Our client, a company in the optometry industry, recently received Research and Development Tax Credits due to projects they carried out on their own internal processes. The client was struggling with internal HR, communication and practice management. After a 30 minute meeting with our Research and Development experts at Amas, the client could clearly see that their activities qualified for R&D Tax Credits.
Our client has been trading for 27 years as an independent, inexpensive provider of prescription glasses/sunglasses, contact lenses and eye tests. After three years of no significant growth, our client identified that they could reposition themselves in the marketplace through improving the following:
- Better use of technology;
- Improving customer service; and
- Showing superior knowledge over their competitors.
Three key areas highlighted were to develop their HR processes, create an open management system, which would also improve communication, and invest in advanced optometric technology.
The client’s HR processes were previously disjointed and highly ineffective. Highlighted as key issues were:
- Staff were sent on training courses with no follow up on the benefit, therefore return on investment was hard to track;
- There was no annual or bi-annual staff appraisals;
- There were no one-to-one wellbeing checks or return to work interviews; and
- No holiday or absenteeism monitoring.
The client made substantial process introductions and improvements in this area by introducing a number of measures, such as:
- Regular appraisal meetings;
- One-to-one forms which would lead to meetings with senior staff;
- Training development forms; and
- A new employee handbook.
The company also created a brand new induction process for new employees – something which was previously non-existent – which all current staff attended. As a result, all staff are now pulling in the same direction, with company and staff values aligned and a greater staff morale.
Open Management System
Our client was yet to embrace technology which made running several practices rather difficult. Communication between practices and staff was at an all-time low, stock ordering lacked any structure or coherence and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were not made clear to key personnel.
The client made simple changes, as well as creating a bespoke company intranet system which is now a centralised system for all practices and staff. The simple process improvements were such that now staff were:
- Having daily five minute catch up meetings in all practices;
- Holding weekly meetings with minutes stored on the bespoke intranet system;
- Monthly area manager meetings and quarterly profit and loss meetings; and
- KPI training for staff.
The intranet system also provided further benefits to the client, including:
- Centralised product ordering and price lists; and
- Chat areas for speedy communication between staff and practices.
Advanced Optometric Technology
Our client has digitised its medical processes and record keeping, as well as invested in the latest technology to provide the best eye care possible. Investment in advanced digital and medical technology has allowed them to:
- Utilise a bespoke cloud software package to store and access patient records either within practices or during home visits; and
- Detect eye disease much earlier, as well as gather more precise patient measurements, including eye rotation and head gait.
As a result, the client has improved their internal processes to manage staff and their morale, improve communication between practices and increase efficiency in stock ordering and management. These improvements all qualified our client for R&D Tax Credits.