-wide practice of empowering all our employees to work from home where necessary. Prior to Covid-19, we championed work-life balance for working mothers who work from home by embracing technology such as Double Robotics to liaise with colleagues and clients. During Covid-19, this had the additional function of supporting our Safe Management Officer (SMO) in ensuring safe distancing at work.
We purchased Double Robotics in April 2016 for $5,000 from a local vendor after witnessing the productivity gain from an Australian accounting firm. We realized that face to face meetings are essential for full and complete communication as facial expressions conveyed a more complete story than just voice or words. This motivated us to open a physical office in Novena so that we can get the work done in 1 round instead of multiple reworks due to miscommunication.
Before Covid-19, our workforce spends 30% of their time working from home. After Covid-19, we managed to transit 100% of our workforce to work from home seamlessly. All our employees have been used to working from home and all our systems have been primed for our workforce of 45 to work from home.
Simple Setup for Perfect Sense in Flexi Work Arrangement
Our founder, Lawrence Chai, demonstrated the use of Double Robotics to the current Manpower Minister Mrs Josephine Teo for better work arrangements on 28 November 2016 (Senior Minister of State for Transport back then). She acknowledged that “3E Accounting demonstrates why flexi-time, flexi-load and flexi-place arrangements make perfect sense” on her Facebook post on the following day. We are grateful for her prompt and strong endorsement.
In terms of implementation, the cost of $5,000 is not likely to be the major issue for most established SMEs. What is more important is workplace safety. Over the past 4 years of using Double Robotics, we had zero incidents of workplace injury. The Double Robotics can be controlled remotely by the end-user. Its rubberised surface minimized the impact of any physical collusion.
We had a smooth installation experience. As the programme was entirely cloud-based, the installation took less than half an hour. The vendor linked the robot with our office’s internet network, tested the connection using the mobile app. There was no need to download and instal any software onto our laptops. It was quite a simple learning process to control the robot by pressing the button forward, backwards, up and down for eye-level video and to install the software.
We took less than 5 minutes to teach new staff on the usage of the robot. We understand that robots conjure images of complexity in most people’s mind. This is no longer the case today. This robot is even more simple to control than the smart television in our homes. On hindsight, this was the best hardware investment we had made to date.
Productivity Benefits From Improved Communications
For the past 10 years, our clients have consistently listed ‘Delay related losses due to miscommunication” as among the top 3 reasons for them to switch over to us. This reflects the reality that while accounting standards are relatively easy to grasp, each business has a unique complexity to it. Therefore, the real edge of any accounting practice lies in the ability of the accounting team to understand each business thoroughly as they prepare their financial statements.
Our sweet spot lies in businesses with turnover of between $10 to $100 million annually. They had willingly accepted an average of 33% premium for our services over the market rate because they know that the lost opportunities, missed deadlines and extra internal management work far outweighs the premium paid. This is especially true for new clients where even 1 initial misunderstanding of their business can lead to hours of rework down the road.
In Asian culture, trust needs to be built over time and body language conveys far deeper meaning than words. The use of double robotics allowed us to have clearer communication even when our staff were not physically present in our office for key client meetings. We made it our practice to gently nudge our clients to express themselves whenever we sense any unspoken words through our observation of body language.
Double robotics have a distinct advantage over the static laptop camera because it allows us to adjust our position, latitude and angle when lighting, shadow or objects block our view of the subject. This has served us well over the past 4 years.
During this period, we saved over 20,000 man-hours and could submit the final accounts 2 weeks earlier than before. We increased our revenue by 175% but with corresponding increase of only 85% in our labour cost by as a result of our better work processes and significantly lesser rework. We improved our customer retention rate by 90% and our customer satisfaction rating by 50% over the past 4 years.
Our satisfied clients refer an average of 4 prospects per year with a satisfactory 30% conversion rate. Not only has it allowed us to grow our revenue steadily over the past 4 years, it had also sharply reduced our customer acquisition cost.
For Your Productivity
We hope that this article had been useful to you in looking at new ways to improve your productivity. We are not endorsing any brands of robotics and have not received compensation for writing this blog piece. Our motivation is to share our experience to help our clients who are struggling for ways to improve their productivity and adapt in this challenging period.
3E Accounting is always looking to improve our technology offerings to improve our productivity. Therefore, we have setup a dedicated R&D department to experiment and implement new productivity tools for our office. We will keep you updated when we discover any worthy productivity tool.