Home Workforce Productivity Collaborative Workflow: Ideas Program, Bottom Line Savings

In the prosperous years of the pre-2008 American economy, it was easier for firms to focus their attention on revenue targets rather than other aspects of performance. With the economic downturn, many organizations began scrutinizing the cost impact to their bottom line. As part of our SharePoint Line of Business Application series, we’ll share an example of how SharePoint can be leveraged to reduce an organization’s costs, resulting in material savings.

Tahoe Partners was enlisted to build an innovation platform for an international vehicle manufacturer. The goal of the initiative was to reduce cost, generate revenue, and engage and empower their corporate citizens. SharePoint was selected not only for its workflow capabilities, but also for its social features.

An innovation and ideation program was launched to gather and evaluate ideas from all levels of the organization. Based on an expert team evaluation, an idea may be selected for implementation. Employees were encouraged to submit ideas through a variety of incentives, including a points system, where they were awarded points for implemented ideas that could be redeemed for a variety of prizes. Within the first six months, employees from across the company submitted more than 1,800 ideas.

The SharePoint application delivered to implement this program featured the following:

  1. Submitting an Idea – The user enters the information necessary to evaluate the idea, including anticipated savings or revenue projections.  The idea capture form leverages SharePoint’s Active Directory Integration with their HR systems to improve usability for the idea submitter.
  2. Automatically Routing an Idea for Evaluation – Based on a hierarchy of categorization, the idea is routed to the appropriate subject matter expert team. That team receives an email notifying them of the action required, as well as reminders in subsequent weeks if no action is taken. To enforce an unbiased review, the evaluator does not have access to the idea author’s information.
  3. Automatically Sending Status Updates to the Author of the Idea – As the idea flows through the process, the author receives email updates to keep them informed on the idea’s status. Employees reported that receiving regular updates on ideas they submitted promoted stronger adoption of the overall ideas program.
  4. Searching Evaluated Ideas – In order to prevent duplicate ideas and inspire cumulative innovative thinking, all ideas that have completed the evaluation process are public and searchable through SharePoint’s FAST search capabilities.
  5. Dashboard of Idea Metrics – For evaluators and administrators of the program, configurable dashboards are available to view their action items, review the status of a queue, and view metrics on the program.

With over 1,800 ideas submitted within the first six months of the program, participation included employees from manufacturing locations, corporate headquarters, and distribution centers.  Once implemented, these ideas resulted in 5.3 million dollars in savings for our client. This SharePoint solution is industry agnostic, and could be leveraged in your organization to engage and empower your workforce to have a direct impact on your business’ bottom line.

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