Opti­mi­ze Pro­ject Process

Digi­ta­liza­ti­on for more trans­pa­ren­cy budget

The imple­men­ta­ti­on of a pro­ject manage­ment soft­ware allo­wed the Max Frank cor­po­ra­te group to estab­lish a trans­pa­rent bud­get pro­cess for all invest­ment pro­jects, espe­ci­al­ly in the area of pro­duct deve­lo­p­ment. The opti­mi­zed pro­ject pro­ces­sing allows for a more pre­cise cost con­trol, effi­ci­ent date track­ing and sub­stan­ti­al­ly con­tri­bu­tes to the impro­ve­ment of pro­ces­ses and the enhance­ment of effi­ci­en­cy in the enti­re company.

Max Frank made their choice in favor of the sec­tor-inde­pen­dent pro­ject manage­ment sys­tem PLANTA pro­ject which they use across all of their depart­ments to opti­mi­ze their pro­ject pro­cess. The pro­jects they plan are main­ly deve­lo­p­ment pro­jects for num­e­rous tech­no­lo­gy pro­ducts in the fer­ro­con­cre­te sec­tor as well as inter­nal con­s­truc­tion pro­jects and new purcha­ses within the cor­po­ra­te group. New pro­po­sals and pro­jects are crea­ted in the sys­tem for plan­ning the bud­get of the fol­lo­wing years and to main­tain them in terms of investments.

Pro­blem Defi­ni­ti­on Befo­re the Imple­men­ta­ti­on of the New IT System

Befo­re the imple­men­ta­ti­on of the new PM soft­ware, the­re were various chal­lenges to be tack­led in the area of pro­ject manage­ment. The­se chal­lenges con­cer­ned miss­ing pro­ject struc­tures as well as the con­trol­ling of cos­ts and dates. Pro­jects were plan­ned with Excel lists which lead to miss­ing struc­tures, inef­fi­ci­ent mul­ti-pro­ject manage­ment and vary­ing working methods on the part of the pro­ject mana­gers. It was dif­fi­cult to have a pre­cise cost con­trol­ling and a clear map­ping of the bud­get pro­cess was miss­ing. Pro­ject infor­ma­ti­on like the cur­rent pro­ject sta­tus and delays were not com­mu­ni­ca­ted sufficiently.

The pro­blem resi­ded in the absence of a uni­form soft­ware solu­ti­on and com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on plat­form which could be used by all depart­ments. The iso­la­ted pro­ce­du­res of the pro­ject mana­gers pre­ven­ted the estab­lish­ment of a real flow of infor­ma­ti­on for rele­vant pro­ject infor­ma­ti­on and the­re was a cer­tain lack in pro­ject defi­ni­ti­ons as well as in accep­tance for struc­tu­red pro­ject management.

Pro­ject Pro­cess: Trans­pa­rent Over­view of Cur­rent Projects

The most important objec­ti­ve was to impro­ve pro­ces­ses by crea­ting a trans­pa­rent over­view of ongo­ing plans and pro­jects to impro­ve pro­ject manage­ment and iden­ti­fy pro­jects that could not be imple­men­ted. Fur­ther­mo­re, the respon­si­ble mana­gers at Max Frank wan­ted to achie­ve bet­ter cost con­trol­ling to allow bud­gets to be mana­ged in a com­pa­ny-ori­en­ted way over a 3‑year plan, as well as impro­ved date track­ing, prio­ri­tiza­ti­on of pro­jects and dis­car­ding of pro­po­sals that do not meet the objec­ti­ves. Ano­ther goal was to impro­ve the gene­ral con­trol of acqui­si­ti­ons and deve­lo­p­ments within the 17 com­pa­nies of the inter­na­tio­nal­ly acti­ve cor­po­ra­te group.

