Vilicom is a telecoms engineering service company that has been designing, delivering and improving wireless networks & wi-fi solutions for over 15 years for telecom operators, large corporates, small companies and individuals in Ireland, the UK and beyond.

Vilicom was established in Ireland in 1999, and our vision is to give people the freedom to communicate, learn, share and work anywhere, in towns and cities, in the countryside, on the move and in their communities

As an SME in an extremely dynamic and competitive industry, managing over 100 non-recurring projects at any one time is a challenge.

With different project requirements (in terms of scope and resources) of strategic importance, an information recording system that provides relevant and reliable data in terms of Time (T), Cost (C) and Quality (Q) on a project by project basis, is an operational imperative.

In late 2015 we embarked on developing this system across our organisation from an end to end (E2E) perspective and by the use of lean principles. Through this we gradually improved the day to day awareness and benefits from using efficient & effective processes for these key areas that lead into project delivery and execution across our organisation.

Company Name
Vilicom

Address
71B The Plaza
Park West Business Park
Dublin 12, Ireland

Website
www.vilicom.com

Service Provider
Marlborough Consulting

“This work has transformed the way we view and manage our Jobs and Job Profitability. Our LEAN consultants supported us with key changes in our culture, introduced a repeatable process for project governance and kept us to plan through the constructive challenge in ongoing project QAs. The project has supported a reduction of cost of goods sold (COGS) and an increase in our monthly Gross Margin on each Job of between 2-4% per month. The gains have far exceeded the total project costs (internal resources, systems, LEAN consultants). This has provided us with a base to further improve how we work to deliver our commercial results and plans for future growth”
Adrian M. Mulholland, CFO

Lean Plus Objectives

The Project objectives were to support significant and consistent improvement in the planning, tracking, delivery and reporting of each job embarked by Vilicom.

These objectives were met by developing (to “lean”) the functions/existing tools for recording and reporting of relevant, reliable and accurate information of our core selling product – which is time (on a job by job basis).

All system users, including those in Business Development, Service Delivery and Finance would be trained in the newly developed cross functional systems which would complement lean focused objectives to further support commercial decision making, improve training and compliance while ensuring that the overall strategic vision for the company over the coming years is met.

Key Challenges
  1. An existing Lean “Start” E2E system (2014 – early 2015) remained incomplete and benefits had not yet been realised
  2. Limited internal experience and expertise on managing and delivery internal lean projects
  3. Significant amount of IT changes required to support the project objectives
  4. Lack of data quality (e.g. consistency) across multiple sources, both preparation and presentation
  5. Reports were not designed, not focused, not working to allow users to perform critical analysis for the purpose of lean continuous improvement
  6. Many MI processes undocumented, mis-understood and/or inconsistent, lacking clear ownership, timing requirements or accountability
Key Changes
  1. Appointment of change specialist (“Marlborough Consulting”) to challenge and redirect the approach of the project. This resulted in:
    • Rapid assessment and revision of plans
    • Introduction of project governance and set-up
    • Ongoing quality assurance
    • Enhanced understanding of “Lean”, what it looks like and how we get there
    • Constructive challenge to embed the project governance
    • Critical culture and behaviour changes necessary for success to support Lean objectives
  2. IT Systems were upgraded and reconfigured through an agreed Statement of works (SoW) program with each IT provider that aligned with overall project objectives
  3. Existing data was cleaned up with introduction of data quality disciplines for completeness and accuracy of data entry and reporting (e.g. timesheets across departments
  4. Strategy of extensive training on new practices and lean disciplines was introduced – in support of the necessary culture change to achieve LEAN objectives
  5. Commercially focused reports agreed, refined and used across the organisations to drive results
  6. Ongoing workflow adoption metrics reviews with the Team in order to analyse progress of KPI’s in all key areas
Results
  1. Key metrics (measured over a 12 month period between 2015 and 2016)
    • Adoption (Metrics) of Critical tasks recorded (on a Job by Job basis) (used for analysis purposes) increased by over 50%
    • Monthly Gross Margin improvement of between 2-4%
    • An increase in average monthly billable time by over 15%
    • An increase in the speed of on-time project delivery by 20% over the same period
  2. Introduction of Project Governance culture and tools to support ongoing Lean objectives (supporting a critical culture change)
  3. A re-structured E2E business process system linking each system:
    • Business Development (SalesForce) to
    • Service Delivery (PPO) to
    • Financial Reporting (Exchequer)
  4. Clear visibility of job performance, costing / profitability by budget / actual / cost to complete viewable by job, project manager and customer
  5. A platform for shared reliable and measurable data (financial and non-financial) and targets both now and in the future
  6. A shared tool for further innovation and development
  7. A basis to set, follow and develop further Lean objectives and have relevant Users trained in data quality, key disciplines required to support job costing e.g.
    • Business Development ‘owning’ jobs from sale – delivery
    • Delivery Team updating timesheets daily (to drive MI) (and understanding why timesheets are completed i.e. how they impact on their individual jobs etc)
    • Finance ensuring correct job code management
  8. A focus on correct data, particularly timesheet data, to support accountability, identify training gaps, spare capacity and plans for profitable growth
  9. An online ‘self-service’ reporting tool that all can access ‘anywhere, anytime’ to drive job control eliminating the need and wait “extraction of data” requests
  10. A Platform to build our future MIS, Lean transformation and commercially focused leadership dashboards
  11. A much improved foundation (of information) to support growth
  12. A changing culture, shared across staff, focused on commercial delivery and profitable growth