ArcelorMittal France: Standardizing Project Management Practices
The world's leading steel producer has implemented Sciforma at its Fos-Sur-Mer site to make it easier to track IT projects and standardize its practices.
ArcelorMittal is the world’s leading steel producer. The group operates in sixty countries, employing about 245,000 people worldwide. In 2012, they had a turnover of 84 billion dollars. In France, ArcelorMittal employs more than 20,000 full-time workers and manages around fifty activities, producing an annual total of 11 million tons of crude steel from 5 blast furnaces (3 in Dunkirk and 2 in Fos-Sur-Mer). After nearly forty years, the integrated site at Foss-Sur-Mer, 50 km west of Marseille, produces a wide range of types of steel for oil and gas pipelines (the "flat carbon" sector). With an average annual production of 3.5 million tons, the site offers more than a hundred and twenty different grades of steel.
Seeking to Simplify Work of Project Managers
The Fos-Sur-Mer site is the home of the New Projects, Electronics, and IT department (NPEC), which provides support to the production units and, in particular, the information system management services. This department carries out a wide variety of tasks – from project management studies and support to application portfolio management and user support; the main activity being project management.
"The different teams in the department used different tools to manage their projects, especially Excel. We, therefore, had great difficulty in obtaining reliable consolidated reports because of the variety of tools used. In addition, the practices varied from one team to another. For example, some used activity monitoring and others did not," said Laurent Baudouin, Support, Methods, Tools, Projects, NPEC Department, ArcelorMittal France, Fos-Sur-Mer.
"In addition to the reporting issue, we were seeking a way to centralize user requests, improve project planning and take into account our customers' specific requests such as quality and traceability requirements or support for specific processes that must meet precise standards. In short, we were seeking to simplify the work of the project managers, including avoiding duplicate data entry during activity monitoring and planning and to do this with a solution that offered project portfolio management functions. The aim was to standardize our practices and improve efficiency by centralizing all the information in one single solution."
In 2012, the department drew up a functional requirements specification and then carried out a market analysis, after which several products were selected. Mock-ups were created with the participation of business users.
"Our aim was to avoid a ‘big bang’ by deploying the functionalities iteratively, team by team. Activity monitoring and planning management took priority, then the scope needed to be gradually broadened to include a project description, constraint, and risk management, followed by monitoring actions, decisions, and outstanding issues," explained Laurent Baudouin.
"We finally chose Sciforma because it offered the best compromise between cost, a flexible set-up process, and ease of use. One of the main advantages is its extremely flexible set-up: as well as offering a turnkey solution, Sciforma includes many extensions that make it easy to configure. In fact, the involvement of the business users in the mockup process was of great help in fostering team cohesion and making the changeover process smoother.
Deploying Sciforma in Stages
In short, the solution's feature-rich functionality and the possibility of gradual deployment were the two arguments that convinced the ArcelorMittal NPEC department to adopt Sciforma. "Some solutions on the same level seemed harder to implement and other, cheaper solutions offered less functionality," said Laurent Baudouin.
NEPC deployed the solution in stages. While only 3 teams, with 55 total users, were equipped with it in the beginning, today 95 users and 6 teams are benefiting from Sciforma. The goal is to reach 130 users by the end of 2013. With Sciforma, the department now manages around 150 projects (including opportunity studies, pilot projects, and around 80 other projects). One of the main added values highlighted by ArcelorMittal has to do with the use of fact sheets, which considerably speed up maintenance operations and also contribute to standardizing project management practices. "Sciforma has allowed us to develop the concept of ‘fact sheets’ because of its event management function. Each activity is described precisely on a fact sheet, which is used by our hotline and corrective maintenance teams," explained Laurent Baudouin. "Today, we have about 3,000 fact sheets of this type that contain extremely useful reference information covering the entire project management process."
While the solution is still being deployed, the short-term goal is to give users the power to manage their own requests, which will lighten the workload of the IT teams and, at the same time, get the business users more involved.
Benefiting from Immediate Reporting and Standardized Project Management Practices
Reporting: Thanks to Sciforma, NPEC is now benefiting from instant reporting on all the activities monitored without the need for a consolidation stage. The reports generated by Sciforma can be distributed in the form of PDFs or Excel files, which gives added flexibility. "The reporting also covers the computing budget and there too we can have a clear, immediate picture without needing to consolidate a multitude of pivot tables," commented Laurent Baudouin. "Our IT maintenance activities are carried out according to the World Class Manufacturing standard that has been rolled out within the group. As such, we have to record a certain number of indicators such as the number of breakdowns, the number of minutes a production line is stopped, etc. There too, Sciforma helps us to increase productivity, whereas previously the data were held in several systems. In fact, the fact sheet system helps us to save time on maintenance operations."
Homogenization: ArcelorMittal's second goal has also been reached: to standardize the project management practices of its teams. "Since the Sciforma software was implemented in all our teams, we have rationalized our practices. The users take the hypotheses, constraints, and expected gains and Sciforma automatically generates a report (a ‘Project Statement’). We then create another report (‘Project Progress Report’) that gives us a complete picture of the expenses involved, decisions taken, planning, and actions carried out," said Laurent Baudouin. "This standardization of practices was part of a transverse project for which the operational results are available in Sciforma."
Tracking: Several levels of monitoring are operational: a project manager can measure the progress of his project and a team leader has a picture of all his teams' projects. At the top level, the monitoring covers the entire IT unit and department. "These different levels help us to formalize the presentations sent to our corporate management and at the same time to inform users on the progress of their requests," added Laurent Baudouin. "And, in financial terms, Sciforma helps us to manage our budgets, make the necessary adjustments (such as deciding to cancel a project), and carry out impact analyses. We have increased our visibility and our forecasting capability."
The first months of using Sciforma have been satisfactory. "Using Sciforma has enabled us to make progress in several areas, activity recording, project initiation, scheduling, and workflow traceability, managing maintenance activities and reporting. We now have a solid base to extend the solution and cover new requirements such as managing quotes, functional demands or integrating the solution with other internal systems," concludes Laurent Baudouin.