Have an Eye on Important Projects

In phar­maceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies, pro­ject busi­ness com­pri­ses much more than the mere deve­lo­p­ment of medi­ca­ments. In order to make relia­ble decis­i­ons, manage­ment requi­res a trans­pa­rent pro­ject port­fo­lio. In the Dr. Will­mar Schwa­be cor­po­ra­te group, a new soft­ware gene­ra­tes a more clear over­view of the num­e­rous simul­ta­neous busi­ness pro­jects. The per­sons respon­si­ble have an eye on the sta­tus of each pro­ject and can focus more easi­ly on tho­se pro­jects that are real­ly important.

The Dr. Will­mar Schwa­be cor­po­ra­te group employs 1600 employees at three sites in Karls­ru­he and its sur­roun­dings and pro­du­ces her­bal and home­opa­thic medi­cinal pro­ducts. Schwa­be plans an avera­ge of 300 simul­ta­neous­ly run­ning pro­jects for a peri­od of about 12 months.

Pro­blem Pri­or to Imple­men­ta­ti­on of the New Software

Pri­or to the imple­men­ta­ti­on of the new soft­ware, the company’s pro­jects could only be out­lined rudi­men­ta­ri­ly in the form of a Share­Point-list. The num­ber of simul­ta­neous­ly run­ning pro­jects and the par­al­lel loa­ding of employees was not trans­pa­rent. Infor­ma­ti­on on pro­ject sta­tus, pro­ject peri­od, and date of com­ple­ti­on of each indi­vi­du­al pro­ject were not easi­ly acces­si­ble either.

Pro­ject appr­ovals only exis­ted in an infor­mal man­ner. Sta­tus reports could only be acces­sed spo­ra­di­cal­ly in the respec­ti­ve pro­ject docu­ment fol­ders in Power­Point. The pre­vious tool land­scape did not pro­vi­de trans­pa­ren­cy and made decis­i­on making sub­stan­ti­al­ly har­der. In order to be well pre­pared for future chal­lenges, it was neces­sa­ry to get bet­ter soft­ware assis­tance for the enti­re pro­ject portfolio.

Defi­ni­ti­on of Objectives

All com­pa­ny pro­jects are to be rea­di­ly acces­si­ble. The core roles (purcha­sers, pro­ject mana­ger, pro­ject core team, stee­ring board) should be able to moni­tor all rele­vant pro­ject infor­ma­ti­on, like pro­ject core data, mile­sto­nes, pro­ject pha­se, resour­ces, at any time. They should also be able to read sta­tus reports direct­ly in the pro­ject port­fo­lio. During the quest for a sui­ta­ble new soft­ware, no own solu­ti­on was taken into con­side­ra­ti­on. Ins­tead, three pro­ducts which are curr­ent­ly on the mar­ket were tes­ted. In Decem­ber, Schwal­be deci­ded in favor of PLANTA. The PLANTA pro­ject, PLANTA port­fo­lio, PLANTA cus­to­mi­zer, PLANTA link com­pon­ents were imple­men­ted. The exis­ting rudi­men­ta­ry Share­Point-solu­ti­on was repla­ced. The tech­ni­cal con­cept for the new soft­ware solu­ti­on was drawn up by Schwa­be them­sel­ves. It was tur­ned into a tech­ni­cal solu­ti­on with the help of a PLANTA consultant.

Rapid Soft­ware Implementation

The soft­ware was imple­men­ted expe­di­tious­ly. Only 5 months pas­sed from the defi­ni­ti­on of the pro­blem up to the decis­i­on for PLANTA, and ano­ther 2.5 months pas­sed until ope­ra­ti­on went live in March 2019.

150–200 employees were invol­ved in the imple­men­ta­ti­on pha­se. The com­pe­tence team for imple­men­ta­ti­on con­sis­ted of two employees from PMO and one employee from orga­niza­ti­on deve­lo­p­ment. Feed­back loops were car­ri­ed out with 10 users.

