Bet­ter Over­view in Pro­ject Business

Iden­ti­fy depen­den­ci­es in mul­ti-pro­ject management

Ketek pro­du­ces sili­con drift detec­tors which are even used on Mars. Befo­re they star­ted to use mul­ti-pro­ject manage­ment soft­ware PLANTA, the manu­fac­tu­rer used Micro­soft Pro­ject, Excel, Power­Point, and OneN­ote for its rese­arch and deve­lo­p­ment pro­jects. This working method, howe­ver, did not allow for a com­ple­te overview.

Dif­fe­rent stu­dies pro­ve that more than half of the com­pa­nies in the mid-sized sec­tor does not use a pro­fes­sio­nal pro­ject manage­ment soft­ware and many work steps are hand­led manu­al­ly. Like Ketek, many com­pa­nies are, howe­ver, rea­dy to invest in a sus­tainable pro­ject manage­ment solu­ti­on. The bene­fit of such soft­ware for busi­ness suc­cess has been pro­ven for a long time now: mee­ting dead­lines more easi­ly, reac­ting more quick­ly to chan­ges in the pro­ject, adhe­ring to the bud­get, and orga­ni­zing pro­ject tasks in a more effi­ci­ent way.

Objec­ti­ve of the Soft­ware Implementation

Bes­i­des incre­asing the trans­pa­ren­cy of their pro­jects, the cen­tra­liza­ti­on and stan­dar­diza­ti­on of pro­ject data were important objec­ti­ves for Ketek: ever­y­thing should be plan­ned in one sin­gle tool. Fur­ther­mo­re, they wan­ted the com­pa­ny-spe­ci­fic pro­ces­ses to be map­ped via pro­cess models. A third objec­ti­ve, name­ly resour­ce manage­ment, was even­tual­ly discarded.

Ketek employs 110 peo­p­le and intents to use the new pro­ject manage­ment soft­ware for a volu­me of 15 pro­ject mana­gers and five mul­ti-pro­ject mana­gers, 80 repor­ters (50 reci­pi­ents of ins­truc­tions), and 15 stake­hol­ders in the com­pa­ny are­as of plant and pro­duct deve­lo­p­ment (F&E), pro­duct chan­ge manage­ment (very small pro­jects), time recor­ding for deve­lo­p­ment depart­ments, as well as inno­va­ti­on or idea management.
An avera­ge of 30 pro­jects was plan­ned in par­al­lel for a run time of about two to three years, and in addi­ti­on 130 very small pro­jects with a run time no lon­ger than six months were plan­ned. The deve­lo­p­ment of semi­con­duc­ters takes a gre­at deal of time but requi­res few resour­ces, resul­ting in a lar­ge num­ber of par­al­lel projects.

An inter­nal com­pe­tence team sear­ched for a solution

An inter­nal com­pe­tence team was for­med in order to find the right solu­ti­on on the vast mar­ket for PM sys­tems. The team con­sis­ted of one per­son each from the sec­tor of qua­li­ty manage­ment, pro­ject manage­ment, pro­duct manage­ment, as well as a refe­rence pro­ject mana­ger. The focus was on the solu­ti­on of three cen­tral pro­blems: Each pro­ject mana­ger uses its own tool; fin­ding pro­ject infor­ma­ti­on wit­hout tal­king to the pro­ject mana­ger was vir­tual­ly impos­si­ble; and sin­ce they lacked of a com­pre­hen­si­ve over­view, it was extre­me­ly dif­fi­cult to har­mo­ni­ze pro­ject plans. The initi­al plan was to use the soft­ware in three are­as of appli­ca­ti­on: gene­ra­ti­on of a pro­ject over­view, effi­ci­ent pro­ject and task manage­ment, and time recording.

