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INDUSTRY
Automotive
DEPARTMENT
Precision Engineering
SOLUTION
Microsoft Project Server
TPG PSLink
TPG ProjectLink
Integrated Project Management Solution:Even
complex projects on time and on budget
SMALL THINGS SET LARGE ONES IN MOTION
Precision engineering company Alfmeier Präzision SE
refers to the tiny components it makes with the inspir-
ing phrase: “Small things set large ones in motion”.
Starting with small steps, a change of system supporting
its project management organization has also moved
the company forward, making it more efficient and
competitive.
A key component of the enterprise project manage-
ment solution is the bidirectional data synchronization
between SAP and Microsoft Project, making cost and re-
source planning simpler and more accurate.
Alfmeier Präzision SE is a global high-tech company serv-
ing the automotive and other industries. With about 2000
employees worldwide, it is a recognized specialist in plastic
injection molding and fluid systems as well as electronics,
mechatronics and car seat solutions.
The Fluid Systems business unit develops intelligent solu-
tions for applications such as fuel supply, servo assistance,
flap control, crank case ventilation as well as thermal man-
agement. The Seat Comfort division focuses on a range of
advanced solutions for car seats that adapt to the anatomy
of the vehicle’s occupants.
The company is headquartered in Treuchtlingen (Germany)
and has subsidiaries in the USA, Mexico, Czech Republic,
China and Korea.
Case Study
PATCHWORK OF DIFFERENT TOOLS
With the implementation of SAP PS and other tools for
project planning, the precision engineering company end-
ed up using a plethora of different systems. Each project
manager had their own preference. So if management
wanted to know how a specific project – or even the over-
all project cost – was progressing, they had to ask each
project manager individually.
This was a particularly complex undertaking in Alfmeier’s
case as the company operates in multiple different coun-
tries. Project managers would request and create projects
in SAP PS, while documents produced by the teams dur-
ing the course of the project work were in other formats,
such as Word and Excel – particularly for cost estimates,
proposal approvals and change requests.
The staff entered their timesheet information in SAP and
managers produced reports in Excel, PowerPoint, Access
and Word as well as APIS and QlikView.
This made it challenging to consolidate all the infor-
mation as a basis for planning and decision-making. As
each project manager was using his or her preferred
planning and scheduling tool, there was no quick way
to review the teams’ schedules and ensure optimal
staff resource utilization.
CENTRALIZE AND STREAMLINE
PROJECT PLANNING
Erich Taube, Head of Project Management Office (PMO)
at Alfmeier Präzision SE, headed up a team tasked with
finding a suitable solution for streamlining and stand-
ardizing project planning processes.
“With our fairly intensive use of Microsoft Office prod-
ucts, we thought Microsoft Project Server would be the
best fit, so we set about looking for potential partners,”
says Erich Taube.
Meeting specialists from TPG The Project Group, Erich
Taube and his team were impressed by their experi-
ence and their quick grasp of the project management
situation at Alfmeier. The team drew up a matrix com-
paring the offerings of the various providers, and TPG
came out clearly on top.
“But what really clinched it for TPG was their TPG
PSLink product for bidirectional data synchronization
between SAP and Microsoft Project Server, along with
their ability to customize Microsoft Project Server to
our needs,” adds Taube.
CUSTOMIZED FUNCTIONALITY
The first step was for everyone involved to get round a ta-
ble and define the project’s specifications and goals. This
was followed by the implementation of a test system to
run alongside the production system on both the Micro-
soft Project and SAP sides.
The two teams worked together to implement over 100
user-defined fields in Microsoft Project, mainly SAP-relat-
ed. Alfmeier staff ran a sample project through the sys-
tems to test both sides, including the planning process as
well as schedules and costs.
TPG was then tasked with developing a custom function
for Alfmeier’s project managers. “We wanted a profit-
ability indicator, updated in real time, to enable project
managers to see at a glance how profitable their projects
were,” comments Erich Taube.
That way, project staff could work with their familiar tool
without needing any expertise in the use of SAP. TPG de-
veloped the custom feature and implemented it together
with the rest of the system.
On the Alfmeier side, Erich Taube and his team facilitated
user acceptance by organizing multiple training courses.
They also designated individuals in the PMO who could in-
tervene immediately in case of any problems in the field.
In addition, the team supports several power users in the
local offices who are able to help their colleagues quickly
when queries arise.
„What really clinched it for TPG was their
TPG PSLink product for bidirectional data
synchronization between SAP and Micro-
soft Project Server.“
“We’re really pleased with the new PPM system, as it standardizes the entire planning
procedure. We’ve set up a project cockpit that enables us to see the status of every pro-
ject at the click of a mouse.“
RESULT: PRODUCTION SYSTEM RUNNING WELL
The production system has been running smoothly since
May 2016 and supports all new projects. Although the
previous system is still being used to support some older
projects, it will gradually be retired once these projects
are completed. Erich Taube believes this stage will be
reached by the end of 2017.
