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Mounting the EPM challenge

When you think of quality outdoor products, a handful of vendors come to mind. One of them, Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI)--founded more than six decades ago as a consumer co-op by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers--is trying to achieve the same level of quality associated with its products in its project management and product delivery capabilities.

"We have always delivered high-quality products," says Kevin Myette, director of business operations for REI Gear and Apparel. "However, we need to improve our project management capabilities in order to increase our efficiency, consistency and capacity."

To reach that goal, the outdoor equipment supplier has enlisted PM Solutions to help it implement Microsoft Office 2003 Enterprise Project Management (EPM). The solution consists of Microsoft Office Project Server 2003, Project Professional 2003 and Project Web Access with Outlook integration. The EPM software will enable REI to manage project planning, portfolios and division resources online. In addition, use of Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and Outlook will enable REI team members to communicate, collaborate and manage documents.

The consultant says it will configure the project management component of the integrated solution, enabling project managers to align all tools, tasks, documents and data in real time so REI can manage projects more efficiently. It will implement the solution by configuring user profiles, creating and customizing project fields in newly generated project plans, customizing project views and creating security measures based on specific REI requirements.

Kristin Ippensen, PM Solutions' alliance manager, says, "The best way for an organization to fully leverage a solution like this is to design it to meet specific business requirements. By maximizing the solution's portfolio management, document management, resource allocation and cross-division collaboration features, REI improves project management efficiency and the consistency of product delivery."

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