Helge Sanden, from the consultancy in Hildesheim of the same name, led the introduction of Blue Ant at MHP Software GmbH and reports here on his experiences.
MHP Software GmbH has concentrated on the optimization of dispatch processes within companies. Their core product, “V-LOG – Die Versandsoftware” is one of the the leading solutions in Europe.
Particularly the integration of over 100 CEP (for example DHL, UPS, FedEx, GLS, DPD, etc.) and shipping (Schenker, Dachser, IDS, etc.) services in existing ERP landscapes, a high degree of flexibility during use, a modular selection of carriers and a clear, solution-oriented attitude have already won us hundreds of customers.
Helge Sanden, from the consultancy of the same name in Hildesheim, led the introduction of Blue Ant at MHP Software GmbH and reports here on his experiences.
40 Employees have been working with Blue Ant since July 2007
In the quality management project at MHP Software GmbH, we, Sanden Consulting, adopted the multi-project management solution Blue Ant. Within the first two months, more than 200 projects were planned using the software and some 80 projects with around 40 employees were successfully completed. The use of Blue Ant improved project transparency markedly in this time and project quality was further increased.
Blue Ant suitable for a large number of parallel projects
A feature of MHP is that all projects are centrally planned, and also that progress and workload of employees is monitored. With the array of parallel projects, it was no longer possible to realize this without support from the right software. With the introduction of the project and resource management solution Blue Ant, MHP said goodbye to the planning module of the ERP solution in use at the time, since it wasn’t covering the current requirements.
The new solution had to include flexible planning templates, as well as to make rescheduling and progress reporting as easy and intuitive as possible. Blue Ant was chosen, as this solution had been tested on real project scenarios and was found to be well-suited on the basis of practical considerations.
A smooth transmission to Blue Ant
On the basis of guidelines set by MHP and the Sanden Consulting Company, proventis delivered an optimally preconfigured system, which was followed by configurations and detail changes, as well as a two-day instruction from proventis for the planning team and administrators. The Sanden Consulting Company trained employees with a sample project from the Blue Ant test system. Blue Ant was already monitoring the progress and completion of tasks throughout the training activities.
The biggest challenge during the introductory phase was adjusting to the system. The Sanden Consulting Company decided to set a deadline for the change. For all important projects and plans we set detailed templates, which also took the QM policies of the company into consideration. Within two days the projects that were being handled with the old system were manually scheduled with Blue Ant. On Friday at exactly five pm all of the relevant project data was available through Blue Ant and the employees’ plans for the following week were done. The old system was shut down on the following Monday so that Blue Ant could be fully utilized. The planned safety margin was not needed during the weekend. From this moment on we could monitor the progress and compliance with deadlines of all the projects.
After a routine for using the system was established, vacation time could be activated in Blue Ant and the paper vacation request forms were discarded. The system recorded all employee absences, which was a great advantage for the phone center, planning and administration.
Multi-project management with a diversity of individual tasks
As is to be expected from a professional solution, the five process of project management (initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, completion) were well supported by Blue Ant.
In the initiation phase, Blue Ant helped in that the benchmarks for a project could be systematically queried, quickly entered and fully documented. Blue Ant supported the planning process by defining quality guidelines within the system through self-generated project templates. »In the MHP-specific model there are, for example, standard adoption procedures or minimum time frames wired in between the end of testing and the beginning of installation. That way, all project developments are standardized, nothing is forgotten and the planning process is accelerated,« reports Manuela Meyer, who is responsible for the planning team at MHP. Under the observation of qualification requests and availability replaced virtual resources in project plans. The error rate in the project plan is marginal, since quality management had also been formulated for project planning with Blue Ant’s corresponding specifications.
Solution accepted from day one
Displaying employee tasks, progress messages and working time recording are conceivably simple. MHP employees only had to train in the use of the functions for about an hour, practical exercises included. The solution was accepted from the first day and was more intuitive and faster to operate than the previous system.
Project supervision plays a large role in the central organization of MHP. Analyses are generated regularly, with which, for example, overdue tasks and overextension of employees can be assessed. When it came to clarity of multiple evaluations, Blue Ant was not yet satisfactory. Fortunately, proventis gave notice that they were quickly working to find a remedy for the next update. Until then, MHP used supplementary evaluations with its own SQL scripts.
After the conclusion of a project its status is set to “complete” and is then archived. Blue Ant took over the rest, for example the approval of resources, and the project no longer appears in the current lists, but is still analyzable.
Conclusion and Outlook
The introduction of Blue Ant ran smoothly. All project employees were able to use the system within a short amount of time and with minimal training. Blue Ant showed itself to be the optimal solution for the planning team as well. It can plan and change complex projects error free. Through readily available project transparency, deviations are quickly identified and therefore corrective measures can be taken early. MHP’s customers profit from greater security during planning and even better adherence to delivery dates. Small drawbacks with the evaluations and clarity in Blue Ant will soon be rectified. In this case, MHP was pleasantly surprised with the quick response to our questions and the readiness to accept our suggestions into the product’s planning after a short trial period.
MHP would like to test whether document management should be used as well. Furthermore, there are no enhancements planned, but new product functions will make our work easier with Blue Ant.
»For our customers’ projects, we have increased our quality guidelines. Blue Ant helps us oversee project risks and deadlines,« says Andreas Winkler, executive director of MHP Software GmbH about the use of Blue Ant.
About the Sanden Consulting Company
The Sanden Consulting Company of Hildesheim supports firms with the optimization of their business processes in project business, project development, in service and support, distribution and marketing. The company is well known in the software industry.
Helge Sanden on Blue Ant
»Blue Ant is an fitting tool that offers diverse support in the planning process and delivers parameters in project management with which the project quality can be measured constantly and significantly increased. Blue Ant therefore makes greater project transparency and planning safety possible.«