Whether it was email or physical inbox, STIHL relied on paper-based forms, printing them and filling them out, and then walking them over or scanning them to the next person in the process. STIHL began the process of workflow automation using Microsoft InfoPath, but upon learning that the product was being deprecated, sought a more robust platform from a company they had confidence would be around for the foreseeable future.
Achieving a Digital Workplace
Efficiency, transparency and accountability; thesewere the key aspirations for STIHL Australia as theyembarked on a journey of digital transformation toreign in complex processes that were putting a strainon the business.
Take their product launches for example, of which STIHLmanages up to 30 in any given year. Spanning virtuallyevery part of the business, a launch may have touchpoints from Product Management, Marketing, Finance,Supply Chain, through to IT. Traditionally, their launchesencompassed managing Excel spreadsheets in multiplelocations with multiple owners managing their owntasks. Therese Chakour-West, Head of IT at STIHLAustralia, realized this needed to be addressed.
“You would assume that the spreadsheets were beingupdated and maintained, but this wasn’t always thecase. We identified that we weren’t seeing a single viewof the truth and that problems would arise late in thegame due to the lack of proper workflow and sign off.”
Whether it was email or physical inbox, STIHL reliedon paper-based forms, printing them and filling themout, and then walking them over or scanning them tothe next person in the process. As soon as a form wasprinted, they lost visibility as to where it was, requiringnumerous, time-consuming follow-ups to determine thestatus of a workflow at any given time.
STIHL began the process of workflow automation usingMicrosoft InfoPath, but upon learning that the productwas being deprecated, sought a more robust platformfrom a company they had confidence would be aroundfor the foreseeable future. They looked both at K2and Nintex offerings but chose the former due to, inChakour-West’s words, “K2 wasn’t just a SharePointbasedsolution, and we were looking at integratingwith our Microsoft Dynamics CRM system, as well aspotentially other line-of-business applications suchas SAP.”
With a solution selected, STIHL began rolling out K2in December of 2015, taking a pragmatic approach inautomating relatively small yet meaningful processes.
Managing Successful Deployments
For its first automation project, STIHL chose a capitalexpenditure request (Capex) form and workflow, whichwould offer users full transparency when submitting,approving and managing Capex requests. This in turnprovided STIHL Australia with a streamlined electronicapproval process. Implementation of the new CapexK2 solution increased the speed at which informationand documents could be transferred between STIHLdepartments and employees. Moreover, this solutionautomated the process and reduced lead time.
The Capex solution provides the following capabilities:
- Accessible through SharePoint Intranet
- Applicable fields are pre-populated based on thelogged in user
- Ability to add Capex details including assetdetails, Capex plan (value of plan, year-to-datespend, plan remaining, cost center, etc.), uploadquotations and costings, additional costing infoand documents
- Email notifications to approvers
- Ability to approve via email replies
- Ability to request more information from previousapprovers
- Access all the tasks in one single location throughK2 Task Manager
- Generate a PDF version of the form upon approval
Additional successful process automation initiatives deployed by STIHL include:
STIHL uses K2 process applications to manage,maintain and track the progress of all product launches(new/change/deletion) and product changes, and tohave a repository where all documents and data thatrelate to the product launch process reside.
Contracts and Agreement Register
K2 provides STIHL the ability to create simpleworkflows to help manage all vendor contracts, as wellas view these contracts and documents associated withinduction and insur ance in one place. STIHL also usesK2 to create a central repository to facilitate recordkeeping, tracking and transparency within the businesswith respect to sensitive vendor information.
End User Call Management
Processes built using K2 provide STIHL end users withbetter customer service with the ability to manageand record end user inquiries in a single locationand provide a knowledge base to STIHL call centeroperators.
A key driver to the success of STIHL‘s transformationwas the foresight to work with a partner with domainexpertise of the K2 platform.
"When we went live with our digital workplace initially, we had a partner we were working with but found they weren’t committed to our project, so they would come in, complete a piece of work and then be off again, so they weren’t really immersing themselves in our business. Not only did NEXTEQ know K2 inside and out, they strove to understand our business and needs to truly engage with us making them great implementers."
With a successful initiative to move to a truly digitalworkplace, STIHL is seeing both tangible results froma process perspective as well as achieving their goal ofheightened efficiency, transparency and accountability.
“We did some analysis and found that we’ve achieveda 25 – 30 percent improvement in speed of delivery;but more significantly, what we have achieved isgreater transparency in where any bottlenecks are, andnot having people walking around asking for statusof a form. Now you know exactly where it’s at, andcan retrieve that information yourself online,” statedChakour-West.
Looking forward, she has identified a few additionalkey process automation initiatives to more fully realizeSTIHL’s digital transformation. For example, K2 will playa part in an upcoming extranet launch to automate anyprocesses that might start within the business, such as dealer onboarding. STIHL also plans to migrateto K2 Cloud as one of their key initiatives to becomemore mobile in 2019. This will allow them to continueto optimize their processes while also maintaining theresults they’ve been able to achieve thus far.
IT solutions by:
NEXTEQ helps businesses to move smoothly and steadily towardsits goals with a broader range of business and technology solutions,with expertise across Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint,Office 365, Dynamics CRM and Azure. As a K2 partner their processautomation team designs, builds, integrates and supports K2solutions. The NEXTEQ team, powered by experienced and customercentric professionals, can take your business from where it is today tosomeplace extraordinary tomorrow.