Bayer gains real-time visibility with Smartsheet, saving countless hours

To bring its global team on the same page, Bayer built Smartsheet-powered solutions, swapping presentation slides with real-time data and simplified dashboards. This brought time-savings, and a cultural shift.

Avg. read time: 6 min
33hours saved

per week per person for individuals in management positions

500500hours saved

across one team by moving from manual to automated processes


  • Life Sciences

Organization Size

  • Enterprise (10,000+)


  • Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)
  • North America

Bayer was looking to enhance collaboration among its global teams. It chose Smartsheet as the most user-friendly platform that brings together project execution and planning.

Bayer built a project and portfolio management solution in Smartsheet, as well as a tool for tracking company and team-level objectives in one place. With real-time dashboards instead of presentation slides, Bayer gained new levels of visibility.

Smartsheet has saved countless hours and resources for Bayer. It has also enabled a cultural shift towards dynamic shared ownership, empowering teams with more visibility, comparability, and simplicity.


“Projects managed in Smartsheet are substantially more efficient. The outcomes of those projects save us millions annually and saved over 20,000 man-hours in 2023 alone.”

Jeffrey Manning

North America, Product Supply, Project Portfolio Management Lead at Bayer

When you think of Bayer, you might just picture a bottle of aspirin. But the company does far more than soothe headaches. From pioneering pharmaceuticals to revolutionary crop solutions, the company stands at the forefront of healthcare and agriculture, innovating at a time when an aging population and food security are pressing issues.

But for a global juggernaut, collaborating between its headquarters, regional offices, and local sites can be a challenge. “We needed to create a two-way communication line where the headquarters is up to date on what is going on at the sites, and the sites are aware of the global changes like new policies and tools,” explains Andreas Ahammer, Head of Change, Adoption and Sustainment Excellence at Bayer. “We needed a portfolio management solution with global, instant visibility and flexibility.”


Finding a holistic, flexible, useable tool

Jeffrey Manning, North America, Product Supply, Project Portfolio Management Lead at Bayer, took a hard look at the available tools. “I was struggling to find a platform that brought together both project execution and planning,” he recalls. “Ease of use and scalability were also very important. So, I boiled it down to two options. The first didn’t offer us the flexibility and functions we wanted to have. On the other hand, many in our staff had already built Smartsheet-based solutions and loved them—they were begging us to implement it. So it was a no-brainer.”

“Smartsheet stood out as much more user-friendly compared to other tools,” agrees Ahammer. “It looks and feels familiar, which makes it easier for people to understand the architecture. But it also goes above and beyond sheets. Having the right framework, templates and tools enables us to bring consistency to change management.”

Helping teams manage projects

So, Bayer set out to build a project and portfolio management solution in Smartsheet. “Now a year after implementing Smartsheet, we are running about 1,500 projects in the solution,” recalls Manning. It all starts with a basic intake form where everyone can submit project details. The generic form can be tweaked to accommodate the needs of different teams. With one click, staff can request a special toolkit which generates a suite of project management tools, including change plans, communication plans, and project plans. For smaller projects, they can opt for a grid view focusing on key metrics.

The solution also includes toolkits that automatically set up workspaces and reports for each department. With WorkApps and Dynamic View, Bayer also offers views and dashboards that have been curated for specific projects. “People assume that I need days to set this up. In reality, it takes me a few minutes to create a fully functional end-to-end solution for a department,” says Manning.


Keeping track of objectives

Soon afterwards, Bayer built another Smartsheet-based solution for tracking objectives. “People usually receive objectives from leadership, and they also come up with objectives for their team,” Manning explains. “They would usually manually combine these two in presentation slides for reporting, which was time-consuming.” Today, at the start of the year, the supply chain excellence department sets up main objectives that are automatically shared with departments through Smartsheet. “Each department leader can add their own goals, enabling them to keep track of and update all targets in one place,” adds Manning.

Now that presentation slides are a thing of the past, Bayer’s real-time data provides much-needed visibility. 

“The biggest benefit is the speed with which I can provide information to the leaders,” notes Manning. “For example, three years ago a senior vice president asked me for an overview of ongoing investment projects. At the time, it would have taken me weeks. Now, I already have full visibility of our projects, and I can pull the information at the click of a button.”


The trio: visibility, comparability, and simplicity

For Ahammer, this added visibility goes hand in hand with comparability and simplicity. “Because I have all the information at my fingertips, I can also compare my work with whatever’s going on in different teams,” he explains. “But all of this is also kept very clean and simple. Otherwise, we would be lost in the details again.”

According to Ahammer, this is why Smartsheet has enabled company-wide cultural shifts. “We are empowering our teams to lessen bureaucracy, reduce complexity, innovate, and adopt the dynamic shared ownership approach,” he notes. “That is, instead of pushing directives from above, our team members are aware of upcoming challenges and the specifics of what they will be handling.”

Trimming budgets and schedules

With effective execution and tracking, Bayer has saved time and resources. “Using Smartsheet Control Center helped one team save over 500 hours by automating processes,” says Manning.

Notably, Smartsheet has even freed up Bayer’s leadership. “For individuals in management positions, it potentially saves at least two to three hours a week,” notes Ahammer. For example, previously, the company would conduct interviews with colleagues and present the feedback to the leadership. “While theoretically straightforward, this process is expensive in practice, requiring payment to external interviewers and categorization of feedback,” Ahammer explains. “Recently, we switched to using Smartsheet, creating a form with questions augmented by artificial intelligence that automatically gives us actionable items."

“Although it's hard to give an exact number, projects managed in Smartsheet are substantially more efficient and the outcomes of those projects save us millions annually and saved over 20,000 man-hours in 2023 alone.”


Advocating for change and efficiency

Looking back on this journey, Manning considers himself a Smartsheet ambassador. “I’m having so much fun helping people by making their lives easier. It’s so fulfilling,” he concludes. “People sometimes tell me. ‘Oh, I’ve heard about Smartsheet, it’s like Excel on steroids, right?’ No, get that out of your head, I tell them. Smartsheet is a platform where you can build a no-code solution to meet your business needs.”