Introduction of the multi-project management software Blue Ant at MCP
MCP GmbH was founded in 2007 and is a consultancy company specializing in industrial production planning. With a team of 25, the Austrian company, with headquarters in Vienna and branch offices in Austria and Düsseldorf, has specialized in advising medium-sized companies and global players. MCP covers almost all industries, from electronics and vehicle construction to food and cosmetics. MCP has been managing its project landscape with Blue Ant since October 2016.
For me as a member of the management, resource planning is particularly important.MR HANSAL - PARTNER AND PROJECT MANAGER
We spoke to Christoph Hansal, partner and project manager of MCP GmbH, about the introduction of the multi-project management software in his company.
Mr Hansal, what is your position at MCP GmbH and what are your areas of responsibility?
As a partner and co-owner of MCP GmbH, I perform all strategic tasks within the company and oversee all areas of operational implementation. I manage the HR and sales departments, and take care of funding and the expansion and maintenance of our cooperation with companies, sales partners, universities and research institutes.
Please describe MCP’s services and how they are used in practice.
MCP is a company consultancy specializing in industrial production planning. As the largest partner of the Siemens “Preactor” APS tool in the German-speaking world, we offer efficient ways to make optimum use of resources within production. APS stands for "Advanced Planning and Scheduling". Our customers use "Preactor" for capacity and fine –tuning of production.
In our experience, the majority of our customers use Excel or an ERP system for production planning. As part of our projects, we implement the "Preactor" software, and optimize their production planning with the help of intelligent algorithms. This can significantly increase efficiency, especially for customers who, for example, produce essential components of the Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 rockets for European space travel, or plan offshore wind parks for energy generation in the North Sea or high-speed trains.
How would you describe the project landscape within MCP GmbH?
We often implement around 30 projects in different project stages at the same time in the company. For the most part, these are external customer projects, but our internal software development also has to be managed. There is a lot of scope for customer projects. There is no real standard because the effort of a project is between 30 and 400 days, and the project duration is between two months and about one year. It can be said, however, that the project landscape has grown rapidly in recent years.
What was the reason for introducing project management software?
Due to our growth and internationalization it was necessary to ensure a certain order and transparency in the projects. Specifically, this meant that transparency in resource planning had to increase, project management standards had to be standardized within the company, the "closed loop approach" had to be mapped from quotation process to invoicing, and not least the transfer steps between sales, implementation and support had to be structured. We expected the software to help us with these processes.
What was the decisive factor for in your decision to implement Blue Ant?
Blue Ant is web-based, platform-independent software that can be purchased both as a cloud and an in-house solution. This enabled us to use Blue Ant simultaneously at all locations in Austria and Germany right from the start.
Blue Ant covers our requirements for project management software. The solution offers functions ranging from initial planning and quotation to project controlling and billing. In addition, numerous marginal processes can be handled, such as holiday and business travel requests.
Blue Ant’s status reports, multi-project dashboards and the many options in resource planning also impressed us. In addition, the software now reliably supports our monitoring and active planning of project portfolios.
These options, along with standardized reports, individual evaluation capability and good usability were decisive factors in our decision.
How did you organise the introduction of Blue Ant? Were there any complications?
The introduction itself has been made simple by the support of our local partner, wsop. In addition, the Blue Ant documentation is very clear and comprehensible, so that everything from integration to use was very straightforward.
How do your employees work with the solution?
Currently, 24 staff work in three user groups with Blue Ant:
- Project managers: ten people
- Developers: nine people
- Management/Back-Office: five people
There are also different application scenarios. For example, the project managers use Blue Ant over the entire project duration up to invoicing and completion of the project. They structure the project into work packages, record milestones and set up reminders.
The developers use the system mainly for the time recording and billing of expenses and receipts. The percent complete is currently being evaluated.
Management and Back-Office, on the other hand, use Blue Ant for resource planning, forecasting, expense reporting, and receipt control.
How was the software accepted by the staff and did your project work change?
The software went down very well with the staff. Blue Ant has replaced Excel, created more transparency, produced an improved overview (also of their own work) and the user friendliness has also increased significantly. Work packages can be better budgeted and we have an optimized plan/actual control of work effort and budget. All of this means that there are no more nasty surprises in the project implementation because we always have a complete insight into every project.
How does Blue Ant support MCP with regard to the specific requirements in your day-to-day business?
Project management is the core of our business, so Blue Ant covers all our requirements. For me as a manager, resource planning is especially valuable: evaluating our controlling allows us to gain a useful insight into the company and reveal new potential. In addition, we have taken a major step forward in budgeting work for internal projects and activities and their consideration in planning.
How has Blue Ant been integrated into the existing controlling landscape?
In addition to our accounting system, Blue Ant is the only controlling entity. There is no additional integration.
How do you see the future cooperation between MCP GmbH and proventis?
I don’t think we have fully exhausted the possibilities of Blue Ant. For example, processes that are directly related to development (such as source code or ticket management) do not use Blue Ant. In this case, we may be able to support Blue Ant's JIRA plugin because we use JIRA for our development work. We’ll see what the future holds!
Mr Hansal, thank you for talking to us.
(Client Review from 2017)