Problem Definition :
A manufacturing company based in India, was facing uncertainity in its business due to accounting errors and limited knowledge in forecasting its future business due to absence of any statistical or analytical tools. The client approached Align Associate to come up with a solution for better risk management in their business.

Approach :
Align Associate’s knowledge of business standards, best practices, key performance metrics were used to assess the problem. A team of experts from finance, operations, and sector specific experts were drawn to research & identify the root cause of the problem.

From the research, it was found out that the root cause of the problem was primarily due to inability of the internal auditors of the company to audit and check accounting errors on a real time basis. It was observed that identification of fraudulent accounting transactions and other accounting errors were done only at the end of every business quarter and not on a regular basis. This way, the client was exposed to huge financial risks that could negatively impact their future business if proper risk management practices were not put in place.

Team members at Align Associate had to spend sufficient time to assess the problem in detail. It was found out that multiple accounting errors such as over purchases, duplicate payments, non verified transactions, payment rate mismatches, purchased items actually not required for business were overlooked during the client’s existing internal audit process controls thereby increasing their overall costs. Once identified Align Associate worked towards putting in a comprehensive solution.

Solution:
To address this issue, Align Associate had recommended the client to utilize its proprietary governance, risk and compliance tool – “AuditBots” which runs on ERP Systems such as SAP and Oracle, for real time monitoring of accounting transactions.
Various risk libraries were created for different type of accounting risks. An algorithm was created for every risk library and these algorithms were run across millions of accounting transactions on a real time basis to analyse data and spot patterns. If there were any exceptions, the system would identify and throw errors.

AuditBots tool was adopted by the client after realizing its numerous advantages. The client was able to closely monitor accounting transactions on a real time basis using AuditBots tool.

Challenges  Faced :
Accounting frauds can bring down a company into disrepute and in worst cases, companies can even go bankrupt due to lack of faith among key valuable clients thereby resulting in loss of reputation and business. The client wanted to uphold its corporate image by following ethical business practices and values, and wanted to avoid this unexpected situation at all costs.

This prompted team members at Align Associate to identify all the accounting risks from all angles which could occur in their business and take necessary measures to prevent these errors for better risk management in future. They had to deep dive into the data and through sophisticated data analytic tools, identify multiple ways in which the company can be defrauded which was an extremely challenging task and required high intellectual and business acumen.

Further, team members at Align Associate, initially using the client’s existing internal audit controls, took painstaking efforts to check millions of accounting transactions, which was a time consuming process for spotting various accounting errors.

Extreme attention to detail was required to identify ghost employees, cash leakages and dummy vendors.

They had to literally put themselves into the fraudsters shoes and have a keen eye to identify fraudulent accounting transactions and expose malpractices of fraudsters. These claims need to be valid and proved in order to coerce and remove fraudsters from the company by making them admit to their mistakes.

Benefits:
The client realized the importance of better risk management using AuditBots on a real time basis. Business derived significant benefits with the help of AuditBots include:
• Prevention of Accounting Errors on a real time basis
• Reduction in Internal Audit process time using stringent financial controls
• Reduction of costs by avoiding undesirable expenditure
• Improvement in financial results
• Increase in bottom line performance
• Tackle segregation of duties issue where multiple internal company employees conspire and collude
together in committing accounting frauds.
• Identify ghost employees, cash leakages and dummy vendors
• Plugs all loopholes to override control procedures designed to check fraud.
Please contact Align Associate for exploring possibilities of providing your organization similar support.


Align Associate
Old No.9,New No.12,
18th Avenue, Ashok Nagar
Chennai – 600083, Tamil Nadu, India


Problem Definition :
A major Retailer was facing issues with customer engagement and low sales. The sales did not match the footfall recorded by the retailer and there was no mechanism to track the customer satisfaction. The client approached Align Associate to come up with a solution to overcome the problem.

Approach :
Align Associate’s knowledge of business standards, best practices, key performance metrics were used to assess the problem. A team of experts drawn from finance, operation, and sales were vested with the task to research & identify the root cause of the problem.

