4-page Case Study - Posted 1/3/2013
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Automotive Companys IT Function Completes 98 Percent Projects on Time Streamlines Project Management
Samvardhana Motherson Reflectec (SMR), one of the largest manufacturers of rearview mirrors for passenger cars in the world, manages around 150 IT projects worldwide. The company wanted integrated project management tools that could scale globally
and were flexible enough to handle these diverse projects. It also needed a way to gain greater visibility, efficiency, and accuracy in project management. SMR chose to implement Microsoft Enterprise Project Management (EPM) solution, which gives project managers
a centralized repository for all project-related information. The EPM solution has streamlined total work management while providing better project visibility and control. It enables staff to address project-related issues quickly and effectively. Project
accuracy has increased and SMR is now completing 98 percent projects on time.
||… Since implementing the solution, we are doing 20 percent more projects and completing 80 percent on time. Another 18 percent are completed with less than 10 percent deviation and only two percent have more than 10 percent deviation…
| Gaurav Gulati
Global Chief Information Officer, SMR
Samvardhana Motherson Reflectec (SMR), a member of Samvardhana Motherson Group, is focused on developing, producing, and distributing rear vision systems for the international automotive industry. SMR is one of the largest manufacturers of external rearview
mirrors for passenger cars in the world. The group supplies exterior mirrors, interior mirrors, and blind spot detection systems for all passenger vehicle segments to nearly every carmaker in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. With a world-wide network
of manufacturing plants, design centers, and representative offices in 5 continents, SMR is ‘local’ to more than 80 percent of the global automotive industry.
SMR’s global IT team of around 100 employees manages about 150 projects annually across 14 countries. However, it was becoming more difficult for its managers to oversee multiple projects happening halfway around the world. The company had no central project
management system to keep track of project details and identify where projects were in need of more focused attention. The use of Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheets was just not sufficient to keep track of a growing number of increasingly complex projects.
Chrisophe Sib, Director ERP, SMR explains, “Each project had an excel sheet that was used for all coordination and tracking purposes. If it was a global rollout which involved for instance 20 plants across countries, multiple sheets and sub sheets were used
for tracking projects. These were uploaded on a SharePoint collaboration server from where users could download their version, update it, and upload it back.”
There were lots of issues involved with versions getting mixed up or someone accidently changing some sheet. And as these excel sheets had read and write permissions to many users, it was very difficult to do rights management while working on it. In addition,
it was a sequential task. If someone had checked out a file then others had to wait for the person to upload it back before using it. Multiple users could not access the file at the same point of time.
Non availability of live data, decentralized resource management, and slow communication in respect of project documents and data synchronization were challenges that were on the rise. Overall, data issues were increasing and it was hard to keep track of
what was going on and who was doing what.
Gaurav Gulati, Global Chief Information Officer, SMR says, “As the head of global IT functions, it was very difficult for me to ascertain the current status of a project in a particular country. If a project is stuck, figuring out at what task is it stuck
and what is the bottleneck that needs to be addressed was a challenge. The idea was to complete the project on time and within cost.”
To consistently deliver on its commitments, SMR needed comprehensive project management skills, tools, and processes. The company needed a simple solution that would help it manage the total workflow.
||Previously, we needed a full time data entry person to compile information to generate reports… if there were any issues the whole process had to be redone. Now we have it all in front of us. Everything is centralized in the EPM solution.
Executives receive a weekly dashboard status report, which helps them plan ahead.
| Christophe Sib
Director Enterprise Resource Planning, SMR
SMR wanted to overcome its challenges by virtue of technology not people. The company evaluated available technology providers and ultimately decided that Microsoft Office Enterprise Project Management (EPM) Solution was the best fit for the company. It
believed that a collaborative, centralized, and scalable project management solution would fit in with its overall strategy very well. SMR took the decision with the help of MothersonSumi INfotech & Designs Limited, a Microsoft technology partner.
The Microsoft EPM solution includes Microsoft Project Server 2010 and Microsoft Project Professional 2010. It also integrates tightly with Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. It provides project managers a set of tools to effectively manage projects of any
size, including the correct allocation of people, money, and materials. “The key features and functions of Microsoft Project mapped to our requirements and were well suited to our geographically dispersed project teams,” says Alexander Fritz, Manager, SMR.
“The solution also offered seamless integration with the Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange infrastructure.”
EPM implementation gave a new look to the projects. The solution helps manage project workflows, improve project reporting, and resource forecasting within the various business functions. This result in close collaboration that saves time and effort spent
in gathering information from various departments.
SMR started the EPM deployment in September 2011 and the implementation was completed in November 2011. Currently, the solution is available to employees of the IT department.
On a more detailed level, the out-of-the-box features of the EPM solution standardize project schedules and provide a common project workspace to both managers and users. The solution gives SMR a more detailed level of reporting for improved business tracking
and analysis. The automated reports help teams to stay up-to-date on tasks and timelines.
