Seidenader develops and builds inspection machines for pharmaceutical manufacturers. It also provides customers with Track&Trace Solutions for reliable traceability of their products and for protection against counterfeiting. For the control and monitoring of complex manufacturing and packaging lines, Seidenader develops automation and IT solutions.
Economic necessities and statutory requirements are causing pharmaceutical companies worldwide to get to grips with product piracy, product losses, and the so-called gray market. They are concentrating on consistent identification and traceability of their products through integration of Track&Trace solutions into their existing and new packaging lines. Unambiguous identification happens in three stages:
Seidenader operates in this pharmaceutical industry and is subject to the strict regulations with regards to its own processes. It needs to provide full transparency and traceability. Managing 80 projects per year, many customized for particular clients, project engineers would capture complicated user and development requirements, up to 400-500 per project, into Excel spreadsheets. Project engineers might use different terms to describe requirements or go to varying levels of detail and with no common knowledge base available it was hard to produce project documentation to a consistently high level.
Testing is essential in the product lifecycle and this needed improving too. Test cases were documented in Word files with no link to requirements. The overall process was error prone, manual, and very labor-intensive. With work load increasing every year, Christian Frenz, Product Manager of the Track&Trace Business Unit at Seidenader, knew things needed to change: “Our clients depend on us to deliver against tight deadlines with the absolute minimum downtime to their environment. In order to remain a trusted partner we needed to improve our documentation, traceability, and efficiency.”
Seidenader already deployed Micro Focus StarTeam to manage all its software versions, change management, and release notes related to this. The benefits of using StarTeam in part of the process were clear to Mr Frenz: “Our product release management was fully traceable and StarTeam gave us a central documentation repository to track all changes through product development and delivery. When we discovered that Micro Focus Caliber and Silk Central could help us with our other issues, and also integrate seamlessly with each other, our decision was soon made.”
Micro Focus Professional Services was closely involved in