From the research, it was found out that the root cause of the problem was primarily due to lack of effective customer tracking mechanisms and absence of proper strategy to maintain customer relationship. The company had bare minimal knowledge about the exact data pertaining to the number of walk in’s entering the retail outlet, number of actual customers, ratio of walk-in to sales conversion rate, product preference of the customers and the reasons for purchasing the product.

Team members at Align Associate had spent sufficient time to assess the problem in detail. They analysed the CCTV footage of the Retail outlet for the last one month to find out the exact number of walk in’s and recorded the observation. This value was compared with the existing Customer Relationship Executive (CRE) report day-wise, week-wise and month-wise. The values didn’t match in any of the above mentioned scenarios and significant discrepancies were noticed in both the values.  The CRE report which collated data about the walk in’s from the security guard as well as the overall counters in the retail store was found to be misleading. Once identified Align Associate worked towards putting in a comprehensive solution.

Solution:
To address this issue, Align Associate had recommended the client to implement Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System in order to analyse customer data and improve customer relationship. Customer Tracking process was streamlined effectively to a simple procedure and closely monitored by team members of Align Associate. The procedure used for customer tracking was as follows :

  • Feedback form from potential (walk-in’s) and actual customers was collected during their exit by the security and counter billing stage respectively
  • With the help of this feedback at the end of 6 months, data pertaining to the number of walk-in’s per day, hour, week could be easily retrieved. Also the salesmen most actively involved with customers, and maximum time spent on a product category as well as the counter most visited by the customer could be identified.
  • The feedback provided extensive clarity on walk-in’s and the reasons why they were not purchasing products at the client’s retail store. The reasons were categorised to multiple issues like product quality, design, staff behavior, shopping experience, price, product non availability and customer satisfaction.
  • Further deep analysis was carried out to determine   when the customer conversion rates was highest, and  on which day, hour or month as well as across which product category. High performing Salesmen involved with maximum customer conversion rates were identified.
  • Various Walk in, customer Key performance Indicators (KPI) were set for all the salesman and managers to maximise their capability and efficiency. Employee Scorecards were generated for the entire staff and monitored regularly.
  • Surprise Audits were also carried out to check the accuracy between the CRE report and CCTV data.
 Jewellery shop Footfall analytics

                   Jewellery shop Footfall analytics

Analytics integrated CRM System was adopted by the client after realizing its numerous advantages. The client was able to closely monitor and review customer conversion rates, sales performance,  employee performance rating on a regular basis with ease using CRM System.

Challenges  Faced :
The Salesmen at the retail store had to be convinced about the Align Associate’s procedure of customer tracking using CCTV as they were opposed to the idea initially and felt that it was not a proper method to judge their performance and their way in dealing with customers may be minutely scrutinised.

Further, team members at Align Associate took painstaking efforts to carry out the in-depth historical data analysis from CCTV footage and feedback forms and gather various useful insights for the client.

Benefits:
The client, after initial hesitation, realized the importance of Analytics integrated CRM System. Business derived significant benefits with the help of CRM System include:
• Walk-in clarity levels increased to 95% accuracy
• Increase in Customer conversion rates from 50% to 75%
• Improvement in Customer Service levels
• Increase in Employee Productivity
• Better Sales Performance
• Enhanced quality in shopping experience
Please contact Align Associate for exploring possibilities of providing your organization similar support.


Align Associate
Old No.9,New No.12,
18th Avenue, Ashok Nagar
Chennai – 600083, Tamil Nadu, India


Problem Definition :
A large listed Indian infrastructure company was facing a crisis with time delay in Performance Report generation. Instant Performance Report generation was essential for the Senior Management to assess the company’s performance on a real time basis, which they were unable to do. The client approached Align Associate to come up with a solution to overcome the problem.

Approach :
Team members of Align Associate had to spend sufficient time to assess the problem in detail. It was found out that the accounting entries were extracted to Excel from SAP. MIS reports were generated based on these accounting entries and presented in powerpoint to the Regional Managers. The procedure followed by the Client to generate the Company Performance Report  was complex in nature and was also often time consuming resulting in more than a month delay in submission of the  performance reports to the Management.

