The Challenge

Global Manufacturing Quality & Supply (GMQS) – the group of departments inside Fresenius Medical Care that enable production and delivery of their products to patients in 150 countries – was operating as a global organization with siloed departments and regionalized processes. Varying work methodologies, deficient communications, and shortfalls in operational transparency led to inefficient workflows prompting leadership to transform how the company works and collaborates globally.

The Solution

Needing a tool to help drive the GMQS change management initiatives, Jennifer Williams – Director of Operational Excellence – selected the Planview® solutions that included project portfolio management and project-centric work delivery. The result was a streamlining of global processes across regions and methodologies, increased visibility and transparency, and standardized reporting that fostered data-driven decision-making from leadership to project managers.

“My organization was tasked not with rolling out a system but with changing the way we worked. And we leveraged Planview to help us do that.”

– Jennifer Williams, Director of Operational Excellence

About Fresenius Medical Care

As a vertically integrated company, Fresenius Medical Care can offer almost all the products and services required for treating patients with chronic kidney failure – a condition that affects 3.5 million people worldwide. Their 4,000+ dialysis clinics in around 50 countries constitute the largest global network of its kind, providing one out of every two dialysis machines in use throughout the world today.

Challenge: Driving Simplicity, Visibility, and Global Collaboration

As Fresenius Medical Care continues to expand and introduce more operations around the world, the processes within the organization grow increasingly complex and differ across the regions in which it operates. Accordingly, Fresenius has become increasingly dependent on information and communication technologies to structure and harmonize its global business processes. A breakdown of those systems and processes could result in inefficient workflows, poor internal and external communications, and a lack of operational transparency, which could negatively affect the company’s operating results.

At the heart of Fresenius Medical Care’s operations is Global Manufacturing Quality and Supply (GMQS), a collective of groups that enable the company’s production lines. GMQS includes Finance, Human Resources, Global Supply Chain, Digital Integration (IT), Procurement, and Product Quality. Jennifer Williams, Director of Operational Excellence, and her team were tasked with transforming how GMQS works and collaborates globally. The mandates were clear: streamline global business processes, provide tools and techniques to enable global collaboration, and drive transparency and visibility.

Jennifer and her team quickly realized just how diverse the organization was, not only from a project management methodology standpoint – where regionalized teams used everything from Agile to waterfall to Lean Six Sigma – but also in terms of project management maturity, where “at least 70% of the project managers we have in the system are not dedicated project managers,” explains Georgia McCracken, Senior Program Manager.

“Every department had unique requests and special needs,” adds Jennifer, while recalling how difficult it was to design a unified system that would meet the demands of projects that ranged from very simple to highly complex. What GMQS needed was a global solution that would increase work visibility and help them standardize processes, while also being flexible enough to accommodate diverse methodologies and varying levels of project complexity.

Solution: Establishing “Just Enough” Governance to Standardize Across Regions and Methodologies

The initial focus for Jennifer and her team was to identify and assess the tools currently in use throughout the organization. In doing so, they found a wide array of software and technology employed by various groups, many of which were being used to accomplish similar tasks. Among those solutions was Planview Portfolios™. Capable of integrating strategy, planning, delivery, and outcomes, Portfolios was implemented by GMQS PMO for project status reporting and resource management; however, it had not been utilized to its full potential thus far.

Phase One began with a reimagining of how the Planview platform could better support the GMQS initiatives and eliminate non-value-added activities and duplicity. It became clear that connecting the project work delivery capabilities of Planview Projectplace™ with Portfolios would meet project teams at their individual level of maturity and provide a standardized framework for project execution across the varying work methodologies unique to each department.

Jennifer and her team collaborated with project managers to uncover common themes across all project types, methodologies, and business units across the global regions. Templates and a common language to communicate project details were then created using the Planview platform.This standardization process also helped raise the maturity of those “accidental project managers” who took on the roles without much prior project management experience.

Visuals and graphs displaying common data types were designed to inject uniformity into project status reporting at the highest level while also providing options to customize other information unique to specific methodologies. Dashboards now showed trends across all types of projects, aligning data points and enabling leadership to better evaluate projects with improved visibility and transparency.

Results: Achieving Operational Excellence Through Organizational Transformation

GMQS connected Portfolios and Projectplace to improve work visibility throughout the organization and support enterprise-wide organizational transformation. Jennifer notes, “My organization was tasked not with rolling out a system but with changing the way we worked. And we leveraged Planview to help us do that.”

Across 50 production sites in more than 20 countries, Planview’s platform enabled GMQS to reduce complexity, streamline and integrate existing tools and systems, increase collaboration among project managers and teams, and standardize reporting across project types and work methodologies, giving leadership a complete overview of ongoing projects throughout the portfolio. “We are more transparent than we have ever been,” continues Jennifer. “It is really nice to be able to just do the work, and then the data collection around that work is just there.”

The growth of individual project managers has been a significant success that GMQS wants to continue building on. To ensure that the right approach to governance is in place, “One of the things we’re doing right now is putting together a maturity assessment model to use as we onboard various groups,” says Georgia.

Up next for GMQS is to expand their PPM capabilities around prioritization and resource capacity planning to accelerate their journey.

Fresenius leverages Planview Portfolios, powered by Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS). AWS is Planview’s preferred public cloud provider, enhancing security and availability for our customers and accelerating innovation in our products.

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