STIHL Brings Efficiency, Transparency and Accountability to the Digital Workplace with K2


stihl and k2 in the digital workplace

Summary

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

CHALLENGE

Efficiency, transparency and accountability; these were the key aspirations for STIHL Australia as they embarked on a journey of digital transformation to reign in complex processes that were putting a strain on the business.

Take their product launches for example, of which STIHL manages up to 30 in any given year. Spanning virtually every part of the business, a launch may have touch points from Product Management, Marketing, Finance, Supply Chain, through to IT. Traditionally, their launches encompassed managing Excel spreadsheets in multiple locations with multiple owners managing their own tasks. Therese Chakour-West, Head of IT at STIHL Australia, realized this needed to be addressed.

“You would assume that the spreadsheets were being updated and maintained, but this wasn’t always the case. We identified that we weren’t seeing a single view of the truth and that problems would arise late in the game due to the lack of proper workflow and sign off.”

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. As soon as a form was printed, they lost visibility as to where it was, requiring numerous, time-consuming follow-ups to determine the status of a workflow at any given time.

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. They looked both at K2 and Nintex offerings but chose the former due to, in Chakour-West’s words, “K2 wasn’t just a SharePointbased solution, and we were looking at integrating with our Microsoft Dynamics CRM system, as well as potentially other line-of-business applications such as SAP.”

With a solution selected, STIHL began rolling out K2 in December of 2015, taking a pragmatic approach in automating relatively small yet meaningful processes.

SOLUTION

Managing Successful Deployments

For its first automation project, STIHL chose a capital expenditure request (Capex) form and workflow, which would offer users full transparency when submitting, approving and managing Capex requests. This in turn provided STIHL Australia with a streamlined electronic approval process. Implementation of the new Capex K2 solution increased the speed at which information and documents could be transferred between STIHL departments and employees. Moreover, this solution automated the process and reduced lead time.

The Capex solution provides the following capabilities:

  • Accessible through SharePoint Intranet
  • Applicable fields are pre-populated based on the logged in user
  • Ability to add Capex details including asset details, Capex plan (value of plan, year-to-date spend, plan remaining, cost center, etc.), upload quotations and costings, additional costing info and documents
  • Email notifications to approvers
  • Ability to approve via email replies
  • Ability to request more information from previous approvers
  • Access all the tasks in one single location through K2 Task Manager
  • Generate a PDF version of the form upon approval

Additional successful process automation initiatives deployed by STIHL include:

  • Product Launch

    STIHL uses K2 process applications to manage, maintain and track the progress of all product launches (new/change/deletion) and product changes, and to have a repository where all documents and data that relate to the product launch process reside.

  • Contracts and Agreement Register

    K2 provides STIHL the ability to create simple workflows to help manage all vendor contracts, as well as view these contracts and documents associated with induction and insur ance in one place. STIHL also uses K2 to create a central repository to facilitate record keeping, tracking and transparency within the business with respect to sensitive vendor information.

  • End User Call Management

    Processes built using K2 provide STIHL end users with better customer service with the ability to manage and record end user inquiries in a single location and provide a knowledge base to STIHL call center operators.

    A key driver to the success of STIHL‘s transformation was the foresight to work with a partner with domain expertise 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."

Results Realized

With a successful initiative to move to a truly digital workplace, STIHL is seeing both tangible results from a process perspective as well as achieving their goal of heightened efficiency, transparency and accountability.

“We did some analysis and found that we’ve achieved a 25 – 30 percent improvement in speed of delivery; but more significantly, what we have achieved is greater transparency in where any bottlenecks are, and not having people walking around asking for status of a form. Now you know exactly where it’s at, and can retrieve that information yourself online,” stated Chakour-West.

Looking forward, she has identified a few additional key process automation initiatives to more fully realize STIHL’s digital transformation. For example, K2 will play a part in an upcoming extranet launch to automate any processes that might start within the business, such as dealer onboarding. STIHL also plans to migrate to K2 Cloud as one of their key initiatives to become more mobile in 2019. This will allow them to continue to optimize their processes while also maintaining the results they’ve been able to achieve thus far.

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