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The state of Grace

New Web-based technology is helping W.R. Grace check the status of its product development process in real time.

The specialty chemicals and materials company is using IDweb product development software from Integrated Development Enterprise (IDe) throughout its Performance Chemicals Division, including Specialty Building Materials, Specialty Construction Chemicals and Darex Container Products Units.

Robert Jenkins, VP of engineering and manufacturing for Grace Performance Chemicals, cites three reasons for adopting the new system. “On the project management level,” says Jenkins, “the importance of cross-functional communications is paramount. On the executive management level, we need to know, at any given time, where all of our projects and portfolios stand so that we can make informed decisions. IDweb provides both of these capabilities.”

“The third reason,” Jenkins continues, “is because it is purpose-built for managing the product development process. It is not an afterthought, add-on or extension to some other kind of solution. That was important to us. “

The new system integrates the functions of portfolio, resource and project management in the context of the adopting company’s development process. To ensure quality cross-functional communications, IDe says, the system uses the concept of Web-based team centers, such as the Executive Center (for portfolio management) and the Team Center (for cross-functional core team members). Along with a Resource Center and Process Center, IDe team centers act as interactive communications and management dashboards, displaying and gathering role-based information that is maintained in one integrated database, so that all project participants base decisions on the same up-to-date information.

W.R. Grace’s initial implementation will integrate the efforts of senior research personnel, process engineers, manufacturing engineers, environmental safety engineers, quality control engineers, marketing personnel and plant managers working in the Performance Chemicals Division.

W.R. Grace is a global supplier of catalysts and silica products, specialty construction chemicals and building materials, and container products. It has annual sales of $1.5 billion, more than 6,000 employees and operations in nearly 40 countries.

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