[Written for Replicon customer case studies]
For case studies, I capitalize on my traditional journalism training to glean new and engaging stories from customer interviews that showcase Replicon solutions as well as the customer at hand. I work closely with the customer success and design teams to create a polished finished product that is both satisfactory to the featured customer and easily-utilized by our sales team for future prospects with similar use cases.
Greif, Inc. Achieves New End-to-End Project Costing Efficiency with Replicon
Company Size: Large
Greif, Inc. is a global leader in industrial packaging products and services and is pursuing its vision to, in industrial packaging, become the best performing customer service company in the world. The company produces steel, plastic, fibre, flexible, corrugated and reconditioned containers, intermediate bulk containers, containerboard and packaging accessories, and provides filling, packaging and industrial packaging reconditioning services for a wide range of industries. Greif also manages timber properties in the Southeastern United States. The company is strategically positioned with production facilities in over 45 countries to serve global as well as regional customers. Additional information is on the company’s website at www.greif.com.
Lack of real-time project visibility causes chargeback delays
The Greif IT department has a mix of 230 internal resources and external consultants who support an array of applications globally for business units across the company (including enhancements, upgrades, etc.), but they also engage in capital funding project work. This means meticulously tracking project time against capitalizable and non-capitalizable project costs.
They were challenged by their on-premise time tracking system. In relying on this system to capture time worked against a predefined list of projects into their legacy system, Greif IT grappled with frequent delays, a lack of visibility into both project progress and resource availability, lack of granular data on how time was spent, and ultimately problems with data consistency.
“Currently we have over 40 active projects around the world, and our external consultants may work on just one project, on multiple projects, or on a mix of external and internal projects, so obviously it’s important for us to provide timely payment, and to charge those costs appropriately,” says Mike Domansky, Director of IT Portfolio Management & Governance, “Before Replicon, it was taking far too much administrative time for us to analyze invoices as they came in and manually sort out which costs should be attributed to which projects.”
New emphasis on project visibility and administrative efficiency
For a multinational business like Greif, Replicon’s cloud capabilities played a critical role in reducing IT’s administrative overhead. Though based in Delaware, Ohio, Greif has a multitude of ongoing projects around the world at any given time, so it could take weeks to onboard consultants by deploying their on-premise time tracking tool locally to their computers. With Replicon, Domansky affirms that the process of adding users has now been reduced to “about 10 minutes.”
After switching to Replicon, Greif IT was able to capitalize on their new system’s advanced functionalities to enhance governance over what their users had access to. In doing so, they not only made the data entry process less tedious, but they also increased data accuracy and overall holistic visibility by ensuring that the right people had access to the right project information. In turn, this increased level of detail and accuracy afforded by Replicon systems enabled more granular and accurate invoices.
“Previously we had to involve quite a few people to analyze invoices, sometimes taking us up to five weeks from the time the invoice was received to getting the chargebacks to the right places,” says Domansky, “But that complication has been eliminated almost entirely now the whole process takes us just one day.”
Today, the Greif administrators responsible for handling invoices and cost capitalization have the granular visibility they need to better understand what work is being done, for how long, and by which resources. They no longer have to make the time and effort to attempt to parse out this information themselves the system just provides it, and they know it’s reliable.
“Centralized information about our resources and projects helps improve our ability to plan,” says Domansky. “We can build a use case for capital funding, build cost estimates based on historical information, and measure actuals against budgets to manage projects, and make proactive decisions if we’re going over budget. Our forecast accuracy is so much higher, and because of that so is the level of confidence with our information.”
As a bonus, this newfound visibility into resources and projects has also dramatically improved Greif’s resource allocation, both reducing the time it takes to make resourcing decisions, and instilling renewed confidence in the integrity of these decisions.
- Reduced administrative work for chargebacks from a 3-5 week process to just one day
- Collated data is consistently reliable thanks to an intuitive, configurable user interface and automated time and project tracking for cost capitalization
- Resource allocation decisions are based on deep knowledge of real-time resource availability and made more quickly