Sanitation manufacturer TECE relies on SharePoint online
// by Matthias Rensing
IT & Management Consulting, Microsoft SharePoint, Modern Work
The areas of project management, sales and quality management open the door to the Microsoft Collaboration Software
TECE has been working as an independent family company close to people and markets for over 30 years. TECE, the internationally active manufacturer of sanitary products and installation systems with headquarters in Emsdetten, Westphalia, develops products and services for architects, planners and fitters. TECE uses the SharePoint online communication platform to organize project management, sales and quality management and is gradually introducing Microsoft technology with these components. The SharePoint experts from the IT management consultancy noventum support the manufacturer in this strategic new introduction.
Central platform standardises project management and documentation
To coordinate and control its projects, TECE uses Microsoft technology SharePoint online and is designing a central project management platform. As an entry-level project for SharePoint online, the company wants to gain positive experience with the software through "quick wins" in order to launch additional components step by step. The company expects the standardisation of its project management to
- a constant overview and regular status reports on all ongoing projects
- a sustainable project organisation for communication and decision-making structures in the company
- the realisation of the "magic triangle" of cost, time and quality - naturally taking into account the strategic corporate objectives
- Tools and methods that support targeted and efficient work
- a targeted further development of the project staff, which is realised by means of a qualification concept that enables the project participants to implement projects, considers and enables development potentials
SharePoint Online should therefore ensure that uniform tools are used for projects, which support project managers and employees in their work without restricting them. Standardised document templates were developed for this purpose. These are continuously kept up-to-date by the customer's PMO. Among others these are:
Status Reports (Steering Committee or One Pager) // Kick-off Presentation // Project Organisation Chart // Project Plan // Time Schedule // Open Point List (OPL) // Budget Monitoring // Risk Register // Contact List // Change Request // Lessons Learned
A central project list allows project managers to see at a glance which projects are planned, active or completed. The list provides an overview of the progress, all participants and the sponsors of the respective project. It provides a direct link to the corresponding project rooms.
The project room is used for effective cooperation between the project team and acts as a central location for all documents. Thanks to the intelligent SharePoint search and sensibly used metadata, those involved no longer have to search the system for corresponding documents for an unnecessarily long time.
Flexible assignment of rights, also to external parties, relieves IT
Since projects are often supported by external persons, cooperation with these persons must also be guaranteed. This form of cooperation can be carried out in SharePoint without any problems. The participants only need a Microsoft account. The project managers can independently regulate who is allowed to work on their projects by assigning authorisations. Authorisation concepts can be used to set different information levels depending on the defined role. This self-service concept relieves the internal IT department to a considerable extent.
To facilitate work on the road, "One Drive", another O365 application, allows all documents to be used offline. For example, they are available in meetings without having to print out the information.
The advantages for the TECE Project Management Office are obvious: "SharePoint Online enables us to work together in projects without any complications. Clear structures for reporting, joint work on documents, networking of MS Office products or the self-service idea in the context of site authorisation make SharePoint an efficient, user-friendly PMO tool for us. Even in the days of Covid-19, this was able to be implemented quickly and easily, even for non-IT-affine user workshops, which quickly made targeted work possible. “
Make sales documents available on SharePoint Online and manage them centrally - nationally and internationally
A document management system for the sales department for the storage and availability of all current documents was TECE's next SharePoint project. A transparent and centrally controlled versioning of documents was to professionalize the work of the field service.
This task could be solved quickly, easily and in a visually appealing way via Modern Sites in SharePoint. For clarity and retrievability, the documents were clustered according to the type of document (e.g. brochure, video, presentation) and the product area. Appropriate metadata were attached for this purpose. In view of the fact that a similar site is to be set up for international sales in the future, the metadata has already been created in English and German. Thus the way for a bilingual implementation is already paved.
Last but not least, short videos were made available to reinforce the way the responsible persons deal with the new sales site. "We want to provide our external sales staff with uniform and always correct documents. With the SharePoint platform we can do this and save ourselves a lot of small-scale communication. I am very optimistic that we will soon be able to implement this for our international sales as well," emphasizes one of the TECE employees.
Facilitate data access with a Visio process map - a technically simple solution for complex quality management
TECE quality management already worked with a platform on which the important documents for all company processes were published. However, this platform required a lot of maintenance. For each change to the visualised process map, the HTML source code had to be changed - a classic "bottleneck" that could be eliminated with a simple SharePoint solution.
As the company's central project platform was already implemented with SharePoint, the TECE managers also wanted to accommodate and visualise their processes in SharePoint. By clicking on the individual processes in the process map, employees should be able to go deeper into the relevant process and find all the relevant information and documents there.
The combination of Visio and SharePoint was the solution. Individual elements in Visio can be provided with links. Simple and short click paths were developed in joint workshops. The corresponding document libraries behind the processes were pre-filtered as a precautionary measure and thus only show the relevant documents of the process.
If there was already an intranet page for the area in question in SharePoint, a jump option was offered directly to the respective area. And vice versa, the corresponding processes can now be accessed directly from the area page.
In addition, the platform was enriched with a SharePoint workflow in order to digitalise the underlying process of document control. Thus, only documents that have already been approved should be published for employees and only key users and admins should have access to intermediate versions. In order to guarantee updateability and keep costs low, TECE decided to implement the SharePoint standard workflow. The process was based on SharePoint best practices.
Multilingualism and metadata in SharePoint Online
A further challenge of the project was to set up the quality management area in several languages. This was necessary because TECE also has subsidiaries abroad.
For example, the SharePoint pages for quality management were created in both German and English and a link to the English page (via "Switch to english") was created on the German start page and an analogue link ("Switch to German") was set on the English page. In joint workshops it was worked out where multilingualism can and should be used.
SharePoint introduction - step by step to success
Microsoft SharePoint has been a synonym for modern collaboration platforms in companies for several years. Some companies are trying to introduce it in a big step and replace all old systems in this way. TECE GmbH is taking the other path and gradually establishing the versatile application. Those responsible attach great importance to taking each step consistently and successfully. This success primarily includes the acceptance and encouragement of the employees who work with it every day.
With the SharePoint online communication platform, the company TECE uses Microsoft technology for its project management, sales and quality management. TECE is taking this path step by step and is focusing on inspiring its employees and carefully replacing old systems. The next step will be to introduce further Microsoft tools such as teams.
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