Enterprise software company wanted to engage employees to solve problems

Smallworld’s software and services allows energy and telecom companies to track and manage their assets, optimizing asset functioning and financial performance.

Smart people, no system for improvement

Smallworld Systems, a Norwegian enterprise software company, was challenged with increasing customer demand for software customization. Smallworld’s software helped telecom and energy companies manage their assets, but customers had slightly differing needs. ┬áThe company’s main challenge: improving customer responsiveness while continuing to ship new product releases.

Smallworld’s on-site consulting work was performed by members of the same engineering team that was working on new product releases. Smallworld struggled with a blend of priorities and business models, and prioritizing product features versus requests for customizations was also challenging.

As is often the case, Smallworld’s own employees already had ideas for what could be done to improve the situation. What the company lacked, however, was a system for identifying, selecting and solving problems.

Engagement

LSI provided leadership coaching as well as employee and manager education on Lean organization design principles and Kaizen. Smallworld organized regular sessions for Hansei (reflection), and LSI provided advice for how to organize improvement ideas and projects.  The training was initially delivered on-site to all employees and LSI also provided follow-up sessions as webinars.

To facilitate real-time transparency and efficient workflow, LSI helped Smallworld map its value streams and set up Kanban boards for each of them. This provided a baseline for continuous improvement efforts.

Outcomes

  • Successful knowledge transfer of basic Lean practices

  • Real-time transparent operations

  • Faster development

  • Improved customization responsiveness

  • Improved customer satisfaction

  • Employees become involved with strategy and business model questions