Imagine. You have over 200 engineers, working across 8 states and territories. Resources have different skills, expertise, preferences and availability, and resources are allocated by shifts in a job. And all this is maintained on a few excel spreadsheets.
This was the challenge faced by Fujitsu, one of Australia’s leading IT and communications companies. We sat down with Ros Johnston, from Fujitsu’s Project Services team, who was in charge of ensuring the implementation of the Saviom System across the country.
When asked what were the problems and pains they were facing that lead Fujitsu to seek out a solution. What we found was that there was difficulty in managing a dynamic area of business where all the critical resource information was spreadsheet based – which is not uncommon for many large companies.
“It wasn’t possible to have multiple people updating spreadsheets,” mentioned Ros, outlining how this inherently impacted the efficiency of resource management. Additionally, managers found it very hard to manage a high number of resources over multiple lines of service, and the fact that they didn’t have a national view on all the resources didn’t help.
“There was no visual representation of available resources. No repository for a resource database, no central database of resources and associated information, location, email addresses, skill information, training and accreditations” said Ros. In addition, the lack of real time, accurate and centralised information affected their ability to resource effectively.
The Decision and the Doing
There wasn’t much debate over the fact that they needed a tool, but why did they choose Saviom?
“Various reasons. It is feature rich and provided an immediate off the shelf solution for us with minimal customisation. Even though we are only using a small part of the overall functionality, we’ve resolved our problems. We can also use the other functionalities in the future as well”. Ros also focused on the fact that it was a cost effective solution that further added to the benefits of purchasing Saviom.
Initially, Saviom didn’t fulfill all the requirements Fujitsu required for their business. For example Fujitsu had an engineer database that worked twenty-four hours, seven days a week, where resourcing occurred on a shift by shift basis. “We also had specific occupational health and safety requirements with regard to rest breaks that had to be catered for”.
Saviom not only customized the product for Fujitsu’s requirements as is standard for all its clients, but further developed new features for their client. “Some new features such as the new dashboard were added just for us to help manage our ever changing resource requirements”.
Fujitsu aimed to implement their resource management solution as quickly as possible. “We did it in three months! We began with a pilot in NSW, ran the pilot for month for all of NSW. We then brought on board Queensland as the second pilot, and used them as a sanity check to ensure we hadn’t missed anything. Once we’d ironed out our process issues then we moved onto the next big state, Victoria”.
Fujitsu were careful not to put all their eggs in one basket, hence initially piloted Saviom with one customers project only, and maintained their old spreadsheets in parallel. They ran reports from their spreadsheets and from Saviom every day until they had assurance that it worked. “We then continually increased the projects until they were all running through Saviom” added Ros.
When asked, has it fixed the problem?
“Yes it has – it’s certainly streamlined our resource management. It’s provided a national view for everyone to look at. I can now obtain critical information at the click of a mouse.” Fujitsu is excited that they have finally been able to eliminate the individual State spreadsheets they were using to maintain their database of skills and resources.
However Fujitsu aren’t done yet.
“There’s more we want to do. We want to interface to SAP, and there’s a whole bunch of things we can do. SAVIOM has really given us the freedom to make further improvements.”
So are they a happy customer?
“All the users really like it and have been really positive about it, I think because it’s taken away a lot of their pain”.
In short: Yes, Fujitsu are a happy customer.
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“It is the best resource planning tool that I have ever used. Its light, it doesn’t have a lot of systems behind it so it is easy to operate. It doesn’t get bogged down meaning it funnels and generates any information straight away. For example I can visually see in different tabs projects or resources that are important to me straight away. Highly user friendly tool unlike other resource scheduling software and doesn’t have any cumbersome functionalities."