On-time delivery of compressors increased by more than 30% thanks to new project management tool
Gfi has developed a project management tool for the order management process at Atlas Copco, introducing SCRUM as methodology and an agile way of working together.
After 2 months the first version of the solution was live and business people could enjoy better follow-up of their processes.
Atlas Copco is a world leader in providing industrial solutions that increase productivity. The company supplies a wide range of products and services: air and gas compressors, generators, construction and mining equipment, industrial tools and assembly systems, to the aftermarket and rental.
Software and services
- Services: Scrum project methodology, Extreme Programming development
- Programming language: Microsoft .Net technology, C# and Web.API
- Continuous integration environment: VSO (Visual Studio Online)
- Single Page Application with Knockoutjs integrated in a larger Asp.Net application
Atlas Copco Airpower, the production company within the Compressor Technique division that develops, manufactures and markets compressors and generators, was looking for an order management solution. That solution needed to provide support and follow-up throughout the order management process (OMP), which runs from the request through to delivery of a custom-made compressor. Until then, this was done by a simple tool that offered
too little functionality to obtain an overall picture of the whole process.
First encounter with agile development
Atlas Copco was looking for a partner who could develop such a solution. Because Gfi had already implemented part of the process – supporting the generation of price quotes via a customized solution – Atlas Copco opted to integrate the
entire order management process into it, and called on the expertise of Gfi to do the job.
Gfi very quickly proposed not to develop this tool in the traditional way but opt for agile development instead. Atlas Copco had no experience with it at the time, but Gfi convinced them that this would provide significant added value when building the solution. Specifically, it meant that Atlas Copco no longer had to list all their user requirements in advance. They were able to make adjustments throughout the development process, based on user feedback. That did bring greater flexibility, but on the other hand, it put a lot of pressure on the business people who were intensively involved in the development. The advantage was that Atlas Copco was then able to show something concrete to the people who were participating.
From user story to final release
The whole development ultimately took less than five months. There was a weekly meeting between the developers from Gfi and a department head at Atlas Copco, with the aim of writing a specific user story. In this way, all the user
requirements were mapped out week after week, approved by Atlas Copco and subsequently developed by GFI.
That meant that after two months, Atlas Copco already had a first release that their people could use. Based on that release, they could make further adjustments. That flexibility and the fact that the business people and the developers from Gfi really were on the same wavelength made sure we were really pleased with the end result.
On-time delivery increased by more than 30%
The ultimate solution – Project Management Application, or PMA – gets its data by automated means from other solutions (e.g. the ERP solution). Then, the PMA monitors the entire process step by step, notifies the right people when an action is required, and warns if a delay crops up somewhere in the project. Management has its own dashboard to monitor the various projects, but even more important is that their customer centers also have their own dashboard: the customer center dashboard. There they can see a status report and milestones during the process, and they can also access documents related to their project.
The result is impressive. Now Atlas Copco meets over 80% of their promised delivery dates. On smaller projects they are even approaching 90%. As a comparison: it used to be only 50%. They have a much clearer picture of the whole process, and can estimate the lead-times much more accurately, and therefore can work much more efficiently. Atlas Copco is very satisfied with the results and the way the solution was developed. They are pleased that they relied on the advice and the expertise of Gfi in agile development.
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