Though it’s owned by a multinational conglomerate, Happy Family Brands still maintains the attitude — and the staffing levels — of a scrappy, agile start-up. That means collaboration and communication are always at a premium, particularly when it comes to managing complex multi-stage tasks like introducing a new product.
To raise the stakes even higher, because its products are organic baby foods, numerous regulatory, food science and quality assurance (QA) requirements must be met along the way from original ideation to delivery to the retailer’s shelf.
Happy Family, owned by Groupe Danone, keeps projects large and small on time and on track with the help of the Redbooth project management solution. Entire teams can view a project’s progress at a glance, and the Timeline view functionality automatically builds and updates Gantt charts that visually display dependencies, accountability and due dates, with color codes for which elements of a project are on time or are running late.
Team members can use the solution to:
• Plan out an entire project or client engagement in a single place;
• Identify and address bottlenecks early and correct them;
• Ensure work across a team is completed on schedule;
• Share progress reports with multiple teams, including C-level, board members, management or clients; and
• View completed tasks for a comprehensive perspective on what has been accomplished.
Centralized Meeting Place For Multiple Projects
“One of the solution’s strengths is that it’s flexible enough to use across a number of types of projects,” said Pete Soyer, Senior R&D Manager, Happy Family Brands. “Our department can use it to manage a product introduction through ideation, launch and post-launch activities, but I’ll also use it for something smaller, such as an art change to a package design.”
For larger-scale projects, the single view across multiple departments provides big benefits. “It’s a live document that includes due dates that everyone can watch,” said Soyer in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “It’s useful for managing projects, tracking outside requests and managing internal repeated tasks that are ‘touched’ by up to 20 people or more.”
Easing Business Growth Pains
The Redbooth solution, first adopted in late 2013, has helped Soyer’s Boise, Idaho team as its scope of responsibilities grew. “When I started there were 12 people in Boise and one woman who was, in essence, the R&D department — everything was in her head and on her computer,” said Soyer. “As we expanded and built out our team, we created our own tools and used Excel. They served their purpose, but they were clunky and very manual, and if any updates were needed, we had to ensure that all the relevant documents were updated and nothing was missed.”
Now, the Redbooth solution handles these kinds of updates for internal projects as well as managing relationships with outside partners. In fact, its role as a centralized meeting place has been embraced by the entire organization, which consists of approximately 100 employees.
In addition to streamlining data updates, Redbooth simplifies collaboration across departments. “We’re still a small team — I can walk over to the regulatory team across the hall — but with repeating tasks, it’s much easier for me to ‘ping’ the marketing team in New York via Redbooth, have them review the request and give their approval, and move it automatically to the QA team in Boise,” said Soyer. “It makes collaboration and communication much smoother.”
The R&D department is no longer the only user, nor the sole cheerleader, for the solution. “We just upgraded to 120 seats on Redbooth, because we were over what we had originally contracted for,” said Soyer. “Now, everyone but our sales team is using it. Everyone has really gotten on board with managing by looking at the dashboard. It’s integrated as part of the daily workflow, like checking email — the window is open all day, every day.”