Adjus­t­ments to Each Indi­vi­du­al Pro­ject Process

An inter­nal pro­ject team con­sis­ting of repre­sen­ta­ti­ves of pro­duct manage­ment, IT, Cen­tral Admi­nis­tra­ti­on Ope­ra­ti­ons (PMO), pro­duc­tion, purcha­ses, and the ERP area deve­lo­ped and veri­fied dif­fe­rent solu­ti­ons which are on the mar­ket befo­re making a decis­i­on in favor of PLANTA. The com­pa­ny imple­men­ted the PLANTA pro­ject, port­fo­lio, and cus­to­mi­zer, com­pon­ents and later also PLANTA link, which ser­ves to set up inter­faces to exter­nal sys­tems, and PLANTA pul­se which is used for task manage­ment and the recor­ding of hours worked.

The soft­ware suite allows com­pa­nies of all sec­tors to make adjus­t­ments to their indi­vi­du­al pro­ject pro­ces­ses, which enab­led Max Frank to map their enti­re bud­get pro­ces­ses in the sys­tem. Fur­ther­mo­re the PM tool of the Karls­ru­he-based soft­ware com­pa­ny pro­vi­des an opti­on for com­bi­ning dif­fe­rent pro­ject plan­ning methods like Scrum cas­ca­de. This allows you to use agi­le task manage­ment and tra­di­tio­nal pro­ject plan­ning in your pro­jects depen­ding on the respec­ti­ve requi­re­ments. Max Frank use both methods, plan­ning some pro­jects in a hybrid way (out­line and bud­get plan­ning in PLANTA pro­ject, tasks in PLANTA pul­se), while plan­ning other pro­jects in an enti­re­ly agi­le fashion, e.g. regu­lar mee­tings, edi­to­ri­al plans, orga­niza­ti­on of cate­ring, as well as smal­ler projects.

Going Live within Only Six Months

The stan­dard sys­tem has been adapt­ed to meet the com­pa­ny-spe­ci­fic requi­re­ments. An inter­face to the ERP sys­tem has been set up to import actu­al cos­ts and assign them to the right tasks in the pro­jects. Adapt­a­ti­ons for cus­to­mer-spe­ci­fic pha­se chan­ges were rea­li­zed via cus­to­mi­zing, indi­vi­du­al fields were inte­gra­ted in pro­ject core data, and par­ti­cu­lar report­ing requi­re­ments for the bud­get sta­tus were rea­li­zed. From the time the decis­i­on was made in favor of PLANTA, it took 6 months until the sys­tem was rea­dy to go into live ope­ra­ti­on. The new soft­ware sys­tem con­vin­ces by its clear over­view of all pro­jects and pro­po­sals which are grou­ped by area, recor­ding of hours work­ed, over­view of actu­al cos­ts and capa­ci­ty plan­ning as well as by the map­ping of the bud­get process.

Bet­ter Over­view, Defi­ned Pro­ject Pro­cess</ h3>

The new IT solu­ti­on is used in all com­pa­nies of the Max Frank cor­po­ra­te group, from admi­nis­tra­ti­on through to pro­duc­tion. Max Frank has about 800 employees. Some 65 employees work direct­ly with the new plan­ning tool. The sys­tem has alre­a­dy been imple­men­ted at the com­pa­ny loca­ti­ons in Leiblfing, Pres­sig and Aus­tria; the imple­men­ta­ti­on at the Max Frank loca­ti­ons in the UK and Switz­er­land is still pending.

The imple­men­ta­ti­on of the new soft­ware has hel­ped us to tack­le the chal­lenges in Max Frank’s pro­ject manage­ment and to estab­lish an effi­ci­ent bud­get pro­cess. Pre­vious­ly exis­ting pro­blems have been resol­ved suc­cessful­ly. PLANTA is now used in the enti­re cor­po­ra­te group and, as the main pro­ject manage­ment sys­tem, it has been met with accep­tance. All pro­po­sals and pro­jects are map­ped in the sys­tem and are rea­li­zed accor­ding to a pre­de­fi­ned pro­cess. The­re is a bet­ter over­view of chan­ges in pro­jects, dates, and budget.