R&D resource planning seeks to answer the basic question: “What capabilities will we need in the future, and how will we get them?” The specialized nature of the knowledge involved and the length of time it takes to develop required skills, makes R&D workforce-capacity planning particularly challenging. Binocs helps to align the capacity of scientists and engineers with the demand to perform projects and to come up with new ideas. Where full-featured project-management solutions are a good fit for large projects with skilled planners, Binocs users find more benefits in a solution with a lower user threshold covering the broad span of R&D activities: the many small and the fewer large projects, but also day-to-day support and customer service-related tasks.
All important sources of demand for the R&D department are consolidated in Binocs:
- R&D Projects: New product developments (NPD), new product introductions (NPI), etc.
- Slack time: Which is not a luxury for researchers—it is a necessity.
- Other activities: Knowledge-gathering, audits, customer-service requests, investigation of complaints.
Binocs can use existing business systems such as PLM (product lifecycle management) or PPM (product/project portfolio systems) to capture R&D demand. Other types of demand can be entered directly using the Binocs user interface, or transferred from existing Excel workbooks. Binocs also helps to standardize the way teams perform projects by defining templates that can be used over and over. This ensures that project managers use standard pre-estimated tasks.
R&D team leaders manage the availability profiles and the competence matrix of project resources (e.g. project engineers and leads, R&D assistants, etc.) in Binocs.
- Competences: Who is qualified/skilled to deliver particular tasks or expertise?
- Availabilities: Who is available and when, taking into account meetings, holidays, training, performance review, vacations, etc.?
Services: Standardize the way you work.
Certain R&D activities such as specification-sheet maintenance, production test setup and sensory-testing sessions are repeated over and over. In Binocs, these can be predefined by specifying workload, lead-time and activities (e.g. preparation, set-up and execution). This ensures that project managers use standard pre-estimated tasks. They set up their project by requesting the proper set of services from the different R&D teams required, and Binocs knows how to calculate the workload required.
Capacity Analysis: Be a know-it-all.
Binocs calculates the required workload based on the demand and service information. Binocs reports can then show:
- Workload for a specific project.
- Workload per innovation type.
- Workload per brand.
Besides standard dashboards and views, Binocs uses pivot charts and tables (yes, similar to the kind you probably know from Excel). This gives you endless possibilities to shape the reports to answer your questions. This end-to-end visibility creates awareness of what people ask, which enhances their accountability, alerts where capacity problems will occur, and helps to align the daily reality with the R&D strategy.
Scenarios: The magical question, What if …?
What if we change priorities? What if we re-allocate work between different roles? What if we flex by hiring contingent resources? What if we omit certain activities? What if we train new people? Binocs lets you create scenarios where you can play around and simulate your what-if questions. Then the return on investments of the different solutions can be compared to help you and your management to decide on the best option.
Discover the features for R&D environments in Binocs.