Also, it was observed that the accounting entries were not accurate when data was  extracted to excel. As a result, hasty decisions were taken by the Senior Management based on the  previous month’s erroneous data leading to problems  for the  client. Once identified Align Associate worked towards putting in a comprehensive solution.

Solution:
To address this issue, Align Associate had recommended the client, to utilize its proprietary tool – “Analyst” to generate company performance reports from SAP on a real time basis in the following scenarios :
• It was found difficult to predict the key performance metrics of the client such as net profit for the current month, without taking into account the indirect expenses such as employees’ salary which is credited towards the end of the month. Analyst tool was used to accurately predict these expenses based on slight assumptions and adjustments made in previous month overall salary expenses. Hence, based on the above, company performance reports could be generated on a real time basis during the month and interpreted by the senior management with ease.
• Senior Management required Monthly Company Performance reports with duly closed accounting entries for Monthly Review Meetings (MRM) to take constructive decisions. Actual Monthly company performance reports were available by the 4th of following month for evaluation by the senior management using Analyst tool.
Adoption of the Analyst tool by the Client to generate company performance reports took only six months due to its accuracy and efficiency. The client was able to closely monitor company performance reports with ease during this period and take action.

Challenges  Faced :
• In the initial stages of the project, the client had provided enormous chunks of data to Align Associate consisting of 10000 tables with 200 fields in each table. This was one of the reason causing time delay in company performance report generation. Team members at Align Associate had to use their extensive knowledge of Analyst tool and Oracle to reduce the number of tables from 10000 to only 15 required tables.
• In depth knowledge of finance and accounting was required to assess the problem and generate company performance reports on a real time basis in contrast to the time delay in report generation previously.

Benefits:
The client, after initial reluctance and hesitation, realized the importance of performance report automation using Analyst tool. Business derived the following significant benefits with the help of Analyst tool :
• Easy to generate, temporary, accurate company performance reports at any point of time
• Time reduction in generation of actual monthly company performance reports from 1 .1/2 months to just 4 days
• Constructive and proactive decision making based on latest reports
• Eradication of Accounting errors during report generation
Please contact Align Associate for exploring possibilities of providing your organization similar support.


Align Associate
Old No.9,New No.12,
18th Avenue, Ashok Nagar
Chennai – 600083, Tamil Nadu, India


Problem Definition :
A leading Jeweller based in India, was facing severe cash flow issues with outstanding payables, intense pressure from suppliers, excess overdraft drawn beyond limits, financial crunch and strained cash flows.  Though the business was performing satisfactorily  with highly satisfied clientele, premium customer base, best in class locality, quality products / designs, still there was something left incomplete in the process of their operation.  The client approached Align Associate to provide a solution to their  problem.

Approach : 
Align Associate’s experience of 14 years across industries, knowledge of business standards, best practices, key performance metrics were used to assess the problem. A team of experts drawn from finance, operations with sector specific knowledge and expertise were drawn to research & identify the root cause of the problem on the following parameters:
• Balance Sheet Analysis                                                                             
• Financial Ratio Analysis
• Working Capital Analysis
• Cash Flow Analysis
• Industry Benchmarking Analysis
On research of their business model, it was found out that the root cause of cash flow issue was due to overstocking of inventory than what was required to meet the Sales throughput. The company was performing at half the level of stock rotation in comparison to industry best players. Once identified, Align Associate worked towards putting in a comprehensive solution.

Solution:
To address this issue, the last 4 years Historical Sales Data was analyzed in detail to understand sales patterns in various categories & sub-categories across price & design ranges. Pattern based, algorithmic analytics were designed using advance data crunching tools and user friendly Dashboards were developed and deployed to provide decision support with respect to Inventory Management.

Jewellery Boutique with different counters

                                Jewellery Boutique with different counters

Advanced Analytics Dashboards were able to provide a comprehensive direction through:
• Optimum stocks to be maintained and Industry Standards for every Jewellery category
• Optimum Stocks split across various weight and price ranges, including designs
• Right suppliers for jewellery categories that customers bought to help plan sourcing
Adoption of the Advanced Analytics Dashboard by the Client took approximately 6 to 9 months and with its user friendly design and intuitive view, the client was able to closely monitor and take action. Align Associate experts were continuously supporting and handholding the initiative through external watch & monitoring process.

