I have been with Müller for almost 20 years now, and since 2005 I have been working in the Central Project Management department, which is now called the Project Management Center of Excellence. We’re responsible for project management at the Müller Group, meaning we oversee the methodology, the associated processes, and also the use of the Clarity project management tool.
Interview: Clarity as the Central Tool for Project Management at Müller Group
We talk to Rolf Schmidt about the benefits of Clarity for Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller (UTM) and the longstanding collaboration with itdesign, which began back in 2005.
Hello, Mr. Schmidt! Could you please give us a brief introduction about yourself, what you do at Müller, and how you interact with Clarity?
We started looking for project management software for the Müller Group back in 2004 using a tender-like process. We chose Clarity after negotiating with a company known as Niku that was the software manufacturer at that time, but which was later sold to CA Technologies. We started implementing the software in 2005. After initially experiencing difficulties with CA during the tool deployment stage, we shifted our focus relatively quickly on itdesign GmbH. We have now been working with them since 2005.
Rolf Schmidt, Head of Project Management Center of Excellence
Added Value with Clarity
How is Clarity used at Müller today and what are the benefits of using it?
We use Clarity in five different areas in our company. We use the software primarily for project management. The interesting thing here at Müller is that we use Clarity to create and monitor the entire range of projects, whether they be IT projects, investment projects for new filling machines and plant expansions, or projects that are product-development related. All projects must be entered in Clarity.
The transparency and completeness that this creates in Clarity offer incredible opportunities. It allows us to standardize, evaluate, and compare data. A product controller can keep track of the profitability of launched products and compare profit centers, for example.
It is only once you have complete data in a centralized system that you can really start to think about portfolios. Clearly, our portfolio management has improved immensely since we started working with Clarity. Today, we have already achieved really good success regarding portfolios in some areas, although certainly not in all of them.
In the meantime, we have used Clarity for resource management as well, such as in the R&D and IT departments. We make intensive use of the itd Advanced Resource Planning add-on in the latter case. Other use cases would include the financial planning of investment and IT projects, for example. As of 2019, we have been mapping our approval processes in Clarity as well.
Another great thing about Clarity is that we can achieve highly customized and aligned processes and views. Thanks to the ability to customize and configure fields, subobjects, subpages, etc., we are able to satisfy the needs of different areas. We have now been able to take tremendous advantage of Clarity’s process design flexibility with the introduction of digital approval.
From Analogue Checklists to Digital Approval with Clarity
What made you decide to use Clarity to digitize the approval processes at UTM?
Until only recently, we still had to get actual signatures from individuals for budget or project approval. The analogue approval process was very cumbersome. It also took a really long time and had simply fallen behind the times. We really wanted to do away with all that: We wanted to be modern, faster, and more transparent.
What has changed since the introduction of digital approval?
At Müller, the introduction of digital approval in Clarity has significantly sped up the entire process, from project request to approval. We have been able to measure this in the investment area as well: Throughput times have fallen by at least 30 percent thanks to digital approval. And we have achieved all this despite the fact that significantly more people are now involved in the approval process. We no longer need paper, either. Everything is now mapped digitally. Now you can see quite transparently where an approval is pending. You can also read at any time in the corresponding comments whether an action is still needed. We no longer have to wait until afterwards before manually checking if all the necessary documents for approval are available. It is now done automatically during the approval process.
For the Müller Group, Clarity represents the definitive means of digitization. One key consideration is that digital approval makes the tool incredibly modern. The ability to use Clarity on your own mobile device in particular makes the tool versatile.
Long-Term Partnership with itdesign
UTM has been working with itdesign ever since 2005. What forms the basis of our successful partnership?
itdesign’s total reliability has been one of the bases of our successful partnership, and this has been further bolstered by the strong relationship of trust that we have been able to develop over the past 15 years. We communicate very openly with each other. Suggestions are not simply immediately rubber-stamped. They are critically scrutinized. But itdesign also has incredible expertise that is second to none in Germany.
itdesign has always delivered what they promised. The solutions you provide often significantly exceed the original requirements. For joint projects, you really do everything in your power to make sure things work out. You help free up capacity so we can implement our priorities as quickly as possible. At Müller, we are sometimes pretty hands-on. We often have requests that we would really prefer to have answered on the same day. Our collaboration with itdesign has definitely proven itself in this area. You know our needs already, and sometimes when we come to you with a concern at the spur of the moment, we can see you smile. But you still help us work through our problems. Because you are flexible, and in the end everyone wins.
The collaboration has gone very well at the human level as well. Personally, I really enjoy working with itdesign. Whether you’re dealing with the project team or management, it’s always a good experience.
We are pleased and would return the compliment. Thank you, Mr. Schmidt, for this enjoyable conversation!
Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller
In 1971, Theo Müller took over his father’s dairy in Aretsried, Bavaria – at that time with only four employees. It is the starting point for the Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller, which today operates successfully worldwide in the food sector. The Müller Group comprises activities and numerous strong brands in the dairy, deli, and services business. UTM shapes the industry not only in Germany, but also internationally – whether in the United Kingdom, Poland, or Italy: The products are number one on the market in numerous segments.
- Food industry
- 26,600 employees
- Headquartered in Luxemburg
- Founded in 1896
- 19 production sites worldwide
- Clarity & itd Advanced Resource Planning