“We’re really pleased with the new Microsoft PPM sys-
tem, as it standardizes the entire planning procedure.
We’ve set up a project cockpit that enables us to see
the status of every project at the click of a mouse,” Erich
Taube says.
The bidirectional synchronization between Microsoft
Project and SAP, based on TPG PSLink, is also running sat-
isfactorily. It sends project information, WBS elements
and planned costs from Project Server to SAP; and actu-
al costs, profitability information and resource updates
from SAP to Project Server.
TPG ProjectLink is used for multi-level scheduling. As a
Microsoft Project Server extension, this product enables
cross-project links. These are used for large-scale com-
ponents handled in a master plan and several sub-plans.
The master plan contains the requirements which the
sub-project managers have to observe. The information
from the sub-plans is reported back to the masterplan
(see figure on the next page).
The Company: Alfmeier Präzision SE is a global manufac-
turer of precision system solutions using valves, actuators,
pumps, and controllers. Based in Treuchtlingen (Germa-
ny) and with a global workforce of about 2,000 employees
world-wide, its core competencies include plastic tech-
nology, electronics, mechatronics, fluid tech-nology and
industrial solutions. Alfmeier is a leading supplier to the
automotive industry as well as medical technology and
other sectors.
The Challenge: The company’s project managers were all
using a mix of different project management solutions, in-
cluding a variety of Microsoft Office applications. If a man-
ager wanted an overview of project costs, he or she had to
ask each project manager individually. This made cost and
resource planning, as well as scheduling and reporting,
difficult and time consuming.
The Solution: The project management solution is based
on Microsoft Project Server, which TPG has customized
with over 100 user-defined fields. As SAP is a central busi-
ness solution at Alfmeier, the company has also imple-
mented TPG PSLink to synchronize information between
the project management and ERP systems. TPG Project-
Link is used for multi-level scheduling in the case of large-
scale components with multiple sub-projects.
The Benefits: All aspects of project planning – including
scheduling, resource planning, actual and planned costs,
reporting and more – are significantly faster and more ef-
ficient since the company has been using the enterprise
project management solution. It has saved time and mon-
ey through across-the-board project visibility and accel-
erated reporting, while facilitating the firms’ capacity to
complete even complex projects on time and on budget.
SHORT PROJECT PROFILE
www.theprojectgroup.com
www.theprojectgroup.com/blog/en
www.youtube.com/tpgtheprojectgroup
www.twitter.com/tpg_com(@tpg_com)
Copyright TPG The Project Group / All rights reserved 12/2017 (v1.0)
BENEFITS OF THE NEW SOLUTION
“The solution’s main benefit to our business is better and
more efficient planning, which helps us ensure we complete
our projects on time and on budget,” notes Erich Taube.
“We also save a lot of time on reporting, as we no longer
need to ask each project manager individually to pro-
duce a report – we simply roll them all up together as
everyone’s using the same system.” These reports com-
pare actual costs, profitability information and complet-
ed milestones. They also visualize the differences be-
tween target and actual values with a traffic light display.
Plus, the PMO is able to look into the workloads of project
managers and teams, which also contributes to better plan-
ning. Alfmeier has about 100 projects in the new system,
of which approximately 60 are running in parallel. Around
80% of the projects comprise 300-350 tasks.
“The larger ones can have up to 1000 tasks, so the new
enterprise project management solution is essential to
help us ensure these complex projects are completed
efficiently from a cost and resourcing point of view,”
adds Taube.
NEXT STEPS
Erich Taube and his team are expanding usage of the pro-
ject management system to more users – there are cur-
rently around 35 people using Microsoft Project Client
and 150 using Project Web App – while increasing the
number of projects running on the system.
“We’ve started with fairly small steps to ensure we got
things right before extending it to a large group of us-
ers,” concludes Erich Taube. “As we say at Alfmeier, it’s
small things that set large ones in motion!”.
SOLUTION PARTNER
TPG The Project Group GmbH
Destouchesstr. 68
80796 Munich / Germany
Dr. Thomas Henkelmann
Director Consulting Services
Tel: +49 89 615 593 30
ThomasH@theprojectgroup.com
www.theprojectgroup.com
CLIENT
Alfmeier Präzision SE
Industriestraße 5
91757 Treuchtlingen / Germany
Erich Taube
PMO Leader
Tel. +49 9142 / 70-0
Erich.Taube@Alfmeier.de
www.alfmeier.de
“We also save a lot of time on reporting, as we no longer need to ask each project
manager individually to produce a report – we simply roll them all up together as
everyone’s using the same system.”
