How Zebra Technologies Transformed their Decision Making
Interview with Evan Meyers, PPRM Process Manager at Zebra Technologies.
Introduction and company description (0:00 to 1:00)
Hi, my name is Evan Meyers. I am the PPRM Process Manager at Zebra Technologies.
So Zebra Technologies is all about delivering performance at the edge of business, where businesses interact with their customers, providing data right at the edge where a retail transaction can happen where somebody is asking for help on the floor, and someone pulls out a device and is able to tell that individual that, "Yes, we have your good in stock, but it's in one store over, and if you give me your credit card right now I can complete that transaction, and as you roll up to the next year store there'll be ready to hand it to you."
It's basically a way to compete with the on demand economy to enable the on demand economy and compete with things like Amazon. Our projects vary in complexity and length but it is new technology, so typically time to market is a critical factor. Things tend to be between a year or less sometimes a little more depending on the complexity if it's a refresh to a product or a brand new innovation.
How has Planisware benefited your company? (1:00 to 4:12)
Bringing Single Source of Truth to Zebra (1:05 to 2:00)
I mean, the main thing that Planisware brought to us was a Single Source of Truth. It was one system for managing a variety of items. It was the one place where we can all lock hands and say, "If this is not what you think it should be this is the place to fix it." And in a global organization where, I think we have more than 45 offices in 100 countries, I might have that backwards. It's a challenge to keep all that aligned. So in high-tech world obviously requirements are changing constantly as we're getting feedback.Our organization does execute on a SAFe model certain portions of it. And I guess, for us the change comes so fast but we have to still maintain things within certain parameters. So budgets are not Agile. I mean, we get our dollars for the year and that's your dollars for the year. What you do with those is what we have to be Agile about.
Resource Management as a key to Zebra managing its requests (2:00 to 2:53)
So we use Planisware to keep a close eye on our costs and the shifting changes from moving resources and dates around and the impacts that has to either free up our portfolio or clog up our portfolio because we do have some of those lines that we have to stay within. So Planisware did bring to us some unique capabilities through their workflow function. One great challenge that we had in our organization was the management of temporary contractor work. It's staff augmentation that we regularly use when we need to explore minor product enhancements without investing in new core technologies. And it's a real powerful thing to help move our business forward. Within that, you can have requests coming from almost any project, and it becomes very difficult to track where those requests, are originating from and where they're going, and if they've been approved, and how much they cost, and the impacts to budgets.
Resource Tracking to better manage new individuals (2:53 to 3:29)
So within Planisware we designed with our Planisware consultants a workflow structure that allows somebody from the point of resource assignment to say, "I would like to ask for a new resource which kicks off an approval process to senior leadership that can then be tracked through reports to see the additional spend we're incurring on this contract labor." It also tracks it through the creation of a resource. So when somebody actually approved a temporary placeholder is created so that we can manage the hiring of that individual and then assign them to the project and see where they were approved from, and then where they're actually working.
Strategic Decision Making to avoid bad decisions (3:29 to 4:18)
This has benefited the company in the sense that it allows us to peel another layer of detail of our analysis onion. So before you don't have any data. So you're really scratching the edge to understand, what are we spending our money on? How accurate is it? Bringing this stuff together provides a new level of accuracy for our teams which enables a new line of questioning. So it allows you, you don't wanna just be fixated on the trees in the forest, you always wanna keep your eyes on the forest but it allows you to see the trees in the right level of detail so that you can say, "Hey, there's like a little disease growing in the forest over there that I can't see if I don't have the right data." Somebody had told me in a bad data is a cancer for good decisions. So we use Planisware to help not have the cancer of bad decisions.