Workflow tools are helping French motor manufacturer Somfy reduce process times for modifying and obtaining new manufacturing equipment.
Somfy makes motorization and automatic controls for roller shutters and solar protection. Having adopted Lotus Notes several years ago as its groupware platform, Somfy turned its focus to improving cumbersome and time-consuming manual workflows.
Using Percussion Software's PowerFlow workflow tool as a Notes add-on, Somfy has built an automated workflow that lets employees in 15 departments electronically review proposed manufacturing equipment modifications, leading to a speedier evaluation and authorization process. As a result, twice as many people can participate in the review process, which now takes ten days instead of two weeks. The time savings has translated to faster time-to-market for both new and existing products.
Somfy has also constructed a workflow for automating the process of obtaining new capital equipment. With access to information about equipment categories, descriptions and prices, and without the need to create and distribute periodic Excel reports, Somfy managers now sign off on purchases in two days instead of a week.
"PowerFlow has truly played a strong role in streamlining our manufacturing processes," said Jean-Marie Jamet, Somfy's groupware project manager. "That's important, since building products more quickly helps preserve our gross margins by reducing production time and costs."