Multi-level scheduling with TPG ProjectLInk enables cross-project links to control sub-projects from a master project.

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Case Study Alfmeier Präzision SE - English

  • 1. INDUSTRY Automotive DEPARTMENT Precision Engineering SOLUTION Microsoft Project Server TPG PSLink TPG ProjectLink Integrated Project Management Solution:Even complex projects on time and on budget SMALL THINGS SET LARGE ONES IN MOTION Precision engineering company Alfmeier Präzision SE refers to the tiny components it makes with the inspir- ing phrase: “Small things set large ones in motion”. Starting with small steps, a change of system supporting its project management organization has also moved the company forward, making it more efficient and competitive. A key component of the enterprise project manage- ment solution is the bidirectional data synchronization between SAP and Microsoft Project, making cost and re- source planning simpler and more accurate. Alfmeier Präzision SE is a global high-tech company serv- ing the automotive and other industries. With about 2000 employees worldwide, it is a recognized specialist in plastic injection molding and fluid systems as well as electronics, mechatronics and car seat solutions. The Fluid Systems business unit develops intelligent solu- tions for applications such as fuel supply, servo assistance, flap control, crank case ventilation as well as thermal man- agement. The Seat Comfort division focuses on a range of advanced solutions for car seats that adapt to the anatomy of the vehicle’s occupants. The company is headquartered in Treuchtlingen (Germany) and has subsidiaries in the USA, Mexico, Czech Republic, China and Korea. Case Study
  • 2. PATCHWORK OF DIFFERENT TOOLS With the implementation of SAP PS and other tools for project planning, the precision engineering company end- ed up using a plethora of different systems. Each project manager had their own preference. So if management wanted to know how a specific project – or even the over- all project cost – was progressing, they had to ask each project manager individually. This was a particularly complex undertaking in Alfmeier’s case as the company operates in multiple different coun- tries. Project managers would request and create projects in SAP PS, while documents produced by the teams dur- ing the course of the project work were in other formats, such as Word and Excel – particularly for cost estimates, proposal approvals and change requests. The staff entered their timesheet information in SAP and managers produced reports in Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Word as well as APIS and QlikView. This made it challenging to consolidate all the infor- mation as a basis for planning and decision-making. As each project manager was using his or her preferred planning and scheduling tool, there was no quick way to review the teams’ schedules and ensure optimal staff resource utilization. CENTRALIZE AND STREAMLINE PROJECT PLANNING Erich Taube, Head of Project Management Office (PMO) at Alfmeier Präzision SE, headed up a team tasked with finding a suitable solution for streamlining and stand- ardizing project planning processes. “With our fairly intensive use of Microsoft Office prod- ucts, we thought Microsoft Project Server would be the best fit, so we set about looking for potential partners,” says Erich Taube. Meeting specialists from TPG The Project Group, Erich Taube and his team were impressed by their experi- ence and their quick grasp of the project management situation at Alfmeier. The team drew up a matrix com- paring the offerings of the various providers, and TPG came out clearly on top. “But what really clinched it for TPG was their TPG PSLink product for bidirectional data synchronization between SAP and Microsoft Project Server, along with their ability to customize Microsoft Project Server to our needs,” adds Taube. CUSTOMIZED FUNCTIONALITY The first step was for everyone involved to get round a ta- ble and define the project’s specifications and goals. This was followed by the implementation of a test system to run alongside the production system on both the Micro- soft Project and SAP sides. The two teams worked together to implement over 100 user-defined fields in Microsoft Project, mainly SAP-relat- ed. Alfmeier staff ran a sample project through the sys- tems to test both sides, including the planning process as well as schedules and costs. TPG was then tasked with developing a custom function for Alfmeier’s project managers. “We wanted a profit- ability indicator, updated in real time, to enable project managers to see at a glance how profitable their projects were,” comments Erich Taube. That way, project staff could work with their familiar tool without needing any expertise in the use of SAP. TPG de- veloped the custom feature and implemented it together with the rest of the system. On the Alfmeier side, Erich Taube and his team facilitated user acceptance by organizing multiple training courses. They also designated individuals in the PMO who could in- tervene immediately in case of any problems in the field. In addition, the team supports several power users in the local offices who are able to help their colleagues quickly when queries arise. „What really clinched it for TPG was their TPG PSLink product for bidirectional data synchronization between SAP and Micro- soft Project Server.“