Challenges  Faced :
In the initial stages of the project, the Sales force had to be convinced that the myth of “more stocks leads to more sales” does not hold good. Once the root cause of the problem was identified, there was deep effort to educate the client on maintaining optimum stock levels. Right sizing of inventory was necessary to optimize working capital apart from increasing sales.
Further, getting the right data was also a critical challenge amd Align Associate had to cleanse data which was provided in complex formats. Team members at Align Associate had to use their extensive knowledge of Oracle, SQL to convert data into the relevant formats.

Benefits:
The client, after initial hesitation and resistance, realized the importance of optimization and positive changes achieved through inventory correction. Business derived significant benefits with the help of Advanced Analytics Dashboards:
• Reduction of inventory by 40%
• Sales increased by 20%
• Usage of excess Cash flows generated to buy other valuable capital assets
• Payment of Overdraft
Please contact Align Associate for exploring possibilities of providing your organization similar support.


Align Associate
Old No.9,New No.12,
18th Avenue, Ashok Nagar
Chennai – 600083, Tamil Nadu, India


Problem Definition :
A leading German Automobile company having more than 600 employees, was facing problems such as decline in productivity of employees, high attrition rate of top rated performers as well as lack of motivation among employees in their day to day work. The client approached Align Associate to come up with a solution to overcome these problems.

Approach : 
Align Associate’s experience in the sector for 14 years, knowledge of business standards, best practices, key performance metrics were used to assess the problem. A team of experts were drawn to research & identify the root cause of the problem.

Performance Management Process

Performance Management Process

From research, it was found out that the low employee productivity was caused due to ineffective performance rating mechanism of employees. Qualitative performance appraisal system was being followed by the HR team of the client to review employee performance based on their supervisor rating and feedback. This type of performance review system was found to be biased and erroneous as employees could be rated based on their recent efforts and not overall annual performance. In some cases, the employee performance rating was assigned based on the the employee supervisor relationship. Also, there was no existing system in place to differentiate between top and below average performers. Employees also lacked clarity on goal setting. This resulted in lack of motivation among below average performers to put more efforts to carry out the required tasks and top performers leaving the company due to lack of appreciation. Once identified, Align Associate worked towards putting in a comprehensive solution.

Solution:
To address this issue, Align Associate had suggested the client to change the mode of performance review system from Qualitative based to Quantitative based system. The Quantitative based performance review system followed a 3 step process :

1. Corporate and departmental goals were defined based on consultation with the Senior Management. Later, Employee goals were defined in line with corporate goals.

2. Process deployment to enable capturing Measurable Employee Key Performance Indicators (KPI) in Excel using Automation. Also, Employees were made aware about mutually agreed goal setting standards and system compliance as well as coached on Employee Scorecards. Any objections regarding the goal setting raised by the Employees were resolved after indulging in discussions with their departmental Heads.

3. The final step involved regular monitoring and generation of Employee Scorecards and Monthly Employee Performance Reports. Incentives were also linked to the achievement of target / goals.
Align Associate’s Quantitative based Performance Management System was adopted and implemented by the Client after realizing its numerous advantages. The client was able to closely monitor and review performance rating for employees on a monthly basis with precision.

Challenges  Faced :
• Some of the departments had already existing KPI’s equivalent to 60 or more, which made it difficult for departmental managers to track Employee KPI’s. Team members at Align Associate understood the need to reduce the number of KPI’s for easy tracking and measurement. As a result, they faced a critical challenge of reducing the number of KPI’s from 60 to a meagre 5. Hence, only 5 key KPI’s were set across all departments for all employees.
• Data needed to be pulled out from sources for capturing results for measurable KPI’s which was a tedious task. In some cases, there was no source to pull the data and hence new data sources were created to capture the results.
• Goal and KPI setting for more than 600 employees was challenging as team members at Align Associate had to convince the employees and departmental heads for a mutual agreeable setting standards.

