Research & Development

Product Development Tracker

The product development tracker maps the entire development process and all the stages and approvals it contains.

300
Daily active users
80
Products at the same time

With the product development tracker, Endress+Hauser has created a tool in SharePoint that covers the entire development process as well as the sales release workflow of new products. The tool allows new products to be professionally tested in the various stages and released for the next of a total of 22 phases.

Challenge

Endress+Hauser is a global leader in measurement instrumentation, services and solutions for industrial process engineering. Newly developed products must undergo a sales release workflow at the end of their development process. This takes 12 - 18 months and includes 46 stages in 5 consecutive phases.

Various tasks have to be carried out during this process. Among other things, new production equipment must be procured or newly developed, price lists must be created, country-specific sales conditions have to be drawn up, production and delivery times have to be harmonized in order to make new products ready for sale.

This process is extremely complex and important for the company. It is utilized to guarantee the excellence of the new products, enabling the company to offer its customers a superior quality product. It's therefore essential that the process is carried out correctly and that all steps are documented properly.

Why was skybow chosen?

Even before the implementation of the product development tracker with the help of skybow, the process was digitized with various tools:

  • In 2008, the process was digitized for the first time in Lotus Notes
  • Lotus Notes was to be replaced in 2018
    The entire team was never really satisfied with the replacement solution. The process did not work as desired and has its downsides in many aspects. The tool offered no transparency and it was hard to see the progress.
  • 2023 the replacement solution is to be replaced again and the product development tracker will be implemented in skybow Solution Studio.

When choosing the tool to implement the product deployment tracker, skybow's unique deployment feature set it apart from the competition. This makes it possible to first build the solution in a secure environment, test it with our own data and then deploy it to our SharePoint tenant. Nevertheless, the solution is 100 % integrated into the Microsoft environment. No other solution on the market has a provisioning feature like this.

"We opted for skybow for the implementation of the product development tracker because the tool offers the necessary transparency for users. It's much more user-friendly. In addition, the process can be built in skybow Solution Studio more easily than in any other tool.", Dieter Jauslin (Expert Digital Workplace, Endress+Hauser)
Dieter Jauslin
Dieter Jauslin
Expert Digital Workplace, Endress+Hauser

What we particularly appreciate about skybow is that the solution is so well thought out. It offers exactly the functions you need - no overload. The team also provides outstanding support. We notice everyday that the tool was built by real M365 experts. I can only recommend it for any M365 project.

How Endress+Hauser solved it

The product development tracker should map a predefined process for the release of industrial measuring devices. The solution should guide users through this complex process. Manual tasks and the potential for errors were to be reduced to a minimum. How did the Endress+Hauser team achieve this with the skybow Solution Studio?

Create dynamic tasks automatically

Depending on the process configuration and the selected workflow type, the product development tracker automatically creates a dossier with all the necessary tasks and information. These tasks are assigned to the right person. This automatically creates the right structure for each product.

This is made possible by a combination of skybow dossiers and Automation Actions. Dossiers make it possible to create master-detail-relationships with just a few clicks, linking multiple lists and libraries to one master list. With the help of Automation Actions, the elements to be created automatically can be easily built with dynamic variables in a low-code wizard.

List of automatically generated tasks in one step of the product development tracker

Intelligent reminders

Those responsible for the tasks are reminded in good time. The messages also contain individual instructions on how to complete the relevant step. This is done with the help of emails or Microsoft Teams messages. The team uses the two standard automation actions "send mail" and "send message" for this. These only need to be slightly personalized and customized in order to use them. All this without coding.

Workflow tracking

The status of a product in the workflow is tracked at all times. This is particularly important for audits, but also so that the team knows which phase a product is in. Various parallel and serial work steps run during a workflow. These are all interdependent.

To ensure that the work steps are carried out in the correct order and at the correct time, the workflows are mapped in the product sales release tracker. This means that only the forms that belong to the work step can be processed. This can also be implemented in the low-code Automation Action Builder in the skybow Solution Studio.

Workflow status and available automation actions for the workflow in the product development tracker

Custom forms

The forms for documenting the individual checks in the stages were set up completely individually. This is easily possible with the skybow Form Designer with drag&drop and a what-you-see-is-what-you-get editor. The main focus here was on functionalities such as conditional formatting, action buttons on the form and individual styling.

This means that only the fields and automation actions that are relevant for the user in the current step are active or visible. This means that no errors can occur and users are guided perfectly through the product sales release tracker workflow.

Approval form in the product development tracker

The Solution

The product development tracker now offers significantly more transparency for all users. Everyone involved knows at all times which product is at which stage and what still needs to be done. This makes the process much more efficient. This has a direct impact on time to market and therefore on the company's success.

"With the transfer of our workflow to a skybow solution, the performance improves significantly, giving us a stable and reliable tool. We needed an intuitive user interface. In addition, various functions help us to optimize the workflow: When the status changes (on hold, reactivation, etc.), an info email is sent directly. Variable e-mail communication directly from the tool to the team is also possible. The individual reminder function for tasks is especially valuable." Martin Kiefer and Beat Grüter (both Product Manager Project Management Marketing, Endress+Hauser)

The main view provides a transparent overview of all products, workflows and their status in the product development tracker.

In addition, the new product development tracker offers more functionalities than the SAP solution. This provides Endress+Hauser's specialist staff with better support during the whole process of the sales release of the new products. The information, data and documents recorded in the process are now also much easier to find thanks to the skybow dossiers.

Another major advantage is the user-friendliness of the solutions built with skybow. Hardly any onboarding is necessary for new users. Endress+Hauser doesn't have to provide any training. This is mainly due to the fact that the UI fits perfectly into the Microsoft world and is therefore already familiar to the users.

This also made the introduction of the new solution easier than ever before. Acceptance throughout the company has been overwhelming. All users are very happy to work with the new product development tracker.

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