The very nature of SafetySkills' work requires some kind of project management solution. They began with Microsoft Project, but it was overkill—much too powerful for the company's needs. Therefore they migrated to the other extreme and began using Basecamp. They were impressed with the program and used it for a couple of years.
- Lacked the ability to manage workflow
- Lacked forecasting capabilities to maximize resources and profitability
- Lacked system alerts to warn of problems that required immediate attention
"As we expanded, we basically outgrew Basecamp," says SafetySkills' founder and CEO. "It didn't have the resources, task leveling and recording we needed. Plus, it didn't allow us to manage workflow." Another challenge for SafetySkills was managing resources. Management was unable to track all work, resulting in some employees occasionally having little to do, which wasted money. On the other end, the eight sales representations were sometimes so successful there was more work than could be handled. This created an imbalance Basecamp was unable to mitigate. "We can inventory only so many hours." he explains. "Therefore it was essential to have the ability to forecast workloads several months in advance to maximize efficiency and deliver products as promised. Should we increase hours? Decrease them? It was impossible to calculate with the system we were using."
As the SafetySkills' processes evolved, the need for quality control increased. When an issue arose, management had to evaluate it, track it back to the employee(s) who worked on it and determine where the problem lay before they could solve it. "You can't solve what you don't know," the CEO observes. "Our old system couldn't red flag problems early on. Project managers didn't want to ask for help if they thought they could save the project, so by the time I got involved it was generally too late. We needed a better solution."