Wrike Maximizes Efficiency and Ensures Accuracy for World‑Renowned Events Company
Goodwood is an English estate like no other. It has hosted a spectacular range of sporting activities including horse racing, motor racing, golf, flying, and shooting. The estate attracts over half a million visitors each year to its events: The Festival of Speed, The Goodwood Revival, and the Glorious Goodwood Horseracing event.
To support the numerous moving parts of their large-scale events, the Goodwood team needed to establish a single source of truth.
The Goodwood Group’s activities and events might be varied, but the company has one goal: to provide undisputed luxury service to every person who interacts with their brand. Quality of service is important because the organization’s events continue to get bigger each year. Today, teams all across the company use Wrike.
But things used to be pretty different. Prior to the implementation of Wrike, Goodwood used spreadsheets to manage schedules and requests, and paper to-do lists to manage tasks. Email served as the primary tool for collaboration and communication.
The team had no processes to manage ad hoc tasks and so when unplanned projects arose, they had to scramble to ensure everything was completed to the highest standard. This meant that information was dispersed across locations, which made planning and execution difficult. For example, the team would sometimes work off different versions of plans for an event. And when it came to execution, this lack of alignment could be catastrophic. If a contractor had been working off an outdated plan, it could lead to economic consequences, and it would also mean the team had to scramble to ensure the facilities were ready on time.
The team realized that if they were going to scale and grow, they needed to establish a single source of truth. “We had no central place to keep our debrief comments, decide what we're going to do next, or keep our build schedule up to date and working well,” Celene Curry, from the company’s event operations team, recalls. The way the team was working made it difficult to prioritize projects and they sometimes felt they were drowning in work.
When it came to their design processes, they felt they weren’t able to manage the intake of work effectively and that they needed to streamline their often arduous approval process. The team agreed that they felt frustrated with their system and decided they needed to fix it.
Goodwood made a strategic decision: they would deploy a cloud-based platform rather than an on-premises solution. The company knew that the cloud would mean they could be innovative with their marketing strategies. They also knew that they could quickly deploy these innovations across devices and departments, particularly when staff were onsite.
"Everything is just so much slicker, there's more structure and a defined process, so everyone is on the same page. Being able to collaborate with people across the organisation is fantastic."
Wrike's ability to provide transparency streamlines their decision process and ensures accuracy.
The Goodwood Group started using Wrike in 2015. Initially, only the events operations team used the software but other departments quickly followed suit. “Once we started using it on-event, it all suddenly clicked and everyone realized how useful it was. The following event we just copied all the information across, and we had all the debrief comments in one place,” Curry recalls.
The design team found Wrike particularly useful, “It was really easy to transfer everything that we were already working on into Wrike. Then we just had a clean slate right from this day onwards,” says designer Lara Wilson.
Indeed, Wrike has become so central to how they work that the team has a new rule of thumb: “It's in Wrike, or it doesn’t exist.”
Less time spent in email
Prior to implementing Wrike, the team used email as their main channel of communication. This led to information being siloed from those who needed it and they often wasted time searching through email chains to ensure they had the correct information.“I used to probably send around 60 emails a day. I send 5 to 10 emails a day now. So I very rarely look at my email because it's all stored in Wrike. That's a huge positive,” Wilson says.
Teams at Goodwood use the workflow feature to prioritize their work. For example, the events team uses a workflow to manage work done by onsite maintenance crews who are responsible for ad hoc jobs that arise during the construction at event sites. They also use a workflow to manage debrief after an event. These feedback sessions allow team members to brainstorm ideas for future events or to recommend new ways of approaching ongoing events. Some of these recommendations have been easy to implement but some require Goodwood to take on more staff, or to increase budgets. The team has created a workflow to add transparency to this process; they use statuses with titles like “Financial Implication” or “Decision Required.” They bounce the task back to event managers once a decision's been reached. “It’s been really useful because then everyone knows whether it's going to happen or not. And then there's statuses such as ‘Not Possible’ if there's not enough money, which is really helpful,” Curry adds.