The new soft­ware sys­tem is used in almost the enti­re cor­po­ra­te group: in the are­as of finan­ce, HR, qua­li­ty, IT, purcha­sing, pro­duc­tion, sup­p­ly chain, infra­struc­tu­re & tech­no­lo­gy. In plan­ning, 50 pro­ject mana­gers and 25 port­fo­lio mana­gers access the PLANTA soft­ware. Main mile­sto­nes allow 300 stake­hol­ders to see the cur­rent sta­tus of their pro­ject at one glan­ce. A resour­ce plan­ning with a quite prag­ma­tic approach is appli­ed, which is pri­ma­ri­ly focu­sed on the num­ber of simul­ta­neous­ly run­ning pro­ject proposals.

Adjus­t­ments Made to PLANTA Standard

To map com­pa­ny spe­ci­fic pro­ces­ses ade­qua­te­ly, some adjus­t­ments have been made to the Stan­dard sys­tem. Schwa­be car­ri­ed out half of the adjus­t­ments them­sel­ves, while the other half was car­ri­ed out by PLANTA: Own pro­ject rolls and other pro­ject types have been defi­ned, views have been chan­ged and the cal­cu­la­ti­on of the pro­ject pha­ses has been sol­ved by means of mile­stone ful­fill­ment. A user data inter­face for rea­ding a CSV file from SAP ERP has been created.

Bene­fit of Soft­ware Implementation

After the new sys­tem has been in ope­ra­ti­on for half a year, the bene­fit can be out­lined as follows:

  • Adhe­rence to sche­du­le has been increased sin­ce the pro­ject sta­tus is more trans­pa­rent now and it is moni­to­red more consequently.
  • The num­ber of simul­ta­neous­ly run­ning pro­jects has been redu­ced. The focus has incre­asing­ly and noti­ce­ab­ly been pla­ced on important projects.
  • Simul­ta­neous­ly run­ning projects/project ide­as with equal tar­get area can be iden­ti­fied and syn­chro­ni­zed ear­lier on.

Ste­fan Bolz (head of pro­ject manage­ment con­sul­ting) sums up the bene­fit as follows:

The increased focus on pro­jects of importance enhan­ces the pro­ject situa­ti­on, espe­ci­al­ly when it comes to adhe­rence to sche­du­le. The pro­jects are now plan­ned, appro­ved, and laun­ched more con­scious­ly. Posi­ti­ve side-effect: the pro­ject pipe­line is trans­pa­rent, ques­ti­ons on requi­red resour­ce pro­vi­si­on in a 3‑year hori­zon can be posed.”

Short Por­trait Dr. Will­mar Schwabe

The Dr. Will­mar Schwa­be com­pa­ny is a glo­bal lea­der in rese­arch, deve­lo­p­ment, and pro­duc­tion of her­bal medi­cinal pro­ducts, cal­led phy­to­phar­maceu­ti­cals. Our inno­va­ti­ve medi­cinal pro­ducts are effec­ti­ve and well tole­ra­ted. The qua­li­ty of our phy­to­phar­maceu­ti­cals is at the hig­hest level: From the natu­ral raw mate­ri­als up to the packa­ged medi­ca­ment, at Dr. Will­mar Schwa­be ever­y­thing comes from a sin­gle source.

Our medi­cinal pro­ducts accom­pa­ny medi­cal the­ra­py with sci­en­ti­fi­cal­ly sub­stan­tia­ted infor­ma­ti­on on the cli­ni­cal pic­tu­re or they sup­port the reco­very pro­cess by means of trai­ning pro­grams. They help pati­ents to help them­sel­ves or pro­vi­de advice on desea­se spe­ci­fic health­ca­re pro­vi­si­on. Dr. Will­mar Schwa­be places the pati­ent in the cen­ter, so you can live a bet­ter life.