Veritiv Transforms Project Management Processes With Smartsheet
To stay relevant in a changing global economy, Unisource Worldwide had to transform its business model. Shifting from being solely a paper products company, it evolved into a custom packaging and ecommerce logistics provider, using Smartsheet as its collaboration tool.
- Large (1,000 - 9,999 employees)
- North America
- Enhance Customer Experience
Smartsheet helps us to unlock the innovation within our organization and bridges the gap between traditional project management tools and Excel. It is invaluable to us – across the entire spectrum of our company.
Veritiv is a North American leader in business-to-business distribution solutions. Serving customers across virtually every industry, Veritiv provides print, publishing, packaging, facility and logistics solutions that help shape the success of its customers. The company has a global workforce of approximately 8,900 employees and operates about 180 distribution centers throughout North America.
To stay at the forefront of the distribution industry, Veritiv strives to innovate in everything they do, from the development and delivery of their solutions to their use of the Smartsheet platform for not only project management capabilities, but innovative reporting and dashboarding solutions across the enterprise.
Managing a Shift in Culture
Veritiv was established in 2014, following the merger of International Paper’s Xpedx division and Unisource Worldwide. By leveraging the combined history of operational excellence, Veritiv evolved into one team shaping its success through exceptional service, innovative people and consistent values. Today, Veritiv's focus on segment-tailored market leadership in distribution and a commitment to operational excellence allows it to partner with world class suppliers, add value through multiple capabilities and deliver solutions to a wide range of customer segments.
This focus on meeting customer needs not only influences the way that Veritiv teams work with one another to deliver products and services to clients, it also affects the tools the company needs to make it all happen seamlessly.
“The complexity of our business requires a project management tool that allows us to collaborate across the new enterprise,” stated Chris Enderle, Information Technology Manager for Veritiv. “Our IT group works with our business partners closely on every project. We needed a cost-effective solution that would allow us to easily share projects and update our databases with new information across the Veritiv network."
“The key was to have a program that was heavy-hitting enough for IT project managers, easy enough for our business partners to use, and innovative enough to be able to collaborate with people across the enterprise,” Enderle added.
Grassroots Growth for Collaborative Project Management
The Veritiv team went in search of a collaborative project management tool to help manage and organize the array of projects underway prior to the merger − and one they could continue to use once the two companies merged to form Veritiv. With a large Salesforce deployment already in place, Veritiv turned to the AppExchange for ideas.
When the team found Smartsheet in the AppExchange, they were hopeful it might be the solution they were searching for and urgently needed. Veritiv purchased a plan, and the project team immediately saw usage skyrocket. It was the first signal that the Smartsheet tool was an application that would benefit many users throughout the company.
“We were starting a project where we were onboarding a number of large customers and adding up to 900 shipping locations to our internal data systems,” Enderle said. “We’re talking about 2,500 different SKUs across the country and across departments. We needed a project management tool that allowed us to collaborate with those employees and be able to share project information readily so they could make their own updates and keep the project status running in real time. That’s when we turned to Smartsheet. In IT, we quickly saw how easy the program was to use and how convenient it is.”
Today, hundreds of Veritiv team members collaborate in Smartsheet and the numbers continue to climb.
“About 200 people started using Smartsheet at first,” says Enderle. “We now have more than 1,500 users. That’s well over 10 percent of our organization, including employees in IT, human resources, marketing and the integration teams. Smartsheet works for project management in every department.”
The addition of Smartsheet to the company’s suite of project management tools aligns with the company’s focus on unlocking innovation at every level.
“Our guiding principle during the merger was to ensure our customers were not disrupted in any way,” says Enderle. “Our customer onboarding project required a tremendous amount of work by the IT organization to get everything scheduled, merged and deployed on time, and Smartsheet helped us to do that.”
Expanded Collaboration Leads to Expanded Usage
As Veritiv team members continue to use Smartsheet, they are discovering new ways to use the tool to get more tasks accomplished.
Veritiv managers are looking at additional opportunities to use Smartsheet in purchasing, IT, logistics, real estate, facilities operations, customer service, and managing the flow of employee communications.
“When we first introduced Smartsheet to our business teams, the initial feedback focused on how easy the tool is to use,” stated Enderle. “Sure, they needed to pick up some project management fundamentals, but once they were exposed to the software, it clicked. The online training was especially helpful.”
Transparency Leads to Credibility with Customers
Smartsheet has now also become an invaluable sales tool at Veritiv. The sales team uses the software to efficiently create a customer proposal or sales plan with input from a variety of departments and with confidence that the right people are collaborating.
Smartsheet also helps Veritiv build trust with its customers, as it allows teams to deliver on their commitment of transparency by sharing plans as they develop. Use of the Smartsheet tool throughout Veritiv has become another differentiator in acquiring new customers.
By keeping projects and tasks organized and collaborating more efficiently with customers by utilizing Smartsheet, Veritiv has freed up time for the sales team so they can better focus on expanding their business and strengthening client relationships.
There are many other examples of various business functions at Veritiv using the Smartsheet tool to improve efficiencies. The marketing team uses the software to manage and track many of their campaigns and events. And the logistics team is using the application for their safety audits. They recently developed a mobile web form for auditors out in the field which allows them to enter data, comments, and photos; which are sent instantly to the administrator and updated automatically on a master audit sheet.
More – Much More – to Come
Chris Enderle sees the potential for expanding Smartsheet use across the company.
“Smartsheet is a strong tool that can handle heavy duty project management, and its ease-of-use makes it accessible to business groups and helps make their everyday processes more manageable and more efficient,” he says. “Seamless collaboration and fueled innovation make Smartsheet the right choice for project management at Veritiv.”