All Resour­ces in Deve­lo­p­ment Pro­jects at a Glance

Chan­ge from Micro­soft Excel to the PLANTA Process

Yamai­chi Elec­tro­nics, a Japa­ne­se manu­fac­tu­rer of elec­tro­me­cha­ni­cal elec­tro­nic com­pon­ents, opti­mi­zes its deve­lo­p­ment, cus­to­mer, and chan­ge pro­jects — also in the cour­se of indi­vi­du­al cus­to­mer deve­lo­p­ment — with the pro­ject and pro­ject port­fo­lio manage­ment sys­tem pro­vi­ded by PLANTA. Yamai­chi Elec­tro­nics pro­vi­des seve­ral sec­tors like indus­try, auto­mo­ti­ve, semi­con­duc­tors, and medi­cal tech­no­lo­gy with its plug con­nec­tors. Yamai­chi Elec­tro­nics’ par­ti­cu­lar chall­enge: keep an over­view in the face of num­e­rous pro­jects, sin­ce indi­vi­du­al resour­ces are plan­ned in up to 25 pro­jects simultaneously.

Using PLANTA sin­ce 2015

In the rese­arch cen­ters in Munich, Ger­ma­ny, and Sous­se, Tune­sia, as well as at the pro­duc­tion site in Frankfurt/Oder, Ger­ma­ny, PLANTA soft­ware assists approx. 10 pro­ject mana­ger­s/­mul­ti-pro­ject mana­gers in pro­ject plan­ning and con­trol­ling. The fol­lo­wing sys­tems are used: PLANTA Pro­ject, PLANTA Port­fo­lio and PLANTA Cus­to­mi­zer. Indi­vi­du­al reports and a modu­le for pro­fi­ta­bi­li­ty ana­ly­sis were crea­ted by means of adjus­t­ments. The­re is some­thing pecu­li­ar about Yamaichi’s resour­ce plan­ning: in order to ensu­re an opti­mum uti­liza­ti­on of test devices, such devices are plan­ned as skill resour­ces in pro­jects as well. Pro­jects for mass pro­ducts are plan­ned with prio­ri­ty in the Con­nec­tor Solu­ti­ons area. The typi­cal pro­ject dura­ti­on is 6–24 months. More than 100 employees from the core are­as of dis­tri­bu­ti­on, pro­duct manage­ment, and engi­nee­ring are invol­ved in the­se pro­jects. Pro­duc­tion takes place in Yamaichi’s own fac­to­ry or in exter­nal fac­to­ries (focus on Asia). The­re are appro­xi­m­ate­ly 60 to 70 deve­lo­p­ment pro­jects run­ning simul­ta­neous­ly. Indi­vi­du­al pro­ducts are deve­lo­ped in the Test Solu­ti­ons area in about 250 pro­jects per year. Here, the typi­cal pro­ject dura­ti­on is 6–8 weeks.

Easy Pro­ject Manage­ment Wit­hout Adhe­rence to Appr­oval Process

Befo­re the imple­men­ta­ti­on of PLANTA Pro­ject, pro­jects were plan­ned with Micro­soft Excel and a simp­le CRM sys­tem. Only simp­le pro­ject manage­ment was pos­si­ble. The­re were no stan­dar­di­zed date and resour­ce plans in Excel or Open­Proj. Pro­jects were con­trol­led via check­lists and open items in Excel. The stra­te­gic direc­tion of the port­fo­lio was defi­ned in “road map mee­tings” with the com­pa­ny manage­ment. Port­fo­lio manage­ment was done in “prio­ri­ty mee­tings” on the basis of an Excel list. Urgent mat­ters had prio­ri­ty while litt­le con­side­ra­ti­on was given to other pro­jects. Sin­ce the soft­ware made it easy to bypass the appr­oval pro­cess, pro­jects could be star­ted on call. The pro­ject mana­ger was regard­ed as a “boos­ter” in the first place.

Objec­ti­ves or Desi­res of a PM Soft­ware Implementation?

