Swiss Post & Qmarkets – An Innovation Management Success Story
Qmarkets currently maintains successful deployments with over 200 customers across the globe, ranging from multinational fortune 500 companies such as Total, Nestle, and PMI, to high-tech SMEs such as Emergent Biosolutions, and Recaro. The Qmarkets team endeavors to ensure that all projects are successful, however sometimes this is easier said than done. This post will discuss an innovation project which posed many challenges, but also garnered many rewards.
More than a postal service
Founded in 1849, Swiss Post began as the Federal Post Office of Switzerland (PTT), initially transferring mail via train and horseback until the introduction of motor vehicles in 1903. Since then Swiss Post has grown to become the second largest employer in Switzerland with over 60K employees, operating in 4 markets, under 6 subsidiaries, and offering a wide variety of services.
As a company that has survived numerous waves of technological and cultural disruption over the course of its 167-year history, Swiss Post and its employees have grown to understand the value of innovation. Therefore, it was not a surprise to the Qmarkets team when they were approached by Swiss Post in search of an enterprise-grade innovation management platform. However what did surprise the Qmarkets team was the amount of expertise, creativity, and determination which Swiss Post brought to the table when they began working on this project. They were not just trying to install a token-system to appease shareholders or unions; they wanted to make a concerted effort to ignite a spark of innovation on every level of their organization.
A tailored solution
Of course, the Qmarkets team were more than happy to assist Swiss Post with achieving their goal, assigning dedicated product experts and developers to the account to ensure that their exact specifications and requirements were met. However with Qmarkets’ already extensive experience working on successful innovation projects, they also had many recommendations. One of Qmarkets’ first recommendations was to maintain the brand identity of Swiss Post, but to also give their project its own unique identity which would engage and excite their employees. As a result of this, “Postidea” was born – a gorgeous platform which utilized the excellent branding and colors of the company, while also cultivating a start-up mentality around the initiative for internal marketing.
While Qmarkets’ idea management software can be used to tackle a variety of use cases, initially Swiss Post was primarily interested in tackling the challenge of process improvement and waste reduction. This involved employing a standard workflow where ideas are voted on by a crowd, and then sent to experts for score-card evaluation, before being sent to a decision maker for final approval. As a result of this, Swiss Post implemented dozens of ideas.
Adopting a best-practice culture
While the advanced Q-max idea management platform which Swiss Post chose offered solutions to many of their organizational challenges, there were some which were beyond the scope of this original project. They soon identified that many of their individual employees were finding ways to save time and money on a daily basis, but not sharing these hacks beyond their immediate circle of colleagues. In order to facilitate this, Swiss Post needed a platform which would engage their employees with the principle of process improvement, and create a culture of best-practice sharing on a company-wide level.
Qmarkets answered this challenge with the development of a custom built product called Q-kaizen. Named after the Japanese operational excellence business practice, this platform allowed Swiss Post to not only promote best-practice sharing, but to also manage, evaluate, and quantitatively measure its success.
For example, an individual worker discovered that he could save 20 minutes every week through an innovative schedule adjustment, and upon the launch of Q-kaizen he had the opportunity to share it with a larger audience. His submission was evaluated within the platform by a group of company experts who confirmed that it could legitimately be utilized by other workers, and then published this for other users to see. The platform then automatically invited specific relevant users to adopt this best-practice within the Q-kaizen system, resulting in many more workers utilizing this concept. Not only can a simple idea like this save thousands of dollars, but it also has an invaluable effect on the company culture – giving employees the peace of mind that the time they give to Swiss Post is being spent in the most efficient way possible.
Identifying “The Next Big Thing”
Another big challenge which the Swiss Post project posed was related to the business practice of tech-scouting. The Swiss Post team identified that nascent technologies were offering the potential to revolutionize their industry, and needed a way to ensure that they would be at the front of the line if the opportunity to use them appeared. Luckily Qmarkets was able to integrate a module of their Q-scout product to transfer scouting ideas into an internal Swiss Post workflow platform called Swiss Post network. This integration allowed the whole audience of the existing Q-max Postidea platform, to contribute to scouting initiatives.
From strong to stronger
Now in 2016, Swiss Post and Qmarkets continue to work together closely to develop and deliver new innovations, and in March this work was recognized when Lorenz Wyss, the Head of Ideation at Swiss Post, received the annual international award for idea management at the “Zentrum Ideen- und Innovationsmanagement” awards ceremony in Berlin.
Also, the Qmarkets team was joined personally by Lorenz at the chief innovation officer summit in London. This event gave Lorenz the opportunity to share his team’s experiences working with Qmarkets and their software, through a 30 minute speaking session entitled “Chocolate, clocks, and the postal service: Disrupting stereotypes”. This event also gave Qmarkets the opportunity to share the story of their Swiss Post project through a brand new case study document, which they distributed at the event. Now Qmarkets is giving you the opportunity to discover this success story by making it available online. Just fill out your details below to receive your free copy of this document, and learn how to maximize the benefit of your innovation management project today.