+++ GEDA Scales New Heights with TPG QuickStart +++ How the Company Improved Project Management using MS Project Server in a Short Time +++
Looking at some of the impressive renovation projects GEDA has been involved in, it is clear the Bavaria-based company is highly experienced at what it does. In fact, GEDA’s experience in specialized lifts and hoists for construction projects goes back 90 years. The company has two principal divisions: temporary hoists and permanent hoists.
While the temporary lifts can be seen around the world on building renovation projects, the permanent type is installed on a variety of facilities, including oil refineries, power plants and silos.
By using the TPG QuickStart package based on Microsoft Project Server, GEDA managed to achieve more transparency, speed and effectiveness in its resource planning across its multiple projects. A higher level of customer satisfaction was another bonus of the new system.
A Quick Overview of this Customer Story
The Company: For over 90 years in the construction machinery sector GEDA has stood for competence, safety and quality. It has a broad product portfolio ranging from small 60kg winch up to 3.7-ton personnel and material hoists with lifting heights of up to 400m. GEDA comprises two main business units: temporary hoists (used for building renovations) and permanent hoists used in several sectors (e.g. power plants) to provide access for workers and materials.
The Challenge: GEDA’s permanent hoist division is relatively new and has enjoyed a rapid growth in orders over the last few years. The company used Microsoft Project Client to manage its first few projects. However, with the rapid increase in orders and interdependencies due to the fact that resources often work on several projects in parallel, GEDA decided to scale up to a more powerful project management solution underpinned by a database.
The Solution: With relatively little internal project management experience, GEDA looked for a solution that would have fast results while remaining cost-effective and quick to implement. Having viewed TPG’s introductory videos on YouTube, the GEDA project team shortlisted TPG QuickStart and another solution. Their decision was based on the solution’s proven use in dozens of other companies, as well as on TPG’s customer reference list .
The Benefits: The first benefit has been increased resource planning transparency with the help of new processes that TPG helped design and implement. Resource planning is also much faster and more effective now, enabling tasks to be assigned to individual project team members quickly and easily. In addition, customers have already noticed a more coordinated and better organized approach to the management of their GEDA projects.
Customization Creates More Complex Projects
Compared to serial production, GEDA’s permanent installations need to be more adaptable and flexible. They are customized to suit the relevant project and the type of usage the customer requires. The production of permanent hoists demands considerable effort – from the hoist design and project planning to installation of the completed products, GEDA customers receive everything from a single source.
GEDA’s project-oriented business for permanent hoists is relatively young and already very successful. Since 2010, the orders have kept on coming in – more and more as the months go by. However, the company had no standardized project planning tool in-house, so its rapid growth made efficient project management increasingly challenging.
Notes Magnus Römer, project manager at GEDA: “Some of our colleagues in the line departments had a little experience of professional project management, but for most of us it was unexplored territory.
“Another challenge was that many of our projects are interlinked in terms of the resources working on them, and this sometimes led to unsatisfactory capacity utilization. We talked to our customers about our intention to professionalize our PM processes, and several of them suggested Microsoft Project. We started out in 2013 with Microsoft Project Client and to start with all was well.”
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Microsoft Project Client Was Not Enough
While Microsoft Project Client was well suited to the initial projects, GEDA needed a more powerful solution to better manage the interdependency situation, resource utilization and the growth in the number of projects. The project management team at GEDA started researching solutions that were better adapted to their booming business.
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Magnus Römer: “There were a lot of potential providers out there, but once we found The Project Group (TPG) and its videos on YouTube, we had a much better idea of where we needed to be heading.”
The team noted that these videos – although short – encapsulate the main challenges of project management and provide plenty of tips and advice to help companies move forward with their projects.
“Once we found The Project Group (TPG) and its YouTube videos, wehad a much better idea of where we needed to be heading.”
Magnus Römer, GEDA project manager
Having contacted TPG and had a series of initial meetings, GEDA approached a second provider for comparison purposes. “Aside from the videos, what clinched it for TPG was their impressive customer reference list – especially with companies like QatarGas that is also one of our customers – as well as their knowledgeable and responsive consulting staff.”
Packaged Solution for Fast and Tangible Results
GEDA opted for the TPG QuickStart program as it enabled them to deal with the initial challenges quickly and cost-effectively, while further increasing customer satisfaction in the short term.
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TPG QuickStart is a turnkey solution based on Microsoft Project Server or Project Online, plus SharePoint. It helps companies get started with professional resource and project management in just a few weeks. Customers benefit from the advantages of a well-proven, centralized and powerful platform for planning, information and communication in no time.
As a preconfigured solution for project management, TPG QuickStart combines generic processes and best practices that still allow for some adjustment to customer needs. It comprises a workshop, implementation and training and is available for a fixed price. This is an advantage for companies just starting out with project management, just like GEDA, as there are no surprises and the benefits are visible quickly. The solution is based on SharePoint and Microsoft Project Server.
Another interesting read: The Challenges of Resource Planning
The GEDA team started with a kickoff meeting and workshop together with the TPG specialists and organized training for project administrators and a separate course for Microsoft Project Server users.
Close Collaboration for Optimal TPG QuickStart Implementation
GEDA and TPG worked closely together to adapt the turnkey TPG solutions – a key factor. Because it was this teamwork that enabled both sides in tailoring the solutions to GEDA’s needs.
They initially imported new projects into the systems, but gradually added existing projects too. Those projects that had been started before the project management initiative and were still running.
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“We’ve started with about 20 users but this number is set to increase before long,” notes Magnus Römer.
Another benefit is a higher level of customer satisfaction. Customers have already noticed a more streamlined and efficient approach to the management of their GEDA projects.
Expert Advice on Processes Ensures Solution’s Quick Success
The TPG project manager, Marta Kostek-Drosihn, highlights the importance of a consultative approach to customers like GEDA who are implementing professional project management in their companies for the first time.
“We go beyond the purely technical level and help customers redesign their processes, should that prove necessary,” she explains. Customers want to achieve tangible results and project management efficiency quickly. TPG QuickStart enables customers to deal with any internal challenges. After all, implementing a new system takes time, good planning and careful management.”
Increased Customer Satisfaction due to Better-Informed Project Participants
Although the GEDA project management system only went live a few months ago, it is already having a positive effect. “Our resource planning is now far better and more transparent thanks to some new processes that TPG helped us with,” notes Magnus Römer. “The resource planning process also saves us time.”
Tasks can be assigned to individual project team members much faster. Another benefit is a higher level of customer satisfaction. Customers have already noticed a more streamlined and efficient approach to the management of their GEDA projects.
“The resource planning process saves us time. And tasks can be assigned to individual project team members much faster, too.”
“In addition, we always have a detailed overview of the status of each project,” he adds. “This is an advantage for management, who can quickly check how things are going without having to ask several people.” The information is based on progress feedback entered by construction staff, who regularly add information updates to the system.
The new system is also used by the purchasing department. Staff can plan materials procurement based on the actual project status. The system has taken away the element of uncertainty in project planning and has been well accepted by users, as they can see that optimal resource utilization benefits them too.
Looking to introduce resource management? Here is how you do it in 6 steps.
“Another advantage has been that our success with Microsoft Project and the TPG QuickStart solution has made people within the company sit up and take notice,” comments Magnus Römer. “We’re getting a lot of questions from other divisions! We would certainly like to aim for universal usage of this solution throughout the enterprise because the business benefits are clear – and fast.”
Have you had to resolve a similar situation in the past? Do you agree with TPG’s approach? We look forward to receiving your comments below.
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