As the world’s leading supplier of individual solutions in the special steel sector, the customer set itself the goal of renewing its product portfolio by around 16 percent every six years. To achieve this goal, the integration of the business units (BU) was strengthened as part of a Group initiative, thus pooling the innovative capabilities of the business units. The client was the central “Technical Development” department. Involved were all R&D facilities of the 4 BUs with a total of approx. 400 development engineers.
Aim of the project
The aim of the project was to create the conditions for the central coordination of Group-wide innovation activities in technical development. To this end:
- the innovation strategies of the BUs were to be aligned,
transparency was to be created using harmonized innovation processes,
the control and measurement of the innovation pipeline was to be made possible using uniform KPIs, and
the management of the innovation project portfolio was to be facilitated from a Group perspective.
The project comprised four phases. The planning was developed by the core team and approved by the steering committee, which was made up of the divisional and business unit heads.
1. Analysis phase
In the first step, all relevant information on existing R&D resources and facilities, ongoing projects, and planned strategic investments was collected. The collected data were reviewed together with representatives of the BUs. At the same time, the BU-specific innovation processes were recorded and analyzed. The best practices identified (e.g., evaluation methods, KPIs, IT tools, etc.) supplemented the design criteria for the design of the target process, which were defined in advance together with the technical development.
2. Process Target Design
Based on the established design criteria and the knowledge gained from the actual recording, a target process was designed, which is valid for all BUs. This “target design” was agreed upon in bilateral meetings with the BUs and approved by the steering committee.
3. Detailed Design & Roll-out Plan
After the adoption of the basic structure of the target process, all process steps and milestones were elaborated and documented in detail. Based on this detailed description, it was possible to determine the implementation effort using gap analysis and design BU-specific implementation plans. Additionally, the service catalog for the development of an IT tool was specified, with the help of which the required information – for example, on ongoing projects – can be transmitted directly to the Group.
4. Design of the micro-level
Finally, it was possible to realize the synergy potentials and anchor them in the functional areas of engineering, production, and purchasing using cooperation and center of competency models. Their project expenditure could be reduced to a minimum with clear methodical management and well-prepared work packages.