Flight Centre Travel Group South Africa couldn’t access their data easily across all their lease locations – until they found a way to digitise and organise.
Flight Centre, a globally recognised travel retailer offering flight deals and holiday packages, has been operating throughout South Africa since 1994. As of 2018, they operate 115 leased locations across the country.
In April 2015, Angie Mackintosh joined the business as Project Manager, and three months later she also took on the role of Leasing Manager – soon realising she wasn’t able to perform her role efficiently with just spread sheets for leasing data.
Flight Centre had been using Excel spreadsheets and hard copy documents to record and manage leasing data. But with so many locations, it was no longer a viable way to operate.
The biggest issue was their lack of ability to easily run reports – leaving them in the dark on management of their property portfolio.
Their limited capacity to run reports meant they found themselves struggling with:
- Lease expiry dates & renewals
- Determining location costs & comparisons
- Scrutinising lease data & inaccurate invoicing
- Time wasted on tedious, laborious tasks
Our property cost is one of the highest costs we have in the business, and we needed a more efficient way of managing our portfolio.
– Angie Mackintosh, Leasing Manager
Finding external answers for internal processes
Not long after Angie took control of leasing, Flight Centre also engaged an external contractor to assist with the legal vetting of leases and lease negotiations. The contractor could also see there was room for improvement, and so discussions about how to improve things commenced.
Flight Centre was clear in what they needed: A central point in which all their data could be stored and accessed, facilitating efficient and effective reporting. The solution would also need to be able to support the team with vetting and lease negotiations.
With this clear need in mind, Flight Centre set about researching the Software options available in the South African market that aligned to their unique tenant-based requirements. They soon found that options were lacking in functionality and generally relied on outdated technologies.
We needed a central point where we could have all the data and reporting – that was very important to us
– Angie Mackintosh
It was then that their external contractor suggested that they investigate an International solution he had previously utilised, MRI LeaseEagle – originally founded in Australia and designed specifically for tenants.
It was very impressive to see how much you could do with the software. MRI LeaseEagle also already had quite a few companies on board, including a large South African retailer, so that made us very curious.
– Angie Mackintosh
Meeting the data accuracy challenge with patience and expertise
The functionality MRI LeaseEagle offers, compared to spread sheets, is significant and resulted in all key stakeholders for Flight Centre quickly buying into the investment decision.
As a part of the implementation, Flight Centre also undertook the job of scanning all of its leasing documentation to take advantage of MRI LeaseEagle’s Document Bank, and to extract all key commercial terms.
The initial process to get all the data onto MRI LeaseEagle, that was probably the biggest challenge and the most time-consuming. But once done, it’s just a matter of keeping the data updated.
– Angie Mackintosh
With a limited digital footprint, this took some time, however the MRI LeaseEagle team were on hand to also assist with this process, ensuring that the data was accurately captured into the new system, and that they were up and running on time.
The result? Answers at the touch of a button
From the moment Flight Centre implemented MRI LeaseEagle, the way they manage their leases fundamentally changed – for the better. They’ve made numerous improvements, however there are three that have made the greatest impact:
Reporting takes hours, not days
Most importantly, Angie, is now able to generate detailed reports across the store portfolio with just a few clicks of the mouse, as well as being able to drill down to see any of the store details, lease status or rentals immediately. Angie can now also prepare a report based on monthly profit figures on the same day that they’re announced – a task that previously took much longer.
Payments are 100% accurate
Flight Centre has also saved a large amount of money now that invoices and payments can be easily double and triple-checked. When relying on excel spreadsheets, human error was all too common, with invoice payment amounts too difficult and time consuming to review. Now the AP team can easily verify Landlord invoices against the correct lease charges by simply viewing the store through MRI LeaseEagle.
Staff can do their jobs uninterrupted
Scrolling through a spreadsheet to find or check data is a thing of the past – as is calling head office to gain access to hard copy documents. With the centralised, cloud-based data storage, everyone who needs access, has it in real time.
A change felt company-wide
MRI LeaseEagle software has revolutionised the way Flight Centre manages its leases and leasing data.
No longer is time wasted on trying to simply access information and complete paperwork. The team can now focus on the important property details, performance, cost and worth. Therefore, relying on them to make more accurate and profitable business decisions.
The change has not only helped Angie, but these advantages have been widespread across the business, including leasing, accounts and audit functions.
With the recent changes under the new IFRS16 accounting standard, MRI LeaseEagle has also helped Flight Centre to adapt quickly to the new requirements, enabling them to manage the increased workload and reporting calculations without the need for adding additional head count to finance.
The amount of effort and time it takes to capture the data, and the cost of the system, is a drop in the ocean compared to what you’re spending and what you could be saving. It’s a no brainer.
– Angie Mackintosh