Located: France, USA, China
The leader in permanent marking and engraving solutions, Gravotech designs, manufactures, and distributes innovative solutions for engraving, marking, and cutting. The firm has a strong presence in the identification and traceability market (e.g. serial number marking for manufacturing), industrial or architectural signage, and finally personalization (among others for the luxury sector).
Challenges & Expectations
Upon joining Gravotech as Head of R&D, Cédric Tuaillon worked with his teams on reshaping the project management process for new product development. The goal was to improve efficiency and predictability. A cross-functional project management unit, led by Project Managers such as Gabriel Kretzschmar, was created at the level of the R&D department.
Ever since then, the R&D team has been striving to optimize project management processes, practices, and skills.
Part of that optimization was the adoption of the phase-gate methodology. However, this methodology required thorough planning and monitoring, where Excel was no longer sufficient to manage projects efficiently. Therefore, it had become crucial to adopt a proper project management tool to centralize the management of resources, budgets, deliverables, phases-gates, and to optimize efficiency.
The Sciforma Solution
Implemented in early July 2021 at the R&D department level, the Sciforma tool is used to plan and manage new product development projects, but also to plan and track the time spent by R&D teams on non-project activity portfolios (innovation, monitoring, support activities, etc.).
A Dramatic Efficiency Boost for Project Managers
The newly implemented phase-gate management process requires taking a systematic approach to planning and monitoring projects and resource time. Project schedules, technical performance, and actual versus forecast budgets are now to be reviewed at each gate.
Manually consolidating all of this information from Excel-based data was time-consuming and complex for project managers. Since the implementation of Sciforma, project managers have managed to reduce the time spent preparing gate meetings by a factor of three.
With Sciforma, standard project templates with pre-filled resource plans, costs, and deliverables are significantly simplifying planning activities. Moreover, consolidating all forecast expenses and resource needs into a single platform has greatly facilitated the preparation of the profitability estimates expected at gate reviews.
“We reduced the time spent preparing reviews by two-thirds. In addition to boosting efficiency, this is enabling us to perform this preparation work at the last minute so we can get the freshest data.”
Project Manager, Gravotech
Informing Phase-Gate Decisions
Project managers can now easily share reliable and comprehensive information with business leaders in order to enable decision-makers to green-light or red-light new product launches based on resource capacity. Cédric Tuaillon uses Sciforma’s data as a foundation to perform his bi-monthly reviews of the resource needs/capacity balance over the next 3 months and to consolidate R&D budget forecasts for the next 3 years.
For the first time, we have a consolidated, shared vision of resource occupation and availability, team by team, and not just project by project. It’s easier to manage and it enables us to make decisions based on hard data. What I appreciate the most is probably that all teams have direct visibility to the schedule and deadlines: everyone is on the same page.”
Head of Research and Development, Gravotech
Now that Gravotech has improved project planning and monitoring as well as resource management thanks to Sciforma, the company plans to implement the Agile management capabilities of the tool to manage its engraving software research and development projects.
Other ongoing initiatives include expanding the use of “actions” to formalize workflows. Sciforma enables project managers to create lists of actions — e.g. specific tasks to be performed by an individual or a group, such as mitigating a risk, solving an issue or addressing a change request — in order to tackle specific operational concerns without over-inflating project plans.
At Gravotech, team leaders and project managers are using the action boards to manage resource meetings. Moving forward, these boards will be made available to team members to give them a better handle on the work pipeline.