To enhance the efficiency of its project and portfolio management, Oerlikon used Smartsheet to implement new workflows. The change resulted in better project prioritisation, faster reporting, and smarter planning.



Organization Size

Enterprise (10,000+)


Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)

Mandy Aeschlimann

All information around a project status and budget is consolidated from start to finish in Smartsheet. This gives us a comprehensive view and maximum transparency across all IT-based initiatives and projects globally.

Head of Global SAP Management & SAP IT Program Manager, Oerlikon IT Solutions

Mandy Aeschlimann

Oerlikon, a global technology group headquartered in Switzerland, provides world-leading coating technology for advanced industries such as automotive, medical, tooling, textile and aerospace. Its solutions include materials, coating equipment, coating services and the engineering of complete integrated polymer plants. The company employs more than 11,000 people to deliver its products and services in 37 countries.

In 2018, Oerlikon began to rapidly expand its customer portfolio. This created a need for better project prioritisation and management. Previously, project decisions were based on "who shouts the loudest". Oerlikon wanted to move to a transparent and objective process for evaluating projects based on their business value. The company then made incremental improvements to close these gaps, the first of which was a demand management process, which was introduced in late 2018. In 2019, Oerlikon's first Project Management Office (PMO) was established.

The project management transition overlapped with a lot of other key transformations in the company. The global SAP roll-out absorbed all IT and business capacity for projects, creating an internal struggle for resources. Frustration in business appeared, because people couldn’t get the IT support they needed or deserved.

Head of Global SAP Management & SAP IT Program Manager, Oerlikon IT Solutions

Mandy Aeschlimann

After establishing its Project Management Office (PMO), Oerlikon recognised the need for further improvements. "Our evolution led us to implement a comprehensive, global time tracking system for IT services and projects, enabling us to analyse real-time data on the duration of project-related activities. This system allows us to prioritise projects according to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), a critical component of Oerlikon's overall strategic plan," explains Mandy Aeschlimann, Head of Global SAP Management & SAP IT Program Manager at Oerlikon IT Solutions. The company worked with Agile Management Experts (AMX), one of Smartsheet's top-ranked partners in Europe, to implement the upgrade.

The new system was implemented using Smartsheet's Smart Grid feature, which integrates services and projects on a global scale. Oerlikon's requirement for a platform that could be customised and managed internally without the need for ongoing consultancy support was a driving factor in their choice. "The adaptable nature of Smartsheet was a major deciding factor for us. It gives us the autonomy to implement changes independently, which is invaluable for our operations," says Aeschlimann.

Better decision making and prioritising

To ensure better alignment with the company's strategy, IT and business projects were grouped under three pillars: organic growth, efficiency and people, and inorganic growth (mergers and acquisitions). This made it possible to prioritise projects based on data.

We used Smartsheet to build our new processes for project review, approvals, and prioritisation in a way that’s user-friendly and convenient for the teams. The standardised templates are the same for any project manager, so all requests can be unified and reviewed using similar criteria.

Head of IT Project & Portfolio Management, Oerlikon IT Solutions

Julia Gummert-Loellke

Projects go through a requirements process that is the same for everyone, regardless of where they come from. "We don't make exceptions, and the prioritisation can't be manipulated. It's based on KPIs that show how efficiently the project supports Oerlikon's strategy," says Gummert-Loellke.

Maximum transparency with real-time dashboards   

“We manage our reports via real-time dashboards in Smartsheet. That means we don’t need to sit down and prepare reports manually every month for presenting at our IT Steering Committee,” adds Aeschlimann This enables teams to focus on more added-value tasks.   

"All project status and budget information is consolidated in Smartsheet from start to finish. This gives us a comprehensive view and maximum transparency of all IT-based initiatives and projects worldwide," says Aeschlimann. As a result, each business unit knows where their projects stand in relation to the overall portfolio, while the executive team can track progress and spend in real time to inform their decisions. All the data collected also helps controllers make accurate budget estimates for the coming year.

The success of the project is celebrated by all stakeholders, including the technology partners. "We are pleased to have helped Oerlikon transform the way they manage their projects by increasing transparency, reshaping collaboration for the better, and providing all stakeholders with a single source of truth for any type of information," said Vlera Hetemi, Senior Solutions Consultant at AMX Germany GmbH. "The AMX team has worked side-by-side at Oerlikon's offices in Pfäffikon, Switzerland on several occasions to brainstorm, meet with various stakeholders and build the solutions together with Oerlikon's Smartsheet champions."

Photo Courtesy of Oerlikon

Templates to expand usability

As experienced Smartsheet users, Aeschlimann and Gummert-Loellke have been instrumental in maximising the benefits of the platform for others within the organisation. "We have standardised our projects using templates, which streamlines the management of our portfolio and simplifies the extraction of reports. When developing new solutions, we use consultants for their expertise. However, once someone has worked on a project with us, the process becomes second nature, enabling them to initiate projects in Smartsheet independently," explains Aeschlimann.

A template dashboard takes about half a day to set up, it’s very intuitive. All the elements are in Smartsheet already, you just need to add them. After that, the data gets populated just once and the projects are rolled out automatically. This process speeds up onboarding of people hired externally.

Head of Project- and Portfolio Managementunt & SAP IT Program Manager, Oerlikon IT Solutions

Julia Gummert-Löllke

By adopting Smartsheet, Oerlikon has not only streamlined its project and portfolio management, but also gained comprehensive visibility of its myriad projects. The company has also adopted a more collaborative and flexible way of managing projects. "Our approach requires a dynamic environment that encourages interaction and collaborative input. I believe Smartsheet has been instrumental in helping us cultivate just that," concludes Aeschlimann.