After the implementation, the IT team has taken up various projects and successfully managed them to completion. Some of the projects undertaken include revamping the security framework worldwide and upgrading the ERP system across.
Another project undertaken was the vendor management portal, which was also complex because of business user involvement and tasks related to them. “The whole project was coordinated by local IT people, even business interactions were done by them,” explains
Christophe Sib. “There were hundreds of sub tasks in a hierarchical fashion as each IT coordinator was assigned a task, which could be further delegated to a business user or a junior member working on the project. This user will primarily login every couple
of days and update the status of the task in terms of the percentage completion. And if there are any concerns he will raise them in the remarks section, and he will keep on updating it.”
The IT team also built rules which send alerts if a task is not updated. For example, if 80 percent project timeline is complete and the project status is not showing that kind of completion, an alert is sent. Gaurav Gulati explains, “At a central level
we know which project is running at which level. Additionally, with respect to planned timelines, we know whether a project is going earlier or is running late or is on time.”
Eventually, SMR also plans to expand use of Project Server 2010 to other departments. The company’s approach was that the IT team should adopt it as an internal tool and then show it to other departments where it would be relevant. The Engineering team has
partially started using the solution. Like IT, the Engineering team is also spread across locations with Germany being the anchor engineering center. “The idea was to showcase running solutions with IT being the end user, rather than telling them that there
is tool which can work for them,” says Gaurav.
“We’re very happy with the EPM solution as it gives us a platform to improve our project management processes,” says Eusebio Lluesma, Manager EDI, SMR. “We have a much better view of our projects including major milestones, risks, and issues associated with
Since deploying its new solution, SMR has gained a common project management language across the company. The EPM solution has streamlined companywide project management, increased employee efficiency, and improved team collaboration. Christophe says, “With
improved project insight we can better manage our diverse portfolio of projects. It ultimately leads to better business decisions and increased productivity.”
Cuts Project Management Time, Completes Projects Faster
The company was putting a lot of effort while using Excel sheets as a methodology for project management. Only 60 percent of the projects were completed on time. 25 percent projects were completed with 10 percent variation and another 15 percent went over
10 percent variations. Gaurav Gulati says, “We are now able to manage more projects and in better ways with the EPM solution. Since implementing the solution, we are doing 20 percent more projects and completing 80 percent on time. Another 18 percent are completed
with less than 10 percent deviation and only two percent have more than 10 percent deviation. Overall, 98 percent of our projects are on time and with less than 10 percent deviation.”
Cuts Reporting Compliance Time
The EPM solution has increased reporting accuracy and reduced the time needed to compile the reports. “Previously, we needed a full time data entry person to compile information to generate reports,” explains Christophe. “The manual effort and the time spent
in the whole process were mammoth. Additionally, if there were any issues, the whole process had to be redone. Now we have it all in front of us. Everything is centralized in the EPM solution. Executives receive a weekly dashboard status report, which helps
them plan ahead.”
Delivers Stronger Project Governance
SMR uses the EPM solution to gain better visibility into projects. Poor access to information and lack of consistency are now a thing of the past. With the unified project and portfolio management system, the company has a better understanding of projects
and thus more control over them. Szabolcs Takacs, Manager, SMR says, “It was important for us to have full control of all of our activities so that we could track our progress in a timely manner. With the EPM solution we can now see project status accurately
and in real time. With much clearer visibility into tasks, resources, issues, and deliverables, we can shape future contracting and distribution strategies. Also, timely identification of concern areas helps in timely corrective action and on time project
Improves Resource Management
With Project Server 2010, SMR has vastly improved its resource management. Project data is updated automatically and stored in one place. Managers have real-time visibility on the utilization and allocation of project resources. Gaurav explains, “It was
very important for us to have full control of our activities so that we could track our projects. With this solution we can better plan and forecast project work, providing more meaningful insight across the project portfolio.”
Microsoft Project Server 2010
Microsoft Project Server 2010 brings together the business collaboration platform services of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 with structured execution capabilities to provide flexible work management solutions. Project Server 2010 unifies project and portfolio
management to help organizations align resources and investments with business priorities, gain control across all types of work, and visualize performance through powerful dashboards.
For more information about Microsoft Project Server 2010, go to:
About MothersonSumi INfotech & Designs Limited
MothersonSumi INfotech & Designs Limited (MIND) is a top-tier CMM level 5 company, specialized in providing end-to-end IT solutions including application development, integration, testing, and maintenance services. It caters to a diverse set of industry
verticals which includes the market leaders from Government, Automotive, Manufacturing, Health Care, Travel, and Education sectors.
For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or
hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
For more information about Samvardhana Motherson Reflectec (SMR), visit the website at: www.smr-automotive.com
For more information about MothersonSumi INfotech & Designs Limited, visit the website at: www.mind-infotech.com
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