In the fast moving world of immigration, organisation is everything.
In the fast moving world of immigration, organisation is everything. Papers and documents need to be processed on time, or people's entire lives can grind to a halt while the right visas and applications make their way through the various embassies and official bodies who authorise movement in and out of the UK.
For the past eight years, Jeremy Arnold has been building Arnold DaSilva into a highly successful immigration administration business. Jeremy's customers typically include law firms, who in turn handle work permit applications for their own clients, usually large corporations seeking to employ foreign nationals in the UK.
That process requires a large number of sensitive documents – often including passports, marriage and birth certificates – to be moved around the government agency sites in Sheffield and Croydon. Arnold DaSilva manages the journey of those documents through the government agency, ensuring that once applications have been completed, they are returned with all relevant papers back to the client. With hundreds of applications submitted on a regular basis however, the management of that process is an information intensive task.
Until recently, Jeremy and his team managed the progress of each application on paper. With documents moving back and forth across the government agency, Jeremy and his team would track each application's progress in a notebook, before updating a database back at the office. As a result, the same information would end up being recorded twice, and notifying clients of progress was done largely by phone.
Jeremy knew that he had to make a change. Working from paper wasn't just an inconvenience, it was impacting on his ability to grow his business. "Without a system in place, it was difficult to expand. With no way of centrally managing all of this information, it just wasn't possible to grow my team and give them the tools they needed to do the job on the move."
Not one to be deterred, Jeremy looked at mobile technology solutions that could help him do business better. "I'd been experimenting with a document solution from one of the major tech companies out there," he says. "But it really wasn't for me. While it worked fine in the office, it wasn't up to scratch on the move and was more of a hindrance than a help. I'd just invested in an iPad, which is a fantastic mobile tool, and I wanted something that would work with that."
I'd just invested in an iPad, which is a fantastic mobile tool, and I wanted something that would work with that.
Jeremy Arnold, Managing Director, Arnold DaSilva
FileMaker Go has also helped to refine back office processes.
The FileMaker solution:
It was when browsing the App Store that Jeremy came across his solution. "FileMaker Go. I read a little bit about it, and it sounded absolutely perfect. Here was something that was built specifically for the iPad, but had a really strong database in the background as its basis." Jeremy made the leap and, with the help of FileMaker Platinum developer DataTherapy, set about building a system that would transform his business.
"It was totally amazing," explains Jeremy. "Thanks to FileMaker Go, it didn't take long at all before I had really solid system back at base that could be updated while we were still at the government agency. Straight away, I was able to update my clients as each action on a job was completed. FileMaker Go is really easy to use, so we're able to tap information in on the move, and it syncs with the database back at the office and emails a full update to my clients, so they know from minute to minute exactly where their documents are. I'd say that it's reduced incoming calls and emails by around 80 per cent."
That's been a transformational experience for Arnold DaSilva. Jeremy has now expanded the business and manages a wider team from his office. "FileMaker Go isn't the only reason that I've been able to expand my company," he says, "but it has certainly been a real enabler. It's freed me up to focus on the development of the business, things that I've been meaning to do for ages like building a website and marketing the company more. Everyone on the team now has an iPad, which they use all through the day."
FileMaker Go has also helped to refine Jeremy's back office processes. With job data entered on the spot each day, the team no longer need to separately enter information on applicants, dates, times or reference numbers for invoicing purposes. Instead, a simple click of a client's details and the job in FileMaker Go sees an invoice automatically generated. As well as being a major time saving, it has also stopped Arnold DaSilva from sending out late payment requests.
Perhaps most importantly, FileMaker Go has helped Jeremy to keep up with changes within the immigration logistics industry itself. "Increasingly, with biometrics-based immigration controls, the person themselves has to be on-site for clearance. So there's been an increasing demand for us to be there to support them through that process. FileMaker Go has given us the time and capacity to adapt to that change."
Arnold DaSilva has grown dramatically in size.
Passport to growth – Arnold DaSilva has grown dramatically in size, with Jeremy now able to monitor the progress on jobs from base, while his team update on the move.
Automatic updates – scripts with Jeremy's FileMaker database mean that when an update is entered into FileMaker Go, an email is automatically sent to his clients to keep them posted on progress.
An enabler for better business – by helping Jeremy to react to market changes and free up his team to do more, it's also helped him to focus on what really matters; planning and developing his company.