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Vendor Selection Process: How to verify a good animation studio

Oct 13, 2020animation pricing, animation production, Blog, e-learning0 comments

Selecting a vendor is not as simple as picking a vendor nearby or choosing the cheapest one. It’s a process that requires detailed criteria. A good vendor will give the quality at least meet your eLearning agency’s expectations. However, a great vendor will support you to convince your customer, guarantee the quality and timeline process. In this article, we will go through 4 steps of the vendor selection process to help you choose a great partner. Moreover, there will be a real case study about forming and maintaining a long-term partnership between an eLearning agency and an animation studio.

 

What barriers block you from your ideal vendor?

There are 2 concerns when an eLearning agency wants to find an animation studio for outsourcing.

  • Lack of knowledge: it’s a common problem when you are new to animation. You know that animation is good for your course, but you have no clue to do it right. When the animation is not done properly, your brand will get the damage first, not the vendor. Therefore, you should select a vendor that is patient and willing to consult every matter related to their expertise.
  • Lack of trust: When you are more familiar with the animation making process, your problems now are risk management: production risk (the vendor rejects the project); information risk (business secrets leaking), and legal risk. In this case, the vendor you choose should be reliable. A reliable vendor not only commits to the process, the product quality but also supports you with customer convincing.

 

Vendor selection process for eLearning agency – how to verify a good partner

There are 4 steps in the vendor selection process to choose the right fit studio. They are: Define yourself; Identify your potential vendors; Analyze vendor’s profiles; Check working style and professionalism. Now come with more detail:

Step 1: Define your animation requirements

If you want to get the result that meets your expectation, you need to clarify your requirements first. Here is some basic information you should list down:

  • Content: What specific content that you want to make an animation? How much content do you want to deliver?
  • Concept: How much detail do you want? Which style do you prefer? Any example for better understanding?
  • Budget: How much do you willing to pay for animation? Producing animation has a wide range of prices. If you have no clues how much it cost and how the educational animation looks, check out these articles down below.

Recommended reading:
>> How much does an educational animation cost per minute: $30, $150, or $3,000?
>> Affordable animation: how to cut animation making cost for a tight budget
>> Guide to producing cost-efficient animation training videos (Integrity & Value’s case study)

Step 2: Identify your potential vendors

The 1st requirement list helps you narrow down the scope of the right animation studios. Now you can move to the 2nd one – searching for vendors. This time, you make a list of potential candidates. Remember, you don’t need to analyze any of the vendors that you found. Save them to step 3 for better comparison.

You can google many animation studios. Some keywords you can use such as ‘animation for educational purposes’, ‘educational animation studios’, ‘animation for eLearning’, etc. Another way you can try is by looking at the group on Facebook. Here are some of our recommendations: Instructional Designer; Instructional Designers in Education and eLearning Industry.

 

Step 3: Analyze vendor’s profiles

Now you come to the most time-consuming step of the vendor selection process. This is the 1st filter to give you knowledge about your candidates and reject impotent ones. When you receive animation studios’ portfolios, check some criteria such as years in business, previous projects, previous clients, and price.

You can understand your candidates better by checking their published content. The content can be website blogs, Facebook posts, newsletters, etc. The content shows their expertise in the field that can not be fake. An animation studio that deeply understands the customer and the market, will publish insightful content related to it. They will point out the problems you are facing but you might not notice. Moreover, they can provide you with solutions with in-depth detail in every single article.

 

Step 4: Check the working style and professionalism

For 1st filtering in step 3, one person can handle the task. However, step 4 requires more human resources for better results. After filtering, you have a shorter list ready to approach and request a demonstration. Through this step, you will know how professional the vendor is and if their working style can fit your eLearning agency or not. You need the involvement of an instructional designer,  project manager, and account who works with the customer. 

In this step, you need to check 2 things:

  • How supportive the studio is: Your concern is not just the quality of the animation. Sometimes eLearning agencies need to convince or explain to the customers so that they can understand and use animation. A good partner with their expertise will help you guide your customer with the technique, even making a demo to show the benefit when words can not explain. Some criteria you should look for:
    • Quick reply
    • Ready for pilot project and demonstration
    • Give feedback advice
    • Proactively follow up the project
  • Flexibility for change: Since your timeline depends on your customers and your in-house task, there will be unexpected changes. Can the vendor be ready to improvise with that? Can they guarantee the process and timeline every time you ask? Ask them these questions directly and see how they answer. When they answer, ask them to show more data like average time, average feedback for a project; the shortest time they have finished a project, etc.

