“Part of our IT strategy is not to have to become application experts to use our solutions. Tenrox is simple to use and configure, and I view them as the project management specialists, so I can rely on their expertise.”
-Mari Skippers, Eaton IT Business Analyst
- Eaton Truck Division is a part of Eaton Corporation, a $15.4 billion diversified power management company providing key components to the aerospace, automotive, electrical and hydraulic industries. The truck division accounts for $2.52 billion annually and employs 6,000 in thirteen manufacturing plants and twenty sales and service locations in the U.S., China, England, India and soon in Russia. The company manufactures clutches and sells transmissions for class 8 tractor-trailers, class 7 delivery vehicles and class 5 and 6 heavy-duty pickup trucks.
- In addition to its manufacturing processes, the Galesburg, Michigan- based operation focuses on engineering projects that develop new products and service solutions. These projects are coordinated through an extensive six- stage review process that had been carried out by circulating spreadsheets and associated files among participating staff members. “We’d end up with files all over the place,” recounts Mari Skippers, Eaton IT Business Analyst. “Communication between groups wasn’t always good, so we’d have to scramble to put information together whenever presentations came up.”
- Matters were complicated further when a new project and planning solution was implemented that was intended to streamline project management. The software had a complicated user interface and also required the purchase of additional modules and updates to achieve the desired functionality.
- Because of these challenges, the search began for a replacement solution offering a better user experience and greater “built-in” functionality. Eaton’s search team conducted an extensive investigation that included consulting other divisions to find out what applications they were using and reviewing industry research and evaluations.
- After reviewing their findings, including a Gartner report noting Tenrox’s strengths, Tenrox was chosen for its expertise in project management and time tracking.
- Tenrox’s ease of use has had a direct impact on Skippers, since her responsibilities include training staff from all over the world by phone in one-on- one sessions on how to use the solutions. She maintains that in spite of occasional language barriers, instructing new users has been simple and straightforward.
- The Time Tracking module, which was implemented in the fall of 2006, is used for internal billing of various activity centers (or business units). The solution allows for cross-charging departments when staff from one activity center works on a project based in another. In doing so, the system automatically accounts for variables such as exempt and non- exempt employees.
- In addition to streamlining the time tracking process, Tenrox has enabled Eaton to use the application’s functionality to bill an internal consulting group, the Engineering Center of Excellence (COE). COE provides a pool of engineering expertise that can be “loaned” to any activity center requiring additional project support. “We can track that activity automatically, which wasn’t something we could have done with the old system,” Skippers says.
- Skippers predicts that the new modules will be extremely helpful with the company’s annual process plan, which forecasts the engineering projects and time, talent and other resources they will require over a twelve-month period. “Integration of these additional solutions will save a tremendous amount of time since project managers will be able to commit specific resources to specific challenges. That will require a culture change from the old manual approach, but will ultimately be a much more efficient and reliable solution,” she says.