Tenrox Drives Improved Time, Project and Workforce Management for Eaton Truck Division
Eaton needed to provide a user-friendly, efficient solution for internal time tracking, project management and workforce coordination in the face of IT and staff restructuring.
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.
The Challenge: To provide a user-friendly, efficient solution for internal time tracking, project management and workforce coordination in the face of IT and staff restructuring.
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 sixstage 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 wide 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.
The Tenrox by Upland Solution
Due to the competitive pressures of its industry, a priority for Eaton’s IT and engineering staff was to implement an intuitive, function-rich solution that would allow them to focus on their core business responsibilities and not on system maintenance, upgrades and extensive learning curves. That is exactly what Tenrox has provided.
“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,” says Skippers.
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 nonexempt 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.”
New Modules, Added Benefits
In the spring of 2009, Eaton added Tenrox Workforce and Project Planning modules to its IT solutions. In the face of staff restructuring, it was decided that additional support was needed to streamline these activities, eliminatemanually circulated spreadsheets and implement solutions that provide standardized processes.
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.
Streamlined Business Operations
Implementation and expansion of Eaton’s Tenrox solutions is having an impact beyond the IT and engineering activity centers. Skippers expects the financial group’s workload to be reduced, as well. She explains, “With more information in project leaders’ hands, they’ll better understand where and how their money is being spent and how that impacts their projects without relying on explanations from finance.”
As the new modules are more fully implemented, she also looks forward to leveraging the metrics that will now be available. In particular, she points to resource availability by skills and location, group time detailed reporting and variance levels between forecasts and actuals.
“Workforce and Project Planning will save a tremendous amount of time since project managers will be able to commit specific resources to specific challenges.” — Mari Skippers, IT Business Analyst