 

Case study: How Cobblestone eLearning found their long-term partner

Cobblestone Learning is an eLearning design agency providing custom eLearning design service courses to corporate training. Sean Delaney, founder, and MD of Cobblestone aware of how animation benefits education and already has an in-house production team. However, when the company needs to be up-scaled, the animation quality needs to be better at an optimal cost. After consideration, Sean decided to find a vendor for outsourcing.

 

How did Cobblestone meet F.Learning studio?

Sean found F.Learning Studio from a LinkedIn post. He was impressed because the post described his problem with in-depth knowledge and gave a really detailed suggestion to fix it. It triggered him to follow up with more website articles. Good knowledge and a deep understanding of each article built his trust. After the 1st approach, Cobblestone gets a really quick reply ready for the pilot project. With proactive communication and a clear explanation, after the project, 2 companies have become partners.

 

How do Cobblestone eLearning and F.Learning studio work together?

Prioritize and communicate effectively

As a long-term partner, F.Learning studio prioritizes Cobblestone’s projects. Based on the scripts of Cobblestone eLearning, F.Learning studio estimates animation video duration and a general timeline. There are multiple animated videos required for each project. Therefore, F.Learning plans detail for each one of them (illustration day, feedback day, animation day, etc.).

vendor selection process timelines

Here’s a demo of the timeline

vendor selection tasks

How Cobblestone eLearning can monitor the production timeline…

vendor selection process detail

and see in detail every sub-tasks

 

Recommended reading:
>> 5 tools for project management in animation every eLearning agency needs

Communication by daily email keeps all the stakeholders on the same page. Through project management tools, like Trello and Click Up, Cobblestone eLearning is able to monitor the deadlines of the production process. If there is an unexpected change affecting the timeline, a called meeting will be set within 15 minutes to discuss. Then, the timeline can be adjusted after the 2 companies have agreed on the most favorable timeline for both sides.

 

Give advice and actively follow up on the project

During the production process, F.Learning studio proactively advises Cobblestone in cases of finding solutions for cost optimization and quality improvement. In order to give advice,  from our very first projects, both sides tried to understand each other’s working styles and project’s common points. Generally, F.Learning studio generates concepts for each video of the project. It’s good at first, but in the long run, it needs another way to optimize the cost and time for better results.

“F.Learning studio noticed that animation for Cobblestone doesn’t require stunning visuals much, but it demands focusing on a high level of storytelling and explanation. After a few projects work together, to save time and cost for the project, we have generated a guideline with 3 concepts for 3 different requirement levels. These concepts are created by evaluating many concepts Cobblestone has picked in the previous project. Therefore, Cobblestone can pick 1 of 3 concepts for any new project and save a week of working.”

Anne Nguyen – F.Learning studio’s project manager

Moreover, F.Learning studio’s expertise helps Cobblestone work with their customers in many cases. Cobblestone relies on F.Learning about anything related to animation, from the production to consultation.

“Our most memorable collaboration project is when Cobblestone met a customer that has no experience with animation. Many problems occurred: the customer provided a script that couldn’t be animated; the feedback time was lengthened; the customer couldn’t imagine what their course looks like after animating, etc. Under these circumstances, F.Learning provided Cobblestone the animation guideline to advise their customer. We even made a sample video that helps Cobblestone’s customer understand better. All to one purpose is to convince the customer to choose Cobblestone.

Vicky Truong – F.Learning’s account manager

 

The result

After 2 years, both companies finished thousands of minutes of educational animation for eLearning. F.Learning studio is a reliable partner that Cobblestone eLearning can confidently contact even in the nick of time. And F.Learning always sets Cobblestone as the top priority in arranging F’s resources for the best results. We are proud to say that it is a long term partnership that we are always working towards.

 

Conclusion

We hope this vendor selection process can help you verify a good animation studio and reliably work with them for a long time. In the end, besides good output, the more important factor of a good long-term partner is their ready-to-fight attitude, especially in urgent cases. You can see that through how they support you and your customer.

If you are finding an animation vendor, why not give F.Learning Studio a try? We are pleased to help your company create an engaging animation series that satisfies your clients. Let’s start with a 30-minute free consultation meeting right now!

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