Rapid Soft­ware Implementation

After having defi­ned the pro­blems, six months pas­sed until a decis­i­on was made to use the new pro­ject manage­ment soft­ware. After ano­ther 12 months, with the par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on of about a dozen employees, the imple­men­ta­ti­on of the new PM sys­tem was com­ple­ted. The soft­ware went live in Janu­ary 2020. The crea­ti­on of an own solu­ti­on was out of the ques­ti­on. The com­pa­ny took a clo­se look at dif­fe­rent pro­ducts available on the mar­ket and even­tual­ly deci­ded in favor of the pro­ject manage­ment soft­ware of PLANTA. The exis­ting solu­ti­on was aban­do­ned and only the inter­nal wiki for docu­men­ta­ti­on and Micro­soft Busi­ness Cen­tral (BC) will still be used as ERP sys­tem for accoun­ting (orders, sto­rage, cos­ts, bud­get, etc.); the time recor­ding of all employees (inclu­ding tho­se who do not use PLANTA) are coll­ec­ted the­re. Hours recor­ded via PLANTA link are expor­ted to BC. BC is also used for an appr­oval pro­cess for absence as well as for the recor­ding of extra hours.

Dif­fe­rent Components

The PLANTA pro­ject, port­fo­lio, cus­to­mi­zer, and link com­pon­ents were imple­men­ted. pro­ject and port­fo­lio are tools for ope­ra­ti­ve and stra­te­gic mul­ti-pro­ject manage­ment, pul­se is a tool for agi­le pro­ject and task manage­ment as well as hybrid pro­ject manage­ment, cus­to­mi­zer and link are used for cus­to­mer-indi­vi­du­al adjus­t­ments and interfaces.
The soft­ware pro­vi­des Ketek with exten­si­ve opti­ons for embed­ding their own com­pa­ny pro­ces­ses via con­fi­gura­ble inter­faces and indi­vi­du­al­ly adjus­ta­ble pro­ces­ses. Inter­faces to the ERP were crea­ted for pro­ject num­bers, time recor­ding, and vaca­ti­on calen­dar. Cus­to­mi­zings were crea­ted to increase con­ve­ni­ence and enhan­ce pro­ces­ses. An own pro­ject type was crea­ted for very small pro­jects while a distinc­tion was made bet­ween chan­ge pro­jects, pre­ven­ti­ve and cor­rec­ti­ve projects.

logo ketek referenzkunde planta

PLANTA, used sin­ce 2020

Bene­fit of Soft­ware Implementation

After having used the new pro­ject manage­ment sys­tem for two years, the bene­fits have long beco­me appa­rent and the users are quite satis­fied. The main reasons for which Ketek made its decis­i­on for PLANTA in the sel­ec­tion pro­cess, are the following:

  • Ran­ge of func­tions and basic structure
  • Sup­port from the com­pa­ny from Karlsruhe
  • Adju­s­ta­bi­li­ty

Apart from file sto­rage, all rele­vant pro­ject infor­ma­ti­on and mee­ting pro­to­cols are stored in PLANTA, making pro­jects more easi­ly acces­si­ble. Pro­ject time recor­ding works well.

Wolf-Georg Pich­ler (respon­si­ble for pro­ject manage­ment at KETEK) descri­bed the bene­fits as fol­lows: „Our grea­test bene­fit is to have a “cle­ar­ly struc­tu­red” mul­ti pro­ject manage­ment. All pro­jects are stored cen­tral­ly in PLANTA. The col­le­agues now have a bet­ter pro­ject over­view and can plan depen­den­ci­es bet­ween the projects.” 

Brief Por­trait of KETEK

KETEK is the world’s lea­ding manu­fac­tu­rer of sili­con drift detec­tors, which are used for a sheer­ly infi­ni­te ran­ge of appli­ca­ti­on in indus­tri­al mate­ri­al anly­sis. SDDs can be found in X‑ray fluo­re­s­cence spec­tro­me­ters and elec­tron micro­sco­pes and faci­li­ta­te count­less mate­ri­al rese­arch expe­reim­ents around the glo­be and even on Mars.