Benefits:
The client, after initial hesitation, realized the importance of quantitative based performance management system. Business derived significant benefits from implemented performance management system include :

• Auto Generation of Scorecards by implemented PMS software
• Unbiased Quantitative and Performance based Appraisal
• Mutually agreed goal setting concerning all parties – Employees, Departmental managers and
Senior Management
• Increase in Employee Productivity and employee morale boost
• Increase in Retention Rate among admirable Employees
Please contact Align Associate for exploring possibilities of providing your organization similar support.

Align Associate
Old No.9,New No.12,
18th Avenue, Ashok Nagar
Chennai – 600083, Tamil Nadu, India


Problem Definition :
A Facilities Management Company based in the Middle East, was facing problem with stagnated growth and also in identifying their profitable customers. The client approached Align Associate to come up with a solution to overcome the problem.

Approach : 
Align Associate’s experience in various sectors across industries for more more than a decade, knowledge of business standards and best practices were used to assess the problem. A team of experts were drawn to research & identify the root cause of the problem.

On research, it was found out that there was no proper mechanism in place to record customer complaints with respect to AC and Lift installation. Customer complaints raised over phone were registered manually by the customer care cell. The details of the complaint could not be cross checked for reference purpose as they were recorded in a diary. Also, there was no tracking system to find the response time taken to resolve the complaints as well as the number of complaints raised by the same customer. Further, technician occupancy was found to be 45% which was very low as per industry standards. Once identified Align Associate worked towards putting in a comprehensive solution.

Maintenance & Repair

Solution:
To address this issue, Align Associate had recommended the client to implement a Facilities Management System (FMS) which would follow a simple procedure :

  • First, the Customer registers a complaint via the customer App. This complaint is pushed to a cloud based FMS system.
  • Complaints are categorised in the FMS system into 2 types – preventive and break down tickets. Complaints raised in the customer app are break down tickets whereas instructions issued automatically by the FMS system without customer interference are preventive tickets. Preventive tickets are measures taken periodically to service equipment such as AC and Lift  under  Annual Maintenance Contract.
  • Customer Complaints irrespective of break down or preventive tickets are assigned to a particular technician by the admin via the technician app.

The technician who is assigned the job, completes the work and sends a message through the App which is updated against the customer complaint. This way, the customer as well as the complaint date and job completion date  could be recorded for future reference.

Align Associate’s “Facilities Management System” was adopted by the Client after realizing its numerous advantages. The entire service process was automated which helped in obtaining the response time taken to resolve customer complaints with ease. Complaints could also be mapped easily to the respective customer by the FMS system and historical complaints raised by the same customer could be retrieved at any point of time.

Historical records were used to identify the most profitable customers. Customers sign an Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) with the client for a particular period on  fixed charges for engaging their services for the contract period.  Cost to the client when servicing all complaints of a single customer based on historical records during their AMC contract period was calculated. Customers were deemed as non profitable customers if the overall cost to the client exceeded the AMC contract amount during the entire period and vice versa. AMC Contracts of the non profitable customers were not renewed after identification.

The client was able to closely monitor the company revenue with the help of the FMS system after identifying its most profitable customers.

Challenges  Faced :

  • Technical Team at Align Associate took painstaking efforts to design and develop a simple, user friendly, error free customer and technician app. All the bugs were supposed to be fixed before launching the app and getting the client go ahead. The design and the features of the app needed to be constantly modified after consultation with the client.
  • The technicians were coerced to let go of their habitual procedures and needed to be convinced to use the technician app to service customer complaints and receive customer feedback.

Benefits:
The client, after initial hesitation, realized the importance of “Facilities management system”.  Business derived significant benefits from Facilities management system include  :

  • 50% year on year (YOY) growth in company revenue after identification of Profitable Customers
  • Cost to the Client reduced as a result of increase in Technician efficiency from 45% to 85% leading to decrease in expenditure on technicians
  • Preventive measures taken care before hand in response to same repeated complaints for a particular customer based on historical records as well as preventive tickets helped in further reduction of cost to the Client.
  • Effective Inventory Management due to better forecasting of spare parts required for future stocking purposes based on nature of historical complaints improved cashflow.

Please contact Align Associate for exploring possibilities of providing your organization similar support.


Align Associate
Old No.9,New No.12,
18th Avenue, Ashok Nagar
Chennai – 600083, Tamil Nadu, India