We’re back with another installment of our Championing Change series, where we learn how real Wrike customers are using our platform in their daily work to reach their goals. Getting Wrike tips and tricks directly from customers is one of the best ways to get the most out of our platform.
This time, we’re hearing from Mike Fank, Operational Excellence, Quality, and Safety Manager at Wisconsin Metal Parts (WMP). In operation for over 30 years, WMP is a one-stop shop for metal production. As Mike put it, “We make everything.” The company manufactures the metal parts in bike racks, medical devices, HVAC systems, orthodontics — and just about everything in between. “If it’s made of metal, we’ll gladly work on it,” he said.
Recently, Mike became our latest Wrike Black Belt holder, marking his work toward becoming a true Wrike champion. Today, Mike gives us insight into how the company continues to strive for improvement, increase efficiency, and embrace change using Wrike.
Using Wrike to implement a continual improvement process
“Continual improvement is core to what we do at WMP,” Mike explained. To reach its continuous improvement goals, the company created an employee improvement submission system to “track how many ideas are submitted and how many are implemented”. Starting with one small piece, WMP has grown its continual improvement process using Wrike as the foundation. “Wrike helped automate the approval and routing of ideas. After our initial use case was adopted, we continued to grow what can be put in Wrike,” Mike added.
But WMP didn’t just use Wrike to effectively collate employee-submitted ideas, it also integrated its corrective action process by building a custom template in Wrike that ensures each step is completed. Then it added required reviews and approvals at key steps, so management could regularly monitor each submission’s progress.
In the process of implementing this system, WMP landed on one of our favorite bonuses of using Wrike: the elimination of spreadsheets and emails. As a manufacturing company, WMP can’t keep every element in Wrike but the key initiatives are there, according to Mike. And that alone has allowed the company to drastically cut down on status update emails and cumbersome spreadsheets for its continual improvement program.
Anticipating change management issues
When we hear about our customers introducing entirely new processes, we know that adjustment can be tricky. Change can be hard! That’s why we’re particularly interested in spreading the word when we hear our customers tout the successful introduction of new Wrike features.
Mike explained that WMP’s strategy for change management was to get initial buy-in for building its continual improvement program using Wrike, build said program, and then follow up with those who needed extra assistance. “The key has been follow-ups and one-on-one training for the people who are either skeptical or didn’t understand,” Mike said. The icing on the cake? Being able to show that the program works. “We’ve also been able to show the dramatic improvement Wrike has had on implementing ideas.”
As adjustments have been needed to tweak the continual improvement system, Mike said the process has been to “get the team together to understand the problems we’re facing with the current system, and then pilot a revised system in Wrike”. He added that it doesn’t take long for those adjustments to take hold: “So far, when people start using it, they immediately see the improvement.”
Being a Wrike go-getter helps implementation
While a lot of what Wrike can do is intuitive, there’s so much more the platform can provide when you look a little deeper, take a tutorial, or attend our webinars. Mike really dove in head first, aiming to make sure WMP was getting the absolute maximum from Wrike.
“When first launching Wrike, I consumed everything I could. I read everything I could find, asked questions on the How To forum in the Help Center, and looked at all the other use cases,” he said. “I wanted to learn all the things Wrike could do to better help WMP implement it effectively.” And Mike’s diligence on the front end has paid off, both in a smooth Wrike rollout and impressive improvements in efficiency.
Leveraging Wrike to augment manufacturing technology
Manufacturing organizations have priorities that can be a bit different from other Wrike customers, such as marketing agencies or IT companies. But WMP is a prime example of a manufacturing company using Wrike effectively.
Mike explained that WMP began by using Wrike for key initiatives while keeping scheduling, planning, and reporting on physical processes in its ERP system. However, WMP is striving to ensure all possible work moves into Wrike eventually. Mike admitted: “Not all our work is in Wrike. I know the saying is, ‘If it’s not in Wrike, it doesn’t exist’ — we’re not there.” With such effective change management strategies, however, it looks like WMP will be soon.
Wrike features boost WMP’s efficiency
Thanks to WMP’s employee submission system, the company has been able to cut its backlog by more than half, from 300+ items to 128. Even more impressive? The company was also able to cut its implementation time from more than 30 days to just over five.
We just love hearing stories of Wrike significantly saving our customers time and energy.
If you’ve been on the fence about introducing Wrike’s work management platform to your company, let Wisconsin Metal Parts serve as an example: change really is worth it. Why not try Wrike for free for two weeks and get a taste of how your processes could improve and evolve with Wrike?