Software keeps tabs on product development

Following an extensive evaluation programme, over-the-counter healthcare provider, Boots Healthcare International (BHI), has implemented a project planning system in an effort to keep tabs on a surge in product development.

Over-the-counter healthcare provider, Boots Healthcare International (BHI), has implemented a project planning system in an effort to keep tabs on a surge in product development.

Following an extensive software evaluation programme, Project Planner and SureTrak, from Primavera, were chosen by BHI, which focuses on three core product categories, analgesics, cough and cold remedies and skincare. In these areas, the company markets leading brands such as Nurofen, Strepsils and E45.

At the beginning of 1997, BHI decided to seek a replacement for its existing project management package. ‘The system was complex to manage and unfriendly in everyday use, with the result being staff avoided using it,’ said BHI planner and development team member Mary Sheppard.

A steering team from BHI evaluated five packages, testing each with a simulated clinical programme. Some software that appeared user friendly usually couldn’t cope with the mix of projects required, while other software was too highly specified and unnecessarily complex for BHI’s needs. However, Primavera’s Project Planner (P3) and SureTrak offered BHI the right mix in terms of ease of use and project management capabilities.

At BHI, Primavera P3 operates across a five-user local area network used specifically by the planners who develop detailed timetables for individual product development programmes.

While P3 looks after BHI’s strategic planning needs, Primavera SureTrak is suitable for monitoring day-to-day actions. This information is fed into the SureTrak database to produce a Gantt chart showing early and late activity dates for each project, the chart being distributed to each team member. The software is also used to create a report for BHI management showing the expected workload over the forthcoming six-week and three-month periods.

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