SMART IN OVATION GmbH is an engineering company based in Stuttgart that works according to the ASPICE V3.1 process model. For more than 30 years, the company has been a provider of innovative control and software products and related services for automotive and industrial customers, for example. Industry 4.0 is a central topic for SMART IN OVATION. For resource planning and project controlling, SMART IN OVATION relies on the software solution ZEP.
The starting point for the search for a new software tool for time recording and project controlling was dissatisfaction with the existing solution. Joachim Tauscher, founder and CEO of SMART IN OVATION, remembers: "The time recording from the project controlling system used until then was far too complex." At a trade fair event, he then got to know the software solution ZEP from the company provantis IT Solutions.
ZEP stands for Time Recording for Projects. The web-based solution has been on the market since 2000 and offers project-oriented companies a complete solution for time recording and verification, travel expenses, project management and controlling as well as invoicing.
"ZEP made a very good impression right from the start. We particularly liked the user-friendliness and the intuitive user interface. The solution was a winner right away.
And so SMART IN OVATION decided to use ZEP at the beginning of 2014.
SMART IN OVATION uses ZEP to record and structure all projects that arise in the company. "We particularly appreciate the numerous options for graphically displaying the individual projects and their progress. This enables us to get an overview of each individual project and its status at any time at the click of a mouse. The target/actual comparison for each project that can be called up in ZEP also gives us the opportunity to check at a glance whether everything is 'in the green'."
To plan the human resources required for the individual projects, SMART IN OVATION carries out milestone planning. The corresponding work packages for the respective employees are then derived from this. For this reason, the company uses the ZEP additional modules Overtime/Missing Time and Resource Planning in addition to pure time recording. With this combination, it is possible to call up at the touch of a button - how long an employee has already worked on a work package, - whether he or she can complete his or her work package at all and - to what extent he or she is overloaded or even overworked by the work packages assigned to him or her. Joachim Tauscher adds:
"Once a week, we create an overview with ZEP from which each employee can see what work packages he or she has to process in the following week. In return, we in the project management get an up-to-date overview of the resource allocation and can see immediately, based on the traffic light system integrated in ZEP (green/yellow/red), whether and for which project resource bottlenecks are imminent."
When asked whether ZEP should be subscribed to as a cloud service or purchased as a classic licence, SMART IN OVATION opted for the latter option. "Swabians don't like subscriptions," Joachim Tauscher explains the reasons for this decision with a grin. As far as the operation of the software solution is concerned, however, he did opt for hosting the solution in a certified (ISO 27001, IT-Grundschutz) high-performance data centre on a fully redundant, highly available server cluster in Germany. Through a maintenance contract, SMART IN OVATION always receives the latest software updates and technical support from the software provider, provantis IT Solutions GmbH.
"With ZEP, we have achieved our goal of finding a solution for time recording and project controlling that is as user-friendly and intuitive as possible," says Joachim Tauscher, drawing a satisfied conclusion from using ZEP so far.
"The graphical representation of the individual projects (status, progress, resources) makes it easier for us to keep track of all ongoing projects. This gives us full control over our projects at all times."