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Project platform integrated into Outlook sets new standards
implantcast expands its project management culture to expedite the development of prostheses and medical instruments.
The medium-sized medical technology company implantcast from Buxtehude is one of Germany's hidden champions. For over 30 years, it has stood for modern prostheses and innovative medical instruments. More than 600 employees develop, produce and distribute these groundbreaking products directly in Buxtehude. In more than 75 countries, clinics and doctors rely on implantcast products when it comes to realizing medical progress. implantcast wants to be able to react even more agile to the needs of medics and patients in the future. Therefore, it is necessary to redefine and set up a new framework for planning and implementing projects.
As much framework as necessary - as little limitations as possible
While it was common in the past to plan and implement projects individually, this will change in the future. The plan is to define a framework with various specifications, methods and key data and to introduce a global project management tool. Felix Meyer, who is responsible for project management at implantcast, says: "We want to summarize our projects and introduce standardized evaluation criteria. This should help to evaluate and approve projects according to comparable procedures. In the long term, we are aiming for a structure that meets specific quality criteria, but at the same time allows us a certain amount of agility so that individual projects are still possible."
Meyer and a team start searching for innovative approaches, modern project management methods, such as Kanban, and an appropriate platform. It quickly becomes clear that the requirements profile for the tool is not only very demanding, but also involves a number of special features, including that it must be available on-premise. "In addition, it is important that the project management concept can basically be integrated as smartly as possible into the individual workflows of our colleagues and that it is possible to create and submit project proposals."
Within very little time, InLoox has already convinced compared to the wide-ranging offer of digital project management solutions. On the one hand, InLoox supports various PM methods and is very conveniently integrated with Outlook, an application that everyone at implantcast works with on a daily basis. On the other hand, the project data captured in InLoox can be hosted on the customer's server. "Since we often deal with research and development as well as approval projects, it was and is important to us that this data is stored and controlled in-house," says Meyer.
Intelligent project management directly in Outlook
In July 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, the decision is made to test InLoox in detail. Already at this point, implantcast receives helpful support and tips from the software manufacturer. The responsible persons of the medical technology provider are convinced that the feature range of the software is exactly what they need. Therefore, InLoox will be implemented company-wide in September 2020. Meyer: "Thanks to the accompanied implementation, we received all the essential information, such as how to allocate resources or implement project requests. This helped a lot in ensuring that employees were able to accept the new system and the whole change process."
implantcast has almost 80 licenses in use. These are used in various business areas, including customer service, finance, research & development, management, IT, logistics, marketing and sales, materials management, production, quality assurance and export. The variety and number makes it obvious that successful project management at implantcast is quite complex. Meyer already has in mind how it can nevertheless be more compact and efficient. "We learn very precisely from each individual project and incorporate the experiences into a project management manual. In this way, we can successively improve the processes and thereby also the results." Since all the projects now take place within Outlook, there is greater proximity between daily work and project work, which has a positive effect on the commitment of the employees involved.
For example: It happens again and again that doctors have an idea how a certain surgical technique can be improved. This idea then reaches implantcast's research and development department via product management. In the first step, such a customer inquiry is analyzed together and it is then determined whether its implementation is realistic. A catalog of requirements is compiled and a decision is made whether such a project makes sense. If this is the case, a corresponding project request is prepared and submitted in InLoox. Once approved, the entire project is planned in InLoox - the requirements become tasks and the availability of the required resources is checked. In this way, the project develops from an idea to a real product, including market approval. In some cases, however, the project is discontinued due to inefficiency and lack of resources.
More transparency, better forecasts and faster product development
The longer implantcast works with InLoox and the number of projects increases, the more intensively the software's features are used. Not least due to the introduction of the new MDR (Medical Device Regulation), it is necessary that projects are planned, implemented and documented in an even more target-oriented way.
"With InLoox, we have an overview anytime and can estimate capacities, budgets but also schedules much better", says Meyer. He can see how intensively InLoox has changed project work in his company not least in the company-internal chat of the InLoox user community. Here, people exchange tips and tricks, but also share the many advances and experiences with their colleagues. Meyer observes that the communication is very positive and even those who don't work on projects every day identify with their colleagues' projects.
There are always new realizings, for example in the visualization of dependencies, the planning of resources and, above all, the time frame. According to Meyer, time estimates are now much more honest than in the past, when time specifications were almost like reading in a crystal ball.
The project manager of implantcast particularly emphasizes one thing: The fact that in InLoox a task can only be assigned to one person. "At first glance, this seems to be a deficiency, but in the end it is the guarantee for success. Responsibilities are precisely regulated and the assigned employees feel directly addressed and they feel responsible for carrying out the task," says Meyer.
- "When we were looking for a project management software, there was a 90 percent match between our specifications and InLoox's features.“
- "With InLoox, we always have an overview and can better estimate capacities, budgets, as well as schedules.“
Felix Meyer, executive department project management | implantcast GmbH
As a highly specialized medical technology company, implantcast regularly has to develop new products and complete them to market maturity. In order not to lose track of the numerous research and development projects, the company decides to introduce a standardized project management concept. The most important requirement is that it can be smartly integrated into the various company departments and into the day-to-day business of the project members. The goal is to implement a central platform through which all projects can be planned, implemented and controlled within a fixed framework.
During the research, the product portfolio of InLoox was convincing in many respects. On the one hand, due to the fact that it is the only project management solution integrated in Outlook and, on the other hand, that the feature range matches implantcast's requirement profile by 90 percent. In addition, InLoox is available as an on-premise solution, so that the medical technology company can continue to host its highly sensitive development and patient data on its own servers.
By implementing InLoox, project work at implantcast can be raised to a new level and, above all, it becomes more transparent. The advantages are especially noticeable in cross-departmental projects: resources can be better overviewed and planned, dependencies are visible at a glance and time forecasts are more realistic. The new transparency creates surprising insights and motivates the employees to deal with the possibilities of InLoox even more intensively.