Vecol saves time by partnering with Avilan Santos to build solutions in Smartsheet
Vecol partnered with Avilan Santos to implement the Smartsheet platform in order to provide a foundation for accomplishing its 2024 strategic goals
"Reporting on key progress indicators used to take a month; now it takes two to three days maximum to get that information. We’ve seen more than 50% time savings; it’s huge."
Chief of ACT Projects, Vecol
For more than 60 years, Vecol has served Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia with biological and pharmaceutical products designed to promote animal health and agricultural productivity. When the company needed a new technology platform to enable the completion of its ambitious 2024 strategic plan, it turned to Avilan Santos, an advisory and consulting firm and Smartsheet partner for Latin America. Avilan Santos partnered with Vecol to implement the Smartsheet platform in order to automate, streamline, and simplify processes to help the company realize its vision and ensure the implementation of projects and strategic initiatives.
“For 2024, we have goals for our operational process and our strategy,” says Sebastian Morato, planning manager at Vecol. “We need to improve the operations, production, logistics, and our marketing and commercial areas to offer the best value to our customers. To do that, we needed to implement technological platforms and establish about 220 projects. We also have aggressive revenue goals. So we needed to integrate and improve performance for all our old value chains and to track those processes and projects as we execute our plan.”
Vecol has decades of experience developing products that help improve the competitiveness and profitability of the agricultural sector while preventing environmental contamination. As company leaders began to frame a strategic business transformation scheduled for completion in 2024, it became clear that they needed more efficient ways to manage projects and track progress. Information was scattered among spreadsheets, individual documents, and email chains; meeting deadlines required manual effort to update calendars and follow up with project owners. Vecol wanted a solution that would be easy to learn but powerful enough to cut time and effort out of project tracking.
Avilan Santos has over 20 years of experience in enterprise resource planning, including strategic planning, process design, software implementation, and change management. Carolina Galarza, vice president of operations at Avilan Santos, led a team that worked with Morato and his colleagues to design the model for a technology solution to ensure it would meet Vecol’s needs. The platform needed to enable progress tracking in real time, be securely accessible via the cloud, and integrate with Vecol data resources including the Qlik Sense data visualization tool.
“In the past, we haven’t had integrated tools,” says Carolina Rodriguez, chief of planning at Vecol. “We had process indicators in Excel, and a web tool for project management. It was difficult to get complete progress information in the different tools. We worked with Avilan Santos to develop a model to integrate our strategic map, the project processes, and the process indicators in just one or two tools.”
Clear visibility into individual project components
Today Vecol is working toward its 2024 plan with the Smartsheet platform, which aggregates more than 150 key progress indicators and uses formulas to connect and advance important project details. Project owners can track start and finish dates, percentage progress toward the goal, budget usage, and many more specific components. Company leaders can use dashboards to view overall trends, click down into specific steps or figures, and see which pieces of the plan are on schedule, ahead, or behind. Because the Smartsheet platform integrates with Vecol’s SAP business intelligence tool, specific figures are always up-to-date with no need to reenter data.
“In addition to creating a balanced project scorecard, we also automated their project management in Smartsheet,” Galarza says. “We developed everything in Smartsheet, and can connect it to their Qlik Sense tool and to whatever BI software is in the market. This makes it a much more powerful tool to access a wider clientele, and all data collection (except BI) is done in Smartsheet.”
An efficient platform that saves time and simplifies project tracking
With Smartsheet, Vecol is saving significant time and effort that can be better spent developing new products and solving agricultural problems for its customers. With more than 150 tactical and operational indicators to track, manual reporting used to take nearly a month. Now, it can be completed in two or three days, providing leaders with the data they need to make quicker and better-informed strategic decisions.
The secure cloud-based platform simplifies how researchers in the field and office staff at different locations can share information, improving cross-company communication. Users can share comments and questions within a sheet instead of searching through disparate email threads, helping solve problems more quickly and accurately. And because data resides in a single location, there’s no risk of working from outdated information.
“Smartsheet is a collaborative platform, so we have the same information for all users, which is a very good thing,” says Morato. “It doesn’t need installation, because it’s available in the cloud; that is also very good for us, to have secure access from anywhere. And being able to integrate the platform with other tools to get information in real time allows us to make decisions in an agile way.”
Smartsheet is also easy for new users to learn; Rodriguez says that most employees are familiar with Microsoft Excel, which gave them a strong foundation for learning the additional capabilities that Smartsheet offers.
Expertise and partnership from Avilan Santos to create a valuable solution
Morato and his colleagues say engaging Avilan Santos to develop the Smartsheet platform was crucial to the successful advancement of Vecol’s strategic plan. Galarza’s team designed a conceptual framework that helped Vecol understand the best ways to track and manage a vast number of project components, which helped ensure the best design for the technology solution itself.
“The help that Avilan Santos gave us in implementing the solution was very important,” says Andres Rubiano, chief of ACT projects in the AT department at Vecol. “We needed their guidance with the transition and change management.”