Results Not Immediate

By Mel Duvall  |  Posted 2006-11-21 Print this article Print

The Canadian restaurant chain now opens new stores in 360 days instead of 390. But first it had to get over some hurdles working with project management software.

Results Not Immediate

The results from the initiative have been substantial, but they weren't immediate. In fact, after Tim Tracs initially went live, the average length of time from the start of a project to completion actually increased—from 390 days to slightly more than 400. It took time to train Tim Hortons employees on the system, and many contractors who were used to dealing with faxes and hard-paper drawings weren't comfortable with the change.

With his own pet project getting a red light, Dominick quickly formed a team to travel across the country and train staff and contractors on how to use the system. The problem, says Mark Bradley, who spearheaded the effort, is that while people were shown how to use the system in general, they initially lacked training in how to perform their daily tasks. "What we really needed to do," he says, "was sit down with them and show them how to use it to perform their individual business processes," such as submitting a tender.

Bradley now has eight "champions"—experts in using the software—at offices across Canada and the United States.

As usage increased, however, Dominick began to get the paybacks he had been promising management. Row by row, filing cabinets were emptied and moved out of the offices, printing and courier charges were eliminated, and staffers were able to concentrate on projects that needed their attention, reducing red lights. By the end of 2004, construction schedules were back to 390 days. By the summer of 2006, the average project had fallen to 360 days, with further gains expected in the months ahead.

"There are pretty substantial cost savings to be had when you can knock two to four weeks off a project," Dominick points out. "But it's not only that . . . it's two to four weeks earlier that the site's generating revenue for the franchisee and the company."

Contributing Editor
Mel Duvall is a veteran business and technology journalist, having written for a variety of daily newspapers and magazines for 17 years. Most recently he was the Business Commerce Editor for Interactive Week, and previously served as a senior business writer for The Financial Post.


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