Oberalp Deutschland GmbH
“The positive side effect of such drastic measures was that we were forced to make a clean break with our previous project management methods. We ensured a clear project communication and documentation chain and were able consolidate everything on one platform.”
Edwin Lehner, Technical Manager Bindings
|Skiing equipment like bindings or boots have become complex and sophisticated products in high demand worldwide as skiing is highly popular around the globe. For the development, engineers and designers are equally cooperating worldwide as is exemplified by the ski equipment manufacturer Dynafit, a brand of the Italian parent company Oberalp Group. The design and product development teams in Italy and Germany collaborate cross-border in the development of their high-tech products and therefore were looking for a software solution to aid their project management.|
The search for a suitable software began back in 2010. Due to the broad range of PM software on the market, evaluation took longer than expected. However, the matter became urgent as the project team found the lack of planning overview impeding their ability to schedule their development stages.
Because accurate timing is imperative
Product development at Dynafit is geared towards the most important branch trade show, the ISPO, taking place every year in winter. So, a project plan for a Dynafit product can span years and incorporate several sub-projects. If there are delays in one planning stage, it affects the whole project. This means either putting more resources towards the project or postponing the whole project for an entire year, which is, of course, to be avoided.
The Oberalp Group project team finally found the right project management software solution when they opted for InLoox PM in 2014. MS Project was also considered, however, the benefits of the unique Outlook integration of InLoox PM was in the end the decisive argument to chose the Munich-based software developer InLoox and their product.
Testing phase with minor obstacles
The project team of the Oberalp Group’s brand Salewa in Bolzano, Italy, started the testing phase in 2014. However, the testing phase could not be completed in time due to changes in responsibilities and the software was not fully adopted until 2015. The switch to Windows 10 presented the ideal opportunity for Edwin Lehner, Technical Manager R&D at Dynafit, to complete the evaluation and testing phase and introduce InLoox PM in his department.
It’s in the details: engineering ski bindings and outdoor-boots
Modern ski bindings or sports shoes are high tech products. From the initial design to the engineering of components and manufacturing of the product, the whole process until it is ready for commercial market introduction is meticulously planned. Without utmost attention to detail during every planning phase of a project, the realization of innovative products is impossible. The fact that the project team needs to collaborate across Europe adds a further challenge to Dynafit’s project management processes. At the moment Dynafit’s Research & Development department for alpine touring bindings in Aschheim near Munich uses InLoox PM, as well as the Footwear-Division in the Italian towns Montebelluna and Bolzano use the PM software for their project collaboration. The close cooperation of these departments made it necessary to have a software in place that would ensure the continuation of a smooth workflow. This was fully realized with the introduction of InLoox PM and the long term goal at Dynafit is the company-wide roll out of the software in a step-by-step process.
With the satisfaction of the successful introduction of InLoox PM came the realization, that in order to fully realize the software’s potential, the project teams had to shift their internal project communication from Outlook E-Mails to InLoox project notes. Also, document exchange and management needed to be handled exclusively vial InLoox PM to ensure tracking of changes in documents. “The positive side effect of such drastic measures was that we were forced to make a clean break with our previous project management methods. We ensured a clear project communication and documentation chain and were able consolidate everything on one platform,” says Edwin Lehner.
The better the preparation the easier the implementation
The implementation of the software was frictionless, smaller challenges arose only due to the departments’ individual requirements on the software, which Edwin Lehner had to take into account. In the meantime, Dynafit has already made the first product upgrade: in 2015 they migrated from InLoox PM 7 to InLoox PM 8. The transition phase and familiarization with new functionalities was well handled, aided by Edwin Lehner’s substantial experience in project management. Dynafit has currently eight InLoox PM clients in the branch in Aschheim, Munich, one in Montebelluna and another in Bolzano, Italy.
Highly efficient and intuitive handling
The introduction of InLoox PM has already improved general project overview which resulted in significantly reduced time pressure. Typically, a new Dynafit product development project includes 40-50 new components. InLoox PM makes it possible to track the engineering process of each component and improved project planning ensures that possible delays can be anticipated and counteracted in time.
Edwin Lehner states that InLoox PM enhanced his project team’s knowledge base, ”We are no longer solely relying on individual, subjective know-how of our experts but can come back to documented experiences to illustrate difficulties or delays. This backs up team requests for additional resources to get even better results in future.”
Of all the functionalities that InLoox PM offers, Dynafit uses foremost the Gantt chart project plan, the document management, which is connected to the company’s own data server, and the project notes. Apart from that, resource management is also intensely used to see each team member’s responsibilities and track who needs to deliver what and when. The option to filter by tasks is especially helpful here. Edwin Lehner emphasizes, that the InLoox PM resource management is also a practical feature to factor in absences of team members such as paid leave or sick times when planning a project, enabling the project manager to react quickly and adjust the plan accordingly to avoid delays.
A satisfactory progress report
Edwin Lehner and the project team are very satisfied with how InLoox PM has improved their work process and overall project management. The implementation with the help of the distributor IQ Sales was smooth and praised by the team. In future, Dynafit plans to also use the budgeting function and, after all the team members have been fully accustomed to the software, they want to take additional training courses to make use of the full potential of the software and lay the foundation for a company-wide roll out.
The project team is especially happy with the intuitive and clearly structured planning that makes long-term project plan with sub-projects easy to handle. Lehner exemplifies this with the simplified process of tracking the manufacturing of more than 50 tools which are essential for product development. What used to be tedious and sometimes unclear with long spreadsheets and Excel-tables is now clearly structured and reliable. It is also common for the R&D department at Dynafit to have single project phases that are relevant for the development of several different components of Dynafit products. These same phases need to be implemented in several different projects. InLoox has developed a new publishing feature for such occasions, which is now available with InLoox PM 9.
About Oberalp Group and Dynafit
The Oberalb Group is a family-owned company which has been operating in the textile sector for five generations. Founded in 1981 in Bolzano, Italy, the family of Heiner Oberrauch is currently employing around 600 people. Apart from designing and engineering of alpine equipment, the Oberalp Group is also active in the retail, wholesale and distribution of general sporting goods brands. In order to complete the range of products for the alpine sporting goods sector Oberalp Group acquired the brands SALEWA, DYNAFIT, POMOCA and WILD COUNTRY and established them as independent brands.
DYNAFIT is a point of reference for passionate alpinists, who are searching for highly technical products. This young and innovative alpine brand focuses on lightness, velocity, performance and technology.