KUKA is a global automation corporation, headquartered in Augsburg, Germany. With sales of around 3.3 billion euro and roughly 14,000 employees, KUKA is one of the world’s leading suppliers of intelligent automation solutions. It offers customer solutions from robots and cells to fully automated systems and system networks. KUKA’s customers are typically automotive, electronics, metal and plastic, consumer goods, e-commerce/retail and healthcare organisations.
KUKA has been solving customer problems for more than a century. Key to its success is efficient project management, from assessment of initial ideas to rolling out finished customer products. To ensure customer solutions continue to be delivered as effectively as possible, project management teams constantly review and improve their systems and processes.
KUKA Systems UK recognised that new project management platforms could offer potential operational benefits for the future. Emeka Vishal Onyearugbulem, Project Manager & PMO Team leader, was tasked to review the company’s strategic options.
Our team manages multiple projects at a time. These are often quite complex solutions designed to specific customer requirements. We wanted to improve the visibility of our processes, so we could more accurately assess resource deployment and capacity as projects progress. This would also help us make better and faster decisions about timescales for handling new projects, and improve customer experience as a result.
says Emeka Vishal Onyearugbulem, Project Manager & PMO Team Leader at KUKA
KUKA Systems UK initially considered a proprietary system for its future platform, but decided to widen the strategy review to assess Microsoft Project Online and Microsoft Project for the Web. Emeka Vishal Onyearugbulem searched online for a suitable partner to help the evaluation.
CPS is recognised by Microsoft as a leading Modern Work Management Solution Partner, with extensive experience with Microsoft project management software. Emeka’s research convinced him that CPS was a good match for KUKA’s requirements in the UK.
I talked to CPS and realised immediately that they had deep knowledge of the Microsoft suite, and understood our project management objectives.
CPS developed a business case for each of the Microsoft systems, comparing costs and benefits with the proprietary system they had considered. I took the results to my managers, and we agreed to make Project Online our platform.
CPS was critical to that decision, showing exactly what the system could do for us and how good the cost case was. We could also see how Project Online would work alongside Power Automate, enabling us to build out Power Apps to make our project management flexible and responsive to customers, and that Power BI could provide insightful reports and forecasts.
- Emeka Vishal Onyearugbulem, Project Manager & PMO Team Leader
Emeka challenged CPS to develop a roadmap to meet three objectives. The Microsoft platform must deliver:
- Clear and fast reports showing resources used with each project, to enable better planning of workload and project team time
- Up-to-date and accurate project resource availability, so that new work for customers could be confidently scheduled and build-time committed
- Quickly and simply generated overview of projects in flight and in the pipeline, so that efficiency measures could be monitored and forecasts made for the future
CPS worked closely with my team, adapted a solution that met our unique requirements, and created a detailed three-year roadmap to implementation,” says Emeka. “CPS knew our business inside out and understood my vision. So they were always on the same page. That made implementing the system and training our people to exploit its potential much more straightforward.
says Emeka Vishal Onyearugbulem, Project Manager & PMO Team Leader.
Project Online is now fully implemented at KUKA Systems UK. The three objectives Emeka set CPS were “all definitely achieved”, and the system is being widely used by staff and management to improve project planning and delivery efficiency. KUKA is starting to experience real operational benefits for the business.
Since implementing our new platform, all our projects were delivered on time and on budget,” Emeka says. “We have much better visibility of resource use, and what is going well and what is slipping, so we can rectify issues quickly. This means we’re serving customers more effectively and we are operating more efficiently.
says Emeka Vishal Onyearugbulem, Project Manager & PMO Team Leader.
For Nichola Mohammed, Project and Workflow Planner in Emeka’s team, Project Online is a “total game changer”. She uses the standard graphs on the system to follow resource capacity and availability for each project, and levels out demands across a master plan, electrical plan, mechanical plan and production plan.
We have a much clearer view of our capability to manage new customer projects,” says Nichola. “If sales people say we’re expecting a job in two weeks, I can look at our graphs and move resource around or give a very accurate delivery date. Senior managers get fast information and forecasts. Project managers are less stressed because their time is allocated according to realistic availability, and any looming resource issues are clear much earlier.
says Nichola Mohammed, Project and Workflow Planner
Emeka is also using Power Apps to improve project management flexibility and mobility, enhancing efficiency and saving costs into the future.
“I’ve built a Power App for people on the shopfloor to remotely log timesheet information directly to administration, speeding up input and cutting back on paper. On the sales side, we’re using a Power App with SharePoint for access to the project pipeline, enabling queries to be added and changes to be tracked. Using Power Automate, all tasks in the project plan are now sent to engineers through Microsoft Teams and Planner. All data is from Project Online, giving a single version of the truth.”
The company is impressed with the UK’s vision and pioneering platform and is considering leveraging its experience in other parts of the group, including in KUKA’s headquarters in Germany. Meanwhile, CPS continues to support KUKA Systems UK with a three-year service contract to provide support as required.
“The new platform has made an amazing difference to the business already, and we plan to keep building on it in future,” says Emeka. “I would like to see us move to a Power App project management platform so we could start a project in the sales stage and enable all documents to be completed, despatched to the right people and docu-signed via the app. We want template consistency but also flexibility and agility to stay ahead of the curve.”
- All projects delivered on time and to budget
- Resource issues are quickly balanced out and project staff are less stressed
- New customer projects can be phased into the plan with accurate delivery dates
- Management reports and graphs support quality decision making
- Power Apps improve flexibility and mobility, enhance efficiency and save costs
All projects were delivered on time and within budget. Resource allocation is efficiently monitored and balanced between projects. Customer experience is improved.
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