BHS Robotics + LiquidPlanner Case Study

“I’ve gone through multiple programs with regards to resource and project management. This one by far is the best; it’s the only one that is truly fluid. It really helps plan the timeline for your projects and shows you the path of how you will achieve it.”
Bradley Brockmeyer
Engineering Manager, BHS Robotics

BHS Robotics + LiquidPlanner

Background

BHS Robotics is a world-class system integrator offering leading technology solutions, comprehensive capabilities, and extensive technical expertise. BHS Robotics is designed to improve its manufacturing customer’s productivity. With over 3,000 installations nationwide, BHS Robotics system solutions are found in a broad range of industries with special emphasis on corrugated containers, plastic processing, packaging, building materials, and consumer products.

BHS Robotics has experience in the application of many automation technologies, including Drives, PLCs, HMI, Motion Control, Vision, Robotics, and SCADA. They are experts in combining these components to create custom solutions for their customers.

Challenges

BHS Robotics faced two main challenges before working with LiquidPlanner: properly estimating timelines for custom orders and capacity issues related to engineering staffing. Their outdated system for tracking labor, projects, and resources only compounded these challenges.

ESTIMATING TIMELINES

A large portion of BHS Robotics business focuses on custom orders, each having unique specifications. This poses a significant challenge for estimating project timelines as each new project is completely unique from the last. When every new project isn’t replicable from past projects, BHS Robotics could not rely on building a project timeline from past project results. As a result, many projects weren’t accurately estimated upfront and ultimately shipped to customers well past their due dates, causing stress on their relationships with customers.

CAPACITY ISSUES

BHS Robotics was also facing capacity issues with their engineering team. In today’s market, it’s challenging to find highly qualified engineers that can manage the complexity of the custom nature of the products that they design. In addition, BHS Robotics had been receiving a record-breaking number of orders. This heavy increase in demand without visibility into the reality of capacity constraints led the engineering team to miss project deadlines more often. Because of this, the engineers were overworked and didn’t have a plan to find and maintain a balanced workload.

OBSOLETE TRACKING SYSTEM

Before LiquidPlanner, BHS Robotics used a simple Excel spreadsheet to track projects and labor. The tracking system was cumbersome and tedious to use. Simple inputs couldn’t be changed easily, making tracking progress and reporting timelines difficult. Not having access to a robust project & resource management software exacerbated the other issues they faced. BHS Robotic’s increase in orders was great for the bottom line, but they didn’t have a robust plan for how to complete all the work in time. Their simple project tracker didn’t help them understand how prioritizing one project would affect another, and it didn’t account for dependency planning or tracking between projects, labor, and other resources.

Due to the complexity of their projects, difficulty predicting timelines, and resource constraints, it was challenging to plan ahead and predict when the various projects would be complete.

Solution

The main challenge they needed to solve was managing uncertainty amidst shifting priorities. Although other project management software they trialed had similar pain points to what they were already experiencing, the software was very manual, rigid, and difficult to maintain.

FLEXIBLE & EASY

BHS Robotics old project management system was extremely cumbersome; they needed the new project management system to be easily adopted and used by the entire organization. LiquidPlanner’s software was much more user-friendly and more readily adopted.

BALANCED WORKLOAD

BHS Robotics old project management system was extremely cumbersome; they needed the new project management system to be easily adopted and usedBHS Robotics needed a solution that helped to manage the workload of their team of engineers. It was important to ensure they did not continue to be overbooked which could lead to team burnout and inaccurate project schedules. LiquidPlanner helps reduce overload with automatic resource-leveling to show when one person or asset is a bottleneck.

ALIGNED PRIORITIES

BHS Robotics needed software to give them insights into the impact of shifting priorities. LiquidPlanner helps by giving the entire company visibility to the status of all the projects so they could understand the impact of their shifting priorities and how that affected other projects’ timelines.

ACCURATE TIMELINES

BHS Robotics continually delivered projects late due to their resource constraints and high level of demand. LiquidPlanner is unique because it allows inputs from each engineer rather than a singular person estimating timelines for the entire organization. This helped BHS Robotics ensure that the working time required for each project was accurately stated to help them meet their deadlines.

Results

BHS Robotics has just implemented LiquidPlanner fully in April 2022, here are the results they are seeing already:

  • The public declaration of aligning on priorities helped the entire organization to rally around the priority to streamline the process. Now everyone knows the priorities they should be working on without any guesswork.
  • LiquidPlanner has reduced the calls from the sales and management teams to the engineering team requesting continuous status updates. Everyone can see an updated project timeline in real-time.
  • Teams are able to estimate project timelines more efficiently and accurately by allowing individual team members to update their projects and estimate their tasks.
  • LiquidPlanner gives the opportunity to each of BHS Robotics engineers, managers, and sales team members to foresee issues, allowing them to course-correct before it is too late.