Nobuo Aoki

Manager, BPM Business, Sun Planning Systems Co.,Ltd

Supernova Award Category: 
Tech Optimization and Modernization
The Organization: 

Sun Planning Systems (SPS) has been transforming businesses for our customers for many years. SPS is the master distributor of iGrafx (Business Process Management Tools Vendor) in Japan to enable business transformation, and SPS has provided licensing, process innovation and DX support consulting services to more than 2,700 companies in various industry sectors in Japan.

The Problem: 

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), a customer of SPS, had the following problems:MHI was managing the construction of large chemical or gas plants without process standardization. This added inefficiency with duplicated efforts across projects and added costs when one team spoke to another about project specifications and rollout. For example, there were cases for MHI where the profitability of chemical plant construction, shipbuilding, deteriorated. The cause for reduced profitability occurred because project estimation was highly incorrect. For example, the process for quotation review within MHI starts with a request to bid, then quotation creation, quotation verification, quotation summary, quotation review meeting, risk examination, quotation submission, quotation negotiation, and finally quotation correction. This is a huge amount of work for managers to understand. Plus, the team must factor in Japanese regulations as well as the regulations and laws of the countries where the project is happening. It was most problematic to calculate estimates based on various risks because historical processes and outcomes were not properly documented and shared. Although we cannot disclose specific loss figures, some projects had been unprofitable.

The Solution: 

SPS has proposed and developed ProAct to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. ProAct was developed by SPS based on the iGrafx Business Transformation Platform. ProAct is a business process system that is described in a business flow diagram that conforms to Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN), which is an important point that needs to be implemented in standardized project management. BPMN is an industry standard graphic notation that describes a business process. Access to BPMN is important to ensure that your company complies with industry standards used by the market, country, and company as a whole. It provides a common language and approach for improving manufacturing timelines and compliance. Within the ProAct tool, MHI can check business procedures and correlations. This solution was important to MHI because it facilitated the visualization and standardization of project managers' business processes.

The Results: 

With ProAct, MHI was able to create materials that adhered to standards, case books, and applicable laws. Sample templates were developed by the team such as deliverables, submissions, correlation diagrams and more. Tasks were written in the common RACI format (responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed). This set of templates and guidelines informed a complete progress management system and allowed teams to easily check the status of dynamic projects and ensure everything was performing to standard. The BPMN flow information was provided by iGrafx via the iGrafx repository API. This allowed the system to coordinate data and register project status information and deliverables from project members to executives. Suddenly the entire team at every level could monitor and manage progress on critical client projects.


MHI experienced many improvements after introducing ProAct and were able to realize these improvements partially on the following metrics:

· We have prevented losses by billions to tens of billions of yen ($7 million to $74 million USD)

· The time it has taken project managers to search for various procedures and laws has been reduced from hours to seconds

· Standardization of 138 business processes of 28 groups


By suppressing orders from unprofitable projects, we were able to prevent losses from occurring. This minimized the risk of losses of billions to tens of billions of yen.

The Technology: 

Initially, MHI took a considerable amount of time and effort to create a workflow diagram. That's why SPS proposed and adopted the use of iGrafx, a business process architecture solution. We also leveraged iGrafx's workflow solutions to gain insights into automation and operations. iGrafx has simplified the task, made it possible to register and modify it efficiently, and stored the data in a database that was intentionally designed to store and maintain this type of data.

Disruptive Factor: 

A common complaint from the team before implementing this solution was "it is impossible to find the rules, information, and laws that need to refer to this project." Or "I don't know until I ask someone I know." Currently, after implementing business process methodologies and systems, check and relate each requirement when, who, what, and how. It's now easier to find the documentation you want to do. In addition, you can register the deliverables of each process, allowing teams to share past examples of what facilitated learning and what did not. This improves efficiency. For example, we used to rely on human expertise for every question. Today, this expertise is automated and can prevent losses. You can more accurately estimate the project time, cost, and scope of huge plant construction. We are systematized, each process step is standardized, and by automating with a task management system, we can gain more involvement and added value throughout the organization. Put the process in the hands of everyone for a better understanding. Overall, we streamlined the process, saved effort, and implemented project management quickly. In addition to cost and time savings, what cannot be minimized is the incredible motivation seen by project managers and the development of young people to work with enthusiasm.

Shining Moment: 

We think that upstream project costs have a significant impact on delivery times and costs. Until now, a wealth of experience and know-how was required to minimize risks and respond to sudden problems. To help even inexperienced project managers address this issue, risk can be prevented by thoroughly identifying the risks in each process and reflecting preventative measures in advance in the management process.