How Trek Built Bikes More Productively Using A Better Collaboration Tool and Planning

Bike Race

Bike RaceTrek is a big company with offices around the world. But they had a problem that many small businesses like us face. They have a variety of projects with a variety of people working on the project and their project managers were constantly scrambling to get information on various aspects of the project.

This problem was compounded because there are a variety of files attached to each project.

If Trek can’t produce new bicycle models for its customers each season it’s going to be out of business. Each bicycle model is led by a project leader and each model contains an array of documentation (created by a variety of different software) – this added to Trek’s problem.

The folks at AtTask know that this situation is so common to growing businesses and this is why task management software is so important.

In Trek’s case, AtTask said that, One of their biggest challenges came from the broad array of tools used by the team, including Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, Powerpoint slides, Word documents, Microsoft Project, and Inovia project approval software. Attempting to create order from these disparate tools, Lamp’s project managers spent an estimated 30 percent of their time manually retyping timeline items from Microsoft Project into emails to send out to team members, literally crossing items off with pencil as they were completed. Further adding to this inefficiency, Lamp and VP of Operations Steve Malchow were forced to hold status meetings two to three times per week, during which the team assembled in a conference room and via phone to update project spreadsheets one line item at a time.

I know this situation all too well in my own small business.

Of course you know how this story ends, Trek implemented AtTask and these problems were erased.

But there’s a more important story here. Trek took the time to document their business processes and ensure their internal communication procedures were in places – before implementing a technology solution.

Slapping a technology solution on top of chaos just makes things worse.

More than anywhere else, the benefits of AtTask were seen in Trek’s productivity. First, AtTask saved Lamp’s team of project managers and other team members significant amounts of time that had previously been used in project status update meetings, on maintaining spreadsheets and timelines, and in communicating project updates to team members. “I used to go to project status meetings two or three times a week,” Malchow says. “Now, I’ll attend maybe one meeting a month, because I already know.” This sudden availability of time went beyond the vice president to each team member. Malchow continues, “People are much less frustrated. We have our best engineers concentrating on innovation versus spreadsheets and updating tasks. I would say they’re gaining 20 or 30 percent more time behind the CAD station, innovating.”

Whether you decide to use AtTask or some other solution – it’s critical to ensure your teams are communicating as efficiently as possible – growing businesses can’t afford to be in chaos.

Other collaboration tool solutions include Asana (which I use) and 37 Signals has a variety of tools for better communication.

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