We recently interviewed our client Adam Frericks, Vice President of States Manufacturing. 

Here’s what Adam had to say about his company’s challenge, the CTC solution, and the results:  



Our workflow from sales through engineering was highly inefficient. We had no clear record of what our sales team had committed to customers, we had inefficient tools to do resource planning for our engineering team, and we could not quickly find pertinent information in our tracking system. The project status was also very scattered–we had to look at individual file folders and email inboxes to determine a project’s status, rather than having everything centrally located. We typically have 6 people involved in every project, which also adds a layer of complexity.  

When there was a scope change, our existing process made it extremely difficult to assess and estimate. We had good visibility of individual projects, but there was no supervisor’s portal where we could see all projects together and how to schedule next steps.  

In addition, our ERP offered insufficient reporting, as well as the inability to manipulate data. We needed a project tracking tool and handoff mechanism that was simpler to use, had stronger visibility for the individual steps of each project, afforded us the ability to manipulate all of our data, and that we could easily train our staff to use. We determined that we needed a better system with more efficient tools.  


Upon evaluation, we realized we needed help. You can’t develop the right solution until you uncover the underlying problems, so we decided we needed an expert to dig in and identify the root problems before we could find the solution. We didn’t even know for sure what our pain points were, but we did know something wasn’t working.  

We originally felt we needed help from an expert in our industry, but early on we found that this was actually not important. What we learned we needed was an expert in process improvement and Microsoft 365, so we turned to CTC Productivity. We had a history with the company and had seen value in their services in the past.  

Working with CTC was pivotal to our success. They helped us: 

  • Have a fresh perspective. It was critical to bring in outside resources. They would share new ideas and we would try to break them. This was a highly effective and even enjoyable process. 
  • Lay out a vision and a plan for how to get there. Often you don’t know what you don’t know until someone presents a new approach for you to consider. 
  • Understand how to fully leverage the power of Microsoft 365 with better task management, handoffs between teams, and reporting. 
  • Leverage our existing Microsoft tools to keep ongoing costs down as there was no additional upfront or ongoing system cost. 
  • Understand SharePoint. We did not have the experience to know what was possible or how to build it out. CTC demonstrated their expertise in this area. 
  • By leading the project. No one on our team had time to lead, nor the type of skills necessary. We had project management experience, of course, but not for this type of project. We also would have had to sacrifice a resource to lead the project and we didn’t have the capacity to do so. 
  • Reduce the number of emails for communication.  SharePoint allows for better, more streamlined communication between team members. 
  • Train our internal resources to be able to manage the tool long-term. We didn’t even think to ask for this at the start of the project and were thankful that CTC suggested it as a smart, long-term strategy to keep costs down. 
  • Understand the importance of streamlining the workflow before building the solution. This was critical to the success of the new tools.  
  • Identify that we didn’t have all the right roles defined. No other vendors did it this way. This was key. 
  • Clarify the roles and responsibilities of our team members. Drafting roles and responsibilities helped us explain to others how they would fit into the long-term solution when we pitched it to the rest of the company. The roadmap of responsibilities was key to see the gaps in our processes. Historically we would assign tasks to a department, but didn’t get as granular as specifying an individual or role within that department, which wasn’t thorough enough to ensure that the workflow was running smoothly. 


Managing this process is much easier with our enhanced visibility to staff and department workloads. We can easily see our resource planning, and our schedule is now based on availability and capacity, rather than gut instinct. With two clicks of the mouse, we can see everyone’s availability and how far out they are scheduled.  

 Our Engineers like the new process and software, and they feel empowered to schedule their own time accordingly and have a more accurate schedule. We are more confident that we can meet our deadlines using factual, accurate data to plan, and we now have a proactive versus reactive discussion if our staff feel they can’t meet a deadline.  

 In addition to our management view of availability and in-process projects, our employees now have individual views of their own active projects and tasks as well. This allows them to not feel overwhelmed by data and they now know exactly where they need to focus their time and energy. Our Engineers have their own active project list which alerts them when it is their turn in the process.  

 We are thrilled with the streamlined project management that comes with using Microsoft 365. We are able to easily see which projects still need a kickoff meeting, we have a tool and quality data for forecasting and future project planning, and we can capture timestamps to understand the length of submittals/projects and use this information for future planning and forecasting. It has also made engineering deliverables and dates more transparent to the other groups (sales and operations). Now everyone knows when we are meeting and the status of various projects. Production can plan more accurately and sales can see each project status and keep customers updated. This has put a stop to constant interruptions, as we are no longer constantly asking each other for the status of projects.  

 As a fast-paced organization, we appreciate the transparency and improved communication that comes with having one central place to find information. The simplified process has reduced the amount of finger-pointing between departments and has saved time and energy, while simultaneously reducing confusion.  

 Our new solution allows our lead engineers to more effectively manage their areas of responsibility. They have the information they need to answer day-to-day questions versus having questions being raised to management. The enhanced calendar view and reporting have also made a huge impact on the efficiency of our team across the board. 

 When we decided to work with CTC Productivity, we didn’t realize we would get a system that is so sophisticated. They shared their knowledge of process improvement, which was a great learning opportunity for all of our team members. We now feel confident that we will know what to do when having process issues in other areas. We saw great value in defining the high-level workflow before building out our processes, as each department had a different opinion about the process. Defining everything from the start ensured that everyone was on the same page.  

 We were pleasantly surprised at how quickly we saw results from the changes CTC made. For example, within one hour of working with our CTC lead, we had completely revamped our Excel quoting tool. With the average annual compensation for engineers being around $100k, leveraging their time more efficiently is completely priceless. 

Project Cost, Timeline, & ROI 

Onetime Project Cost: $58k 

Ongoing cost: $0 

Timeline: 4 mos to fully operational system & trained staff 

ROI: Sales gained an average of 54 days/yr that they can now spend on selling rather than chasing down the status of a project for a customer. This is simply one easily calculated example of the many ways this process improvement has impacted the efficiency at States Manufacturing. 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Be the first to hear any updates from CTC!