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Samarsky Transformator produces and sells arc suppression coils and units as the exclusive licensee of the Austrian brand Trench in Russia. It also manufactures transformers and vacuum circuit breakers under the license of Arteche and Siemens. Vladimir Rezkov, the head of IT-department, explains how the company came to the process management and shares experience of implementing a business process management system in a company with a branched structure.
Samarsky Transformator
(Power equipment)
24 years in business
207 users
50 business processes
94 426 transactions
Have been using ELMA since 2010

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– For many years now, the plant has occupied a leading position in the industry. Tell us about the milestones of the development of the company?
– The plant was opened in 1943. A new phase began in 1991 when the company became privately owned and transformed into a corporate group, which included production and marketing branches. Marketing branches are located in several regions; they attract new clients, being internal customers for the production branches. In recent years, we have widely expanded our product line. Now the plant produces 10, 20, 30-kilovolt transformers, integrated switchgear for substations, we have successfully established the production of mini-plants for the field use (a small turnkey cabin made of sandwich panels with all the necessary equipment inside). We have purchased a license of the Spanish brand Arteche, and now all of our transformers are manufactured only in accordance with this technology. We also manufacture vacuum circuit breakers under the SIEMENS license and arc suppression reactors in accordance with the technology of the Austrian company Trench.

– When did you decide to start using process management?
– That was five years ago. At that stage, we greatly broadened our product line and it became increasingly difficult to keep track of production phases and control order execution. Each department had its own regulations; we were lacking general regulations that would cover the entire production process. Sometimes, in order to clarify the situation, it was necessary to spend many hours in a meeting. Marketing branches of the corporate group are located in different regions, which used to cause additional problems as the employees often lost information, forgot to complete tasks and documents vanished. Besides, there was always a human factor: new employees needed time to examine and learn all regulations, and obviously the first months they forgot some procedures. Therefore, we decided to reorganize the process to make it more transparent and clear and make sure the work was done on time.

Everyone liked how quickly the issues were solved, but we had a hard time when people realized that it was no longer possible to “lose a document” or cheat the system.

– What did you pay attention to when choosing the system?
– We always had in mind that the system had to be easy to install and configure and reasonably priced. We wanted to be able to independently adapt the system to the company environment – that was perhaps the main requirement.
We checked out many systems in an attempt to find the most appropriate one. Most of the systems required paid aftersales support. Already at the demonstration stage, some of them proved to be very sluggish, we had to invite developers to make even minimal changes. Within a month, we made our choice.

– What business processes were automated in the first place and why?
– The plant executives were the initiators of the system implementation. Just imagine the typical situation: by the end of the day, piles of papers to sign used to accumulate on the director’s desk. Some papers were handed over to the deputy. As a result, the director could forget what papers were signed and who currently kept them. In addition, the plant area is comparable to the area of a block, that’s why it took a lot of time for the original document to reach its final destination. It was a real disaster if the director was on a business trip or on vacation. Therefore, we started with the automation of the memo process, which is our basic, and the most commonly used one.
At the moment, the only paper documents we use are those documents that cannot be converted into electronic format, as they require the original director signature. The process allows you to approve all the documents, select executors and so on. All branches of the corporate group have access to the document, including marketing divisions in other cities, which allows process participants to quickly approve any urgent document, regardless of where they are.
When going on vacations, many employees prefer to stay connected and complete tasks using their mobile devices, since the vacation handover is much more complicated, besides, there is always a risk to miss or forget something important.

– How did the employees react when they had to start using ELMA?
– The executives were enthusiastic; all the other employees were shocked at first. We started with 50 licenses, providing access to certain employees. Everyone liked how quickly the issues were solved, but we had a hard time when people realized that it was no longer possible to “lose a document” or cheat the system. With the support of the company executives, all company branches started to use ELMA. After the launch of the first process, we made a complete tutorial with screenshots and instructions and sent it to all the departments. It was impossible to gather all the employees in one place to show how the system worked and it was inefficient to train them individually, that is why we made the detailed document.
It took time for the employees to get accustomed to the digital signature when they had to sign financial documents. The amounts of money were big, so people had their doubts. Eventually, we resolved this issue.

– Were you able to flexibly adapt ELMA to the workflow of your company?
– Yes, we were. The records management departments in all companies, which are part of the corporate group, work in ELMA all the time. ELMA is also integrated with our ERP system. It was important that we adapted the system to our needs, and not the other way around.

Have you extended the system use?
– This year we have started using ELMA CRM module after slightly modifying it.

– What are the most significant achievements you made due to the implementation of ELMA?
– Transparency and speed of the process execution. We haven’t checked it deliberately, but I guess the operation speed when working with paper regulation was about thirty per cent lower as compared to now. The system also has provided an easy search for documents. For example, the employees can access information on orders. At any time, each process participant from the manufacturing or marketing branch can check the process stage or find all the necessary order related documents.

It was important that we adapted the system to our needs, and not the other way around.

– How would you evaluate the impact of ELMA implementation?
– The processes are executed in due time and with the desired results – these are the parameters that can be set and monitored in ELMA. This approach disciplines employees, improves their performance. In general, the implementation of the process management system changes the corporate culture, which contributes to the company development.

– What advice can you give to those who think of business processes implementation in their company?
– Just go ahead and do it. The system allows you to track the time spent on tasks at all levels and helps to achieve high schedule compliance, which creates favorable conditions for the development of the company.

- The system allows you to track the time spent on tasks at all levels and helps to achieve high schedule compliance, which creates favourable conditions for the development of the company.