TGM & rapid ramp-up plan to increase production volume x3

Case Study: TGM’s Ramp-up plan to increase volume threefold in 7 months

This case study features a Europe-based real estate photography company and how they managed their ramp-up plan for rapid growth.

The Story

TGM (the client’s abbreviated name) is a real estate media production company based in Eastern Europe providing real estate photography and media marketing services. In early 2021, the company was acquired by an international real estate company focusing on housing construction, building maintenance, consulting, and development).

Before then, TGM had already worked with Esoft and produced some 4000 images, and 2000 virtual tours per month while controlling the quality in-house. Following the acquisition, the client gained access to more resources and larger client pools. They projected to scale the production threefold within 9 months following the acquisition.

The production volume surge required the client to deliver consistent media quality to protect brand reputation while scaling the production and system operation capacity. However, as they recruited a colossal number of photographers with varying skill levels, they observed inconsistent shooting approaches. That made the output consume more time, labor, and costs for the post-production process. Both TGM and Esoft saw the need to optimise the workflow from production to post-production.

We worked on a ramp-up plan to enable TGM to effectively scale their production while maintaining a stable product quality level. That included system optimisation and photographer skill streamlining via statistically monitoring shooting input produced by mass photographers.

Featured services: Real Estate Photo Editing services at Esoft 

The Client’s Objectives

  • Standardise production workflow in-house and in collaboration with Esoft
  • Accommodate volume growth with a strong ramp-up
  • Maintain the existing quality level

The Approach: A viable ramp-up plan requires both human and system capacity

Get ready for the change

With TGM’s volume forecast, Esoft arranged internal operation from software license purchase, forming & training editing team to define a new quality assurance process to ensure editing quality is consistent.

Esoft redefined the quality control procedures by assigning additional Esoft’s Quality Control staff for different products (photo, video, tour) to work on TGM’s account and monitor output quality. The process included two-round end-to-end quality control, enabling Esoft to handle mass volume intake with consistent quality.

Optimise collaboration workflows via arranging system capacity

In handling the volume surge, the client and Esoft worked together to arrange the system capacity and IT operations on both sides. We implemented an API integration to connect the client’s work portal with Esoft’s production platform – Lychee. The connection focuses on shortening and fastening the order creation process amongst all relevant parties, from photographers uploading raw files to editors uploading edited materials, ready for agents to download.

API Ramp-up Plan
API Integration – a key action in TGM’s Ramp-up plan

This process automates a wide range of repetitive in-between tasks including placing orders and downloading & uploading files, with which the client didn’t have to onboard additional admin staff.

Strengthen and standardise photographers’ shooting approach

A sound shooting approach is a key to a lean editing process. To achieve that, Esoft first worked with TGM to define the standard shooting workflows for different product levels, from HDR to Flash Ambient, which helped optimise editing processes. Esoft assigned photographer experts to provide shooting manuals and training webinars to TGM’s photographers to support the Technique Overhauling” process. The new shooting workflows were first tested on a group of photographers within 40 days before the implementation on the entire photographer base, including the existing and newly onboarded.

Meanwhile, Esoft dedicated a Quality Specialist team to monitor the shooting input, tracking common composition issues and shooting problems that hindered the editing process. We created a data dashboard with a set of qualitative insights and quantitative metrics for clients to gain insights into how their photographers perform in terms of shooting. Every week, we met up to discuss and work on solutions to outstanding production issues, from shooting to editing.

Input Feedback Dashboard
Input Feedback Dashboard

The Impacts

Following the activation of the 2-week production ramp-up plan, TGM doubled their photo production volume in 4 months and tripled in 7 months. With a scalable setup, they addressed a wider market, served more estate agents, and expanded their business accordingly. Together, the client and Esoft delivered tangible results beyond our expectations and established a reputation that far surpassed the photo service quality. As a result of the double-step quality control process, we improved the quality and consistency of the edited output, reducing the amount of work returned for correction significantly. Additionally, the client reported considerable costs saved for their in-house quality control. 

  • The average total of photos processed steadily increased from 3800 to 15120
  • The average total of virtual tours created jumped from 2000 to 6900
  • The average correction rate (number of orders needed for correction/total number of orders) dropped from 22% to 9%