Hospitality Interior Design
and Construction Management Firm
elite|studio e Increases On-Time
Project Completion to 90%
Ivan J. Weiss
Executive Vice President & COO
Once the company doubled in size, a higher level of coordination across departments was needed to become more efficient
elite studio|e was founded in 2000 as a division of its parent company, Elite Food Service Equipment, Incorporated, a food service equipment supplier and distributor. Primary customers include corporate, governmental, and non-profit clients in healthcare, K-12 schools, and hospitality. elite | studio e has designed dining spaces, coffee bars, and micro-markets in a wide range of commercial locations including hotels, companies and restaurants.
Teams previously used email, calendars, and physical white boards to manage work. Once the company doubled in size, teams started to face challenges. "People were out of the loop on projects due to not ccing people on emails. Our projects have a long lifespan — up to 6 months. Communication issues could lead to missed due dates," says Weiss. Since projects were extremely detail oriented, a higher level of coordination was needed beyond email to become more efficient. "We couldn't keep it up to date and track progress fast enough. We were able to work week to week, but were not able to forecast our pipeline of projects in the future."
Weiss decided to implement a new project management system to simplify and streamline processes across departments, including Food Service Design, Interior Design, Project Management, Delivery, and Project Solutions. Weiss wanted a cloud-based project management system with mobile and desktop access. It had to be flexible, fit within their budget, and accelerate collaboration — fully replacing email for project communication.
* Photo provided courtesy of elite|studio e
We have a clearer picture of delivery timelines. It used to be difficult to visualize client expectations, but now we have a very clear path, and know how long it will take.
Wrike was the first project management system launched at elite|studio e — a centralized system that all employees use
Requirements are captured up-front and projects are structured so that required steps are always taken. "We don't have to fix errors because everything is well coordinated," says Weiss. "We have that down to at most 10% - only on rush projects with less time to review. It's been a dramatic improvement."
Because Wrike tracks all project history, missed requirements are a thing of the past for the most part. With the transparency, came more accountability and collaboration from all employees. "One unexpected benefit from Wrike was the level of accountability. Some people were a little nervous about writing everything in black and white. But this lead to more ownership: Did I communicate it the right way? Were all the files there?"
Visibility has increased into where projects stand, so deadlines are clear to the team. Issues are surfaced earlier on in projects, giving people more time to course-correct and still make their deadlines. "We have a clearer picture of delivery timelines. It used to be difficult to visualize client expectations, but now we have a very clear path, and know how long it will take," says Weiss.
elite|studio e uses Request Forms extensively to manage the intake of work, making sure that requests are complete, projects are reviewed before being assigned, and the proper template for each project is used to setup the tasks. "Request forms were very impactful and transformed things for us," says Weiss. "We have a very complicated project template (over 100 tasks). The sales team is now able to use the form to submit their requests (vs. creating a project). That way, all required information is there. Then, a member from our team reviews the request and uses the template to initiate the project."
Deployment and Adoption
Weiss piloted Wrike on a test project at elite|studio e to onboard employees, prior to cutting over all projects into the system. From the top down, all employees were expected to use Wrike, and they made it a policy to use Wrike instead of email to manage project details. Weiss was clear with his teams that Wrike is not intended to replace in-person collaboration, but enhance it. They particularly use the @mention feature of Wrike to keep all relevant people in the loop.
Wrike enables te elite|studio e team to track dependencies between tasks in the Timeline View. They are now able to pinpoint where projects hit a roadblock, and resolve it to stay on track with deadlines. "Everyone is more aware of project status now because we have many steps that are dependent on each other," says Weiss.