Transparency across departments
“Previously, there was always a bit of a disconnect. There was never much communication about where we were with a task,” Curry explains Wrike means teams can see the status of a project at any time and so they don’t have to wait for confirmation to move forward with their work. “We’re in different locations, so Wrike really facilitates that cross-departmental collaboration,” Wilson adds. The solution also lends transparency to the allocation of resources throughout the company. The design team uses Wrike to log their time against jobs and projects. “It's not billable. We don't charge each department but it's a way to keep track of what resources we're giving to each department," Wilson explains.
Event feedback from their debriefs are also now more constructive, Curry says. “It doesn't help team morale when you just get a lot of debrief comments that are kind of negative with no support. Whereas now, we've changed it. It's on Wrike, and we actually tag the comment owner. It's more solution-based because there’s a bit more accountability now. It’s more like, 'right, the traffic was awful but maybe you could do this instead.'"
Streamlined processes for strategic partners
Wrike allows Goodwood to better manage their relationships with external partners. The team uses request forms so their contractors can request passes to gain access to events. It also acts as a security measure because it means that the correct number of passes are being given out.
“It makes everything a lot simpler," says Curry, “We send them out a link and then we can approve on Wrike.” The team even uses it for sponsor requests. Under their old system, if a sponsor had a request regarding electricity or plumbing, it could easily get lost. “It's definitely streamlined that process a lot.”
Improved planning led to economic savings
“Wrike means that all those little issues that we usually find out once they've become a problem on-site, we can plan for,” Curry says. The increased controls and visibility that Wrike provides means that potentially expensive mistakes are highlighted and ironed-out ahead of time. “We're saving money, in terms of the build, because we’re foreseeing any problems before we even get there. Whereas to solve it on-event, it takes man-hours and coordinating different suppliers coming in at different times. We've definitely saved ourselves money there, as well as time and effort,” she adds.
More focused and effective use of time
The sheer number of events and activities both offered and organized by the Goodwood Group means the team has to move fast. But now that they use Wrike, it means they spend less time on administrative tasks and more on doing what they love. “We can now make sure that we get all the information we need to be able to start a design brief because of the required fields, so information isn't missing,” Wilson says.
Using dashboards means the team can manage and clearly monitor their tasks. “I used to operate three different notebooks with all my to-do lists for each event. I think everyone in the office benefits from dashboards,” Curry says.
“In terms of the approval process, our man-hours are definitely more productive because we're not spending time going backwards and forwards on emails trying to draw out the correct information. It saves probably about three or four emails a day just trying to find out what that one task is,” Wilson adds.
Facilitates career development
The visibility Wrike provides has meant that more junior team members can run their own projects, while their managers relax knowing that they can check the status of their work at any time. “It means that there's a bit more of a development option for our planners. They can go in, own a project, run it like a manager, but there's a way to easily keep track of them, so it's been a really helpful development tool,” Curry elaborates.
"By using the request forms, our man-hours are more productive because we're not spending time going backwards, searching emails trying to draw out the correct information."
Request forms are now central to how the organization runs. The design department uses a tailored request form for its creative briefs, for example. Whereas the event operations team uses request forms to manage everything from event feedback to maintenance requests and event sponsor requests. The team can add sponsors as collaborators (at no extra cost) and then the sponsors can submit additional requirements such as electricity or audiovisual needs.
Proofing & approvals tool
The proofing feature is used across the organization for everything from new menus to festival tickets and large-scale structure designs. “It’s essential for us in design: it saves trees, and it's easier. Everything is there, it's accounted for, it's never going to be lost. It's just so much quicker, rather than having to chase people for approval,” Wilson asserts.
Teams at Goodwood use Wrike reports to provide visibility and to improve their planning strategies. With Wrike, what used to take hours now takes seconds. This shift to real-time information has led to an uptick in accuracy and efficiency.
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