“Sometimes we missed a blackboard. And, in meetings we also missed a degree of feedback you might ordinarily get from body language,” explains Rafael L. González del Busto, Chief Financial Officer at Hine Group. “From my point of view, I was surprised how we have been able to find a new way of implementation that’s even more efficient than face-to-face.”
Describing how the global hydraulic systems, hydraulic components and cooling systems company went live with its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in Spain during the Covid-19 restrictions, Rafael goes on to say, “In fact, if we had to start the project from scratch, I would highly recommend remote implementation.”
As the pandemic took its grip, many might have questioned the potential for large, complex IT projects to continue effectively. We didn’t. At the time of writing this blog, we have 400 projects being delivered remotely, and more than 1,400 consultants working offshore, from home. Both customers and consultants have adapted to remote working – very quickly.
As Rafael describes so well from his own experience, “Implementing an ERP system can be a challenge for any company in normal circumstances and the pandemic seemed to threaten our ability to go ahead. However, the impact was the opposite. The 20 members that made up the team have shown a commitment and motivation that could be considered even higher than before we started the project.”
Our consulting team introduced Hine Group to a remote deliver model that the team there was quick to pick up. Just one training session to cover basics concepts sufficed. As the tools were used on a regular basis, the learning process was rapidly embedded.
Using collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, SharePoint and our intranet, we pressed on. The Hine Group has factories in five countries: Brazil, China, India, Spain and the USA.
Replacing Spyro software, the team is going live with IFS Applications 10 at the company’s head office in Spain. Now having seen how simple virtual whiteboarding is to deploy, we will use that more as the other countries go ‘live’ with their IFS platform.
Time and costs were saved with a reduced dependency on travel logistics, hotels and parking. And, meeting attendants were better able to arrive on time! With in-person ‘water cooler chit chat’ at a minimum, it also made interactions more efficient and less distracted.
The great thing about virtual meetings, is that there’s always a room available – and so is the meeting content. Rafael explains, “With face-to-face meetings, there is always a chance that someone is not able to attend. With a recording, everybody can go back and replay meetings, regardless if you have attended or not.”
“Transforming our project to a remote format meant that documents could also be shared, discussed and may even be modified, if necessary, in real time,” he adds.
Looking to the Future
So, as businesses go back to ‘normal’ will Hine Group retain any elements of its ‘locked down rollout?’ “Of course,” says Rafael. “The advantages of this way of working outweigh the negatives. It’s a form of success that is here to stay. We had been holding some meetings online before to avoid traveling, but now, teleworking is a must.”
Face-to-face interactions and building relationships ‘on-site’ will never be completely replaceable, but remote delivery has reduced the use of sub-contractors and driven down costs for all of our remote delivery customers.
On a human level, the consultancy team worked hard to keep personal interactions up – using video with cameras on and running weekly wrap-ups. Many consultants were new to IFS, so we worked hard to bring them into the family.
Customer relationships are always paramount in consulting and delivery, but they have all become more open to video conferencing and using new technologies.
“Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the ability to pivot to remote delivery has helped to keep our projects on track,” says Rafael. And the decision to implement IFS was strategically critical. “All our factories must follow certain accepted and validated processes. They must keep the same quality control methods. We need multisite planning through a global purchasing process to guarantee effective stock management too. The most effective way to achieve that is through centralized software that can automate those systems.”
“We operate in a highly competitive and demanding market where the need to be efficient is increasing,” concludes Rafael. “Reducing costs and optimizing processes is a must. After all, our cost reductions have an immediate positive impact on our customers. We are really satisfied with the results and the development of the project itself.”
Learn more about remote delivery and IFS Applications 10 at ifs.com.
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