Case Study: Early Market Penetration and Continuous Improvement
December 2, 2010
Continuous improvement is the life-blood of any successful organization. As the economy improves, the lessons learned by those organizations that have successfully maximized their resources, streamlined processes and facilitated effective workforce collaboration have become more competitive and captured greater market share in recent years. Many business leaders wisely turned to project methodologies to facilitate an environment of process improvement during the recent economic downturn.
Although project management methodologies have traditionally found their home within IT and software development, many savvy business leaders have been able to utilize the structure of project management methodologies to successfully manage other types of project-based work, including marketing, financial services and new product development.
As organizations become more global in terms of product development and manufacturing, it has become increasingly important for managers to efficiently manage teams in different time zones and different languages, and do it all in real time.
Utilizing the methods and the right software solutions to enable today’s project managers to work with teams spread throughout the world has become increasingly important.
Rawlings, part of Jarden Team Sports, is the leading manufacturer and marketer of baseball equipment and other sporting goods in the United States. As the official baseball and helmet manufacturer of Major League Baseball and the official ball producer of the NCAA baseball championships, Rawlings was looking for a project management solution that would allow it to accelerate new product introduction and increase early market penetration.
“Most college baseball teams start hitting the batting cages in the fall,” says Ben McIntosh, commercialization manager at Rawlings. “If we can get next season’s bats in the hands of college players in the fall, they’ll be using our bats the following spring. We chose AtTask as our project management solution because we believe they will help us do that.”
The challenges associated with new product research and development in a global manufacturing environment made it difficult for Rawlings to make accurate projections on new product introduction and delivery. To accelerate the new product development and manufacturing of baseball bats, Rawlings needed a project and portfolio management (PPM) solution that would provide increased visibility into the research and development process while addressing three specific objectives. These objectives include:
Fostering collaboration. Coordinating teamwork among their global development team was critical to the new product development process. The solution needed to address the needs of project teams in different time zones, different countries and teams speaking different languages.
A centralized location. An area accessible to everyone on the project team for shared development data was necessary to enable members to more efficiently manage the information needed to meet project milestones.
The ability to accurately forecast projected completion dates. Identifying lagging projects early was deemed critical to keep projects on schedule. Knowing that a project is in trouble after it is too late is of no value to any organization.
A New DirectionTo support Rawlings’ objective to provide transparency, reduce costs and drive new product introduction, AtTask enables companies to deploy globally, increase visibility and accountability, and accelerate market penetration. Rawlings leverages AtTask’s solution to facilitate team collaboration anywhere bats are manufactured. Because AtTask works on any platform and browser, automatically accounts for different time zones and is the only PPM solution available in English, Spanish and Chinese, Rawlings’ global development teams can collaborate and work together in real time.
Centralizing project data enables Rawlings to increase visibility and accountability on every project from concept to delivery. All the information needed for project teams to meet milestones and stay on track is at AtTask’s fingertips, empowering Rawlings’ project teams to deliver on time.
AtTask automatically creates project projections based on real-time project status. This enables Rawlings to accurately forecast projected completion dates, giving project managers the information needed to keep projects on track, help project teams be more efficient and expedite the development process, thereby shortening the time it takes for Rawlings to get to market with new products and to grow market share.
Successful AnywhereAtTask gives Rawlings visibility into every initiative, enabling them to search for any product known to be in development and identify where it is in the process, the anticipated delivery date and whether it can be expected to meet the scheduled delivery date.
Giving project managers a heads-up on potentially lagging projects enables Rawlings’ project managers to take actions to bring projects back on track before it is too late. “Our product is 100% seasonal,” McIntosh says. “If we miss our deadline, our opportunity for that year is lost. AtTask allows us to know exactly where any product in development is at, at any point in time-helping us keep projects on track so we can hit our scheduled delivery date.
“We considered 12 to 13 other project management solutions,” McIntosh continues. “Compared to the other solutions we considered, I was confident that AtTask would do what we needed it to do. From the minute I watched the online demo, I haven’t been disappointed.”