By imple­men­ting the PM soft­ware of Karls­ru­he based soft­ware com­pa­ny PLANTA, Yamai­chi Elec­tro­nics expec­ted to see the fol­lo­wing improvements:

  • Bet­ter pre­dic­ta­bi­li­ty of the pro­ject port­fo­lio deve­lo­p­ment (dates, cos­ts, quality)
  • Bet­ter pre­dic­ta­bi­li­ty of sin­gle pro­jects (dates, cos­ts, quality)
  • Impro­ved pro­ject lead times
  • More pro­fes­sio­nal hand­ling of pro­jects due to impro­ved pro­ject management
  • More effi­ci­ent use of resour­ces — also test devices — in indi­vi­du­al pro­jects as well as in the port­fo­lio (by prioritization)
  • Bet­ter rea­liza­ti­on of defi­ned pro­ject processes
  • More effec­ti­ve pro­ject sel­ec­tion with respect to rea­liza­bi­li­ty of the com­pa­ny strategy
  • More effec­ti­ve pro­ject sel­ec­tion with respect to the­ques­ti­on of “How can I achie­ve opti­mal tur­no­ver from the resour­ces available?”

Same stan­dard for each project

Nine months pas­sed from kick­off to defi­ni­ti­on and rea­liza­ti­on of adjus­t­ments to roll­out and migra­ti­on of all pro­jects inclu­ding sub­pro­jects to PLANTA: the roll­out for the Con­nec­tor Solu­ti­ons area took from April 2014 to Janu­ary 2015. The Excel tem­pla­tes were repla­ced. Now each deve­lo­p­ment pro­ject is car­ri­ed out in PLANTA by the same stan­dards with sche­du­le, check­list, and pro­cess model. The deve­lo­p­ment resour­ces are plan­ned, the prio­ri­tiza­ti­on is done on the basis of resour­ce plan­ning and com­mer­cial details in PLANTA and in the future also with objec­ti­ve value con­tri­bu­ti­on and risk values.

Imple­men­ta­ti­on of Pro­cess Model Sol­ves All Problems

Mat­thi­as Möst (pro­ject mana­ger for Con­nec­tor Solu­ti­ons at Yamai­chi Elec­tro­nics) descri­bes the bene­fits of the soft­ware imple­men­ta­ti­on as follows:

“The imple­men­ta­ti­on of the PLANTA pro­ject appr­oval pro­cess is one of the grea­test impro­ve­ments. All pro­jects are star­ted with adhe­rence to the same rules (idea — pro­po­sal — pro­ject). This pro­cess is sus­tained con­ti­nuous­ly and can no lon­ger be bypassed.”

The sales force crea­tes an idea with all infor­ma­ti­on requi­red to make fur­ther decis­i­ons. The pro­duct mana­ger deci­des whe­ther it is a “reasonable” idea and all infor­ma­ti­on is real­ly available. He/she then turns the idea into a pro­po­sal. The decis­i­on whe­ther a pro­po­sal is tur­ned into a pro­ject and when it is to be laun­ched is deci­ded on the basis of check cri­te­ria. Befo­re the appr­oval of the pro­ject, no hours are work­ed for the pro­ject (no work reporting).

Yamai­chi Elec­tro­nics Con­clu­si­on: Actual­ly Achie­ved Objectives

  • Bet­ter rea­liza­ti­on of defi­ned pro­ject processes
  • Impro­ved pro­ject manage­ment and the­r­e­fo­re a more pro­fes­sio­nal hand­ling of projects
  • More effi­ci­ent use of resour­ces in indi­vi­du­al pro­jects as well as in the port­fo­lio (by prioritization)
  • Bet­ter pre­dic­ta­bi­li­ty of sin­gle pro­jects (dates, cos­ts, quality)
  • Sepa­ra­ti­on by ide­as, pro­po­sals, and pro­jects was a real milestone
  • Resour­ce plan­ning is con­ti­nuous­ly implemented
  • All pro­ject plan­ning is done in one program