Essentra is a leading global provider of essential components and solutions for industries such as equipment manufacturing, automotive, fabrication, electronics and construction. Its Components, Packaging and Filters divisions operate across an international network of 33 countries, with 50 principal manufacturing facilities, 30 sales and distribution operations facilities and 4 research and development centers.
Critical to success
Essentra is a complex international business supported by a wide range of projects. Many are small in scale, but some involve multi-million pound investment, taking a lot of staff time, and take years to deliver. Convinced that effective project management is critical to its profitability and business success, Essentra set up a Group PMO to transform its project management procedures.
“We need one way of working across the world. That requires a central platform where every project can be logged using common processes. Standardization is the only way to get visibility and make sure all projects are aligned to group strategy. We can then see who is working on what project, whether they are on track and on budget, and measure results against objectives.”Stephen Williamson, Global Project Director, Essentra
The Components, Packaging and Filters divisions are responsible for around 70% of business projects at Essentra, with IT delivering the other 30%. IT had a PMO to coordinate its projects on a common platform, but the three divisions used different toolsets across departments and had no common way to report or share project status and resource demands. Essentra needed a central project
management system to support all three business divisions initially, and eventually the IT department to ensure group wide consistency. Stephen Williamson embarked on the journey to identify and implement such a solution.
Accessing the market
“Some of the platforms we looked at were a bit basic for our more complex projects,” says Stephen Williamson. “Others were good for resourcing and managing ongoing projects – time sheeting for example – but weren’t so strong on delivery processes.”
Microsoft Project was always a contender, and as the review progressed, Microsoft Project Online looked like the best fit with Essentra’s requirements. Microsoft introduced Stephen Williamson to CPS, the leading implementation specialist for Microsoft Project Portfolio Management (PPM) technologies in the UK, and a Global PPM Microsoft partner of the year.
"Because edison365projects guides project managers through the main steps with configurable forms, it enforces the process and takes some of the burden away which helps productivity and efficiency.”
Stephen Williamson, Global Project Director, Essentra
As Essentra uses Office 365 as a core Platform, Project Online could be easily integrated with other Microsoft services within the company and finding IT support would not be a problem. Another factor was that most of Essentra’s staff involved in projects had some familiarity
with Microsoft, so learning to use Project Online would be easier.
Essentra appointed CPS to help implement the Microsoft PPM toolset, based on Microsoft Project Online and Microsoft Power BI, with added integration with edison365projects to provide an intuitive and centralized location for all projects to be managed and viewed. The
solution would be delivered in two phases: the three divisions would be first, and the IT department would come on board in phase two.
The integration of edison365projects and Microsoft Project Online enabled a standardized process for IT and PMO teams to follow. With the centralized location and a single sign-on, teams have greater project visibility, making the entire process more efficient.
Understanding the business
CPS set up a series of Discovery Workshops to understand Essentra’s business requirements and priorities. They then ran a one-day Change Management assessment of the current systems landscape, to understand the impact and the depth of training needed for the new solution.
Administration courses are being run for PMO leads, and training for project managers and project team members through to midyear. Both courses are designed so that Essentra can run them internally.
Stephen Williamson says that even at this early stage a number of Essentra projects are using the platform. Reports suggest that staff like using the new standard processes and there have been a number of improvements in project delivery.
Decision making is better informed and faster due to better visibility
Business projects can now be logged and reviewed on a single platform
Standardization delivers improved project delivery and more productive teams
Effective project management is embedded in the corporate ethos.
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