“With 10,000 requests per year, Clarizen saved us thousands of hours per year.”
Senior Planning Analyst
Shaw Industries Group, Inc. offers a diverse portfolio of carpet, resilient, hardwood, tile & stone, and laminate flooring products, synthetic turf and other specialty items for residential and commercial markets worldwide via its brands Anderson Tuftex, CoreTec, Patcraft, Philadelphia Commercial, Shaw Contract, Shaw Floors, Shaw Hospitality, Shaw Sports Turf, Southwest Greens, USFloors and more.
Headquartered in Dalton, Georgia, Shaw is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. The company employs 22,000 associates with offices; R&D, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution locations; product showrooms; and/or salespeople throughout the U.S., as well as Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, India, Mexico, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
With extensive manufacturing, supply chain, and distribution demands, Shaw Industries relies heavily on its 400-person information systems organization to not only maintain an extensive IT infrastructure, but also to ensure security, compliance, quality, asset management and maintenance of service desk resources. In recent years, the company has relied on several key management systems to keep projects on track, on budget and on time. However, these systems were largely siloed, and the critical project and request management solution of choice in place at the time failed to address the company’s needs, according to Shaw senior IS planning analyst Chris Carpenter.
“We installed our legacy request management software in 2009, and we used the services of one of their consultants to try to adapt to our needs, but there was a disconnect in the process,” Carpenter explains. Carpenter notes that IS users spent up to one and half hours per week manually updating their projects and requests due to a cumbersome interface and spreadsheet-like formatting.
With an average of 10,000 requests—including turnover packages, software changes and general support—pouring into IS each year, the organization sought a new project and portfolio management (PPM) solution to address workflow deficiencies. Shaw needed a way to effectively streamline and simplify IS systems development processes to help improve its ability to deliver projects and act on requests more efficiently. Another added benefit was gaining mobile access to projects and requests.
The Shaw IS review team looked at 12 leading PPM solutions and chose five companies to conduct on-site presentations and subsequently carry out proof of concept (POC) test cases. “We were already using other competing products in-house, so we were familiar with those systems,” Carpenter notes. Since the goal was to move away from the legacy system, that solution was not selected for a POC. “The vendors started working on our test cases on a Monday. By Wednesday, competing products hadn’t even finished 20 percent of our testing. The Clarizen group had 60% of our tests done by Monday at lunchtime! By Wednesday, Clarizen was done with our testing, and everything was running smoothly.”
Shaw’s IS Systems Development organization went live with Clarizen in October 2016, using it to create the Project Request Information Management System (PRISM). “Originally, we planned to have our Clarizen Success Manager do about 80% of our implementation and we would do the remainder,” Carpenter explains. “However, we ended up doing about 95% of the implementation ourselves, which speaks highly of Clarizen’s ease of use.”
Streamlined request management
Carpenter and the implementation team first worked to reduce the steps required to create an official request for service from 29 steps and nine request types to just five steps and three request types. “We learned our lessons from our legacy solution, where we tried to make everybody happy and ended up with too many options and too much red tape,” Carpenter notes. “With Clarizen, we reduced the request types from nine to three, and the tool helped us to greatly streamline the workflow required to initiate a request.”
Carpenter points out that the improved request management workflow built into the Clarizen-based PRISM solution has reduced the time required to create each work request by 15 minutes or more. At 10,000 requests per year, Clarizen saved us at least 2,500 hours/year.
Optimized project management
Before Clarizen and PRISM, project information was often out-of-date and inaccurate. “We did not have real-time information in our old system,” Carpenter notes. “It was never truly up-to-date unless we manually went in and fixed it. Our users were never happy with the former system—of course everyone did what was necessary to be compliant—but we still had a very low adoption rate.”
According to Carpenter, Clarizen is delivering real-time visibility that goes well beyond past systems. Product adoption has reached more than 95%, thanks in large part to built-in social collaboration features and the addition of iPhone and Android mobile access applications from the Clarizen Apps Marketplace. “Before, I would inevitably get a call from a user needing something important while I was walking out to my car at the end of the day. I’d have to go back to my office and reboot my computer to solve the problem. Now, I can handle most requests on my phone while I’m walking to the car and I’m done in a few minutes. I love that and so do others who use the mobile apps.”
All project details are centrally managed, maintained online, and rolled up in real-time to provide project managers with current project status at all times. Carpenter estimates that project managers now save an average of an hour per week per project by not having to manually update project details, amounting to a savings of about 30 hours per week, or 1,560 hours per year.
Enhanced auditing and reporting
“Several times per year, senior executives and others will ask for forward-looking reports or a five-year projection of IS projects,” Carpenter says. “In the past, we would have to canvas every project manager to get them to update their project details and then manually export all of those details into spreadsheets. That took at least 60 hours. Clarizen reporting capabilities are better because each of the people who need that information are getting it via reports, views and dashboards. We’ve eliminated all of that manual work.”
The time spent on monthly auditing for SOX and other purposes has also been cut by 75%, saving more than 700 hours per year. “It takes far fewer clicks to find what we need for audit purposes,” Carpenter notes. “I go to my dashboard and it shows me the last month of metrics and I can refresh it anytime to have up-to-the-minute numbers.”
- Streamlined request management approach, saving 2,500 hours per year
- Automated processes and updates to save 30 hours per week, or more than 1,500 hours per year
- Reduced time required for auditing and compliance by nearly 75%, saving more than 700 hours per year
Dalton Georgia, USA