The Transguard Group, an Emirates Group company, was established in 2001 and is one of the leading business support services providers in the region. Through its strategic partnership with Al Hail Holdings, the group delivers a diverse range of services to organizations across Abu Dhabi and the Northern Emirates, while its status as an Emirates Group company has made it a true market-leader in Dubai.
to process a sheet
2 of 6 core businesses of the company are facilities management and cash services. Both directions have quite a large staff, most of whom are foreign workers from all over the world. The sphere of services and maintenance requires a certain level of English knowledge, especially in such an advanced cosmopolitan city as Dubai. Thus Transguard invests in English classes for its staff and regularly holds tests to control progress and check proficiency level.
The company has a dedicated Training Academy, which is responsible for meeting the training requirements of the group and for developing training programs that help employees to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to deliver the standard and quality of service their customers expect and demand.
The education plan is quite tight and requires regular control, with the company administering EPT (English Placement Test) tests to their staff (38 000 full-time employees) daily.
The examiners correct the papers and enter the results into the exam evaluation sheets. There is an operator in the Training Academy who transfers the results from the evaluation sheets into an in-house training application — a process that used to be monotonous, timeconsuming and with an accuracy rate of only 75%. Moreover, it involved too many human resources: a trainer to check the paper and enter the results into an evaluation sheet, and an operator to enter the exam data from a paper evaluation sheet into the training application.
The system needed improvement.
There were 2 main aims for the improvement: reducing the time taken to enter exam results into the application by at least 50%, and improving the accuracy of the text entered in the application from 75% to 99%.
Transguard Group had been using document automation solution by ABBYY in other company departments and for other types of documents — financial papers, contracts, invoices, etc. — for a while. The IT Project team knew the software’s capabilities and were looking for more scenarios which could benefit from the solution.
Moreover, ABBYY had a good reference list of projects in education and especially in automation of exam sheets processing.
As a result, Transguard and ABBYY teams developed a project to improve and speed up testing.
First, they analyzed the structure and layout of the exam sheets. Each diagnostic test evaluated both writing and speaking skills and consisted of 4 pages: multiple choice, written essay and assessment grades and comments. All papers were filled in by checkmarks and handwriting.
After the analysis, with guidance and prompt reaction from the ABBYY side, the team managed to improve and change the layout of the test paper with the help of special ABBYY FlexiCapture Layout Studio (part of ABBYY data capture solution for creation of fixed forms) to enhance recognition speed and quality for further automation. With OCR and data capture solution — ABBYY FlexiCapture, Transguard team was able to significantly shorten and speed up the process along with improving accuracy. Now the process involves the scanning of the entire set of exam evaluation sheets in one go, then uploading it into the OCR software for processing, automatic extraction of the recognized data into Excel®/CSV file, and finally copying these data to the in-house Training application very quickly. As a result, the trainers have been completely released from the need to manually check the tests and then manually fill in the evaluation sheets — all of these actions have been automated.
Today the average number of tests processed daily is more than 50. Before automation, it took an operator 4 minutes to manually enter the results from the paper form into the application, and, in total, almost 3.5 hours per day to process all papers (not to mention the additional time spent in checking the exams and then rewriting the results into evaluation sheets).
After automation it takes only 45 seconds to read a sheet, check the results and upload them into the training application with almost 100% accuracy — a little bit over half an hour to process the daily volume for 1 operator.
The result has managed to exceed all expectations and made the team start thinking of new ways to apply of the solution in other business processes of the company.