  • 3. “We’re really pleased with the new PPM system, as it standardizes the entire planning procedure. We’ve set up a project cockpit that enables us to see the status of every pro- ject at the click of a mouse.“ RESULT: PRODUCTION SYSTEM RUNNING WELL The production system has been running smoothly since May 2016 and supports all new projects. Although the previous system is still being used to support some older projects, it will gradually be retired once these projects are completed. Erich Taube believes this stage will be reached by the end of 2017. “We’re really pleased with the new Microsoft PPM sys- tem, as it standardizes the entire planning procedure. We’ve set up a project cockpit that enables us to see the status of every project at the click of a mouse,” Erich Taube says. The bidirectional synchronization between Microsoft Project and SAP, based on TPG PSLink, is also running sat- isfactorily. It sends project information, WBS elements and planned costs from Project Server to SAP; and actu- al costs, profitability information and resource updates from SAP to Project Server. TPG ProjectLink is used for multi-level scheduling. As a Microsoft Project Server extension, this product enables cross-project links. These are used for large-scale com- ponents handled in a master plan and several sub-plans. The master plan contains the requirements which the sub-project managers have to observe. The information from the sub-plans is reported back to the masterplan (see figure on the next page). The Company: Alfmeier Präzision SE is a global manufac- turer of precision system solutions using valves, actuators, pumps, and controllers. Based in Treuchtlingen (Germa- ny) and with a global workforce of about 2,000 employees world-wide, its core competencies include plastic tech- nology, electronics, mechatronics, fluid tech-nology and industrial solutions. Alfmeier is a leading supplier to the automotive industry as well as medical technology and other sectors. The Challenge: The company’s project managers were all using a mix of different project management solutions, in- cluding a variety of Microsoft Office applications. If a man- ager wanted an overview of project costs, he or she had to ask each project manager individually. This made cost and resource planning, as well as scheduling and reporting, difficult and time consuming. The Solution: The project management solution is based on Microsoft Project Server, which TPG has customized with over 100 user-defined fields. As SAP is a central busi- ness solution at Alfmeier, the company has also imple- mented TPG PSLink to synchronize information between the project management and ERP systems. TPG Project- Link is used for multi-level scheduling in the case of large- scale components with multiple sub-projects. The Benefits: All aspects of project planning – including scheduling, resource planning, actual and planned costs, reporting and more – are significantly faster and more ef- ficient since the company has been using the enterprise project management solution. It has saved time and mon- ey through across-the-board project visibility and accel- erated reporting, while facilitating the firms’ capacity to complete even complex projects on time and on budget. SHORT PROJECT PROFILE
  • 4. www.theprojectgroup.com www.theprojectgroup.com/blog/en www.youtube.com/tpgtheprojectgroup www.twitter.com/tpg_com(@tpg_com) Copyright TPG The Project Group / All rights reserved 12/2017 (v1.0) BENEFITS OF THE NEW SOLUTION “The solution’s main benefit to our business is better and more efficient planning, which helps us ensure we complete our projects on time and on budget,” notes Erich Taube. “We also save a lot of time on reporting, as we no longer need to ask each project manager individually to pro- duce a report – we simply roll them all up together as everyone’s using the same system.” These reports com- pare actual costs, profitability information and complet- ed milestones. They also visualize the differences be- tween target and actual values with a traffic light display. Plus, the PMO is able to look into the workloads of project managers and teams, which also contributes to better plan- ning. Alfmeier has about 100 projects in the new system, of which approximately 60 are running in parallel. Around 80% of the projects comprise 300-350 tasks. “The larger ones can have up to 1000 tasks, so the new enterprise project management solution is essential to help us ensure these complex projects are completed efficiently from a cost and resourcing point of view,” adds Taube. NEXT STEPS Erich Taube and his team are expanding usage of the pro- ject management system to more users – there are cur- rently around 35 people using Microsoft Project Client and 150 using Project Web App – while increasing the number of projects running on the system. “We’ve started with fairly small steps to ensure we got things right before extending it to a large group of us- ers,” concludes Erich Taube. “As we say at Alfmeier, it’s small things that set large ones in motion!”. SOLUTION PARTNER TPG The Project Group GmbH Destouchesstr. 68 80796 Munich / Germany Dr. Thomas Henkelmann Director Consulting Services Tel: +49 89 615 593 30 ThomasH@theprojectgroup.com www.theprojectgroup.com CLIENT Alfmeier Präzision SE Industriestraße 5 91757 Treuchtlingen / Germany Erich Taube PMO Leader Tel. +49 9142 / 70-0 Erich.Taube@Alfmeier.de www.alfmeier.de “We also save a lot of time on reporting, as we no longer need to ask each project manager individually to produce a report – we simply roll them all up together as everyone’s using the same system.” Multi-level scheduling with TPG ProjectLInk enables cross-project links to control sub-projects from a master project.