Schweizer Electronic AG
Optimization of project management at Schweizer Electronic AG – lean project processes to support growth
Lean processes and greater efficiency are key to company success
In order to make processes even more precise and efficient, Schweizer Electronic AG from Schramberg in the Black Forest called on the professional support of Ingenics AG. Working together in a series of workshops, the companies developed a lean and sustainable project management system. The results were outlined in a project management manual. By putting this continuous improvement process into action, Schweizer Electronic AG will now be even more efficient at every stage of projects.
- Creation of a project management vision
- Standardization of process steps for all types of projects
- Integration of aspects of quality management from VDA 6.1, TS 16949, and QS 9000
- Development of a project classification system
- Revision of project roles as well as paths of communication and escalation
- Reorganization of the committee structure
- Development of a project management manual
The management team at Schweizer Electronic AG in Schramberg believed that leaner processes in project management were the key to securing continued growth in the long term. As a result of sustained growth in recent years, an increasing number of contracts had to be dealt with by the same number of staff and using the same physical resources. However, the company was coming close to its limits unless structures were changed. In order to ensure optimal reliability in terms of delivery dates and to make processes as effective and resource-efficient as possible given the anticipated continued increase in demand, work began to establish a project to optimize project management with Ingenics AG acting as a supporting partner.
The defined target was to make project management processes at Schweizer Electronic AG more efficient and effective with respect to customer projects as well as plans to develop in-house IT and organization. In this sense, it was necessary to allow processes to be individually adapted to a wide range of projects. Consultants from Ingenics worked with the team at Schweizer to develop structures and methods that would serve as a basis for future projects. Although individual project stages are sometimes very similar, especially at the start and at the end, there are significant differences in other phases.
In line with the defined goal, the experts from Ingenics began by analyzing established processes. Individual interviews and group discussions were carried out to identify which steps in the workflow offered the most promising potential for optimization. Building on this, a series of workshops was arranged with the highly committed team at Schweizer to arrive at suggestions for improvement. Workshop groups consisted of those involved in projects on the one hand and the decision-makers who would later have to support the results on the other hand. With respect to project progress – an overview of completed and outstanding tasks and decisions – the required level of transparency was desired by everyone involved and created by participants themselves. A piece of web-based project management software was used as a solution.
As in many other projects, the team of consultants found that all the necessary templates and forms for the effective control of project processes already existed at Schweizer. However the variety of paperwork prevented straightforward coordination because each department or project director had developed separate guidelines for the respective team. This caused confusion in the processing of information and varying levels of knowledge among staff in different departments. Standardization, including the methods used by project directors, became a central task of the project. In the future, employees will receive detailed information about projects and processes thanks to integrated reporting procedures, defined responsibilities, and clear rules for communication and escalation, ensuring a consistent level of knowledge.
With greater transparency in processes, project directors are in a better position to assess overall project progress more quickly and to identify any deviations from the defined process at an early stage. As a result, the workload involved in areas such as readjusting and correcting courses of action can be significantly reduced depending on the type and scale of the project in question. The easier it is to trace project progress, the more accurately this can be evaluated by parties such as decision-making committees.
Since members of the Executive Board were closely involved throughout the optimization phase and kept abreast of all the relevant intermediate results, important decisions could be made in an efficient manner. The Ingenics team worked with the Executive Board to develop a project management vision for the company. If not before, staff became aware of the high importance of the project and the improvement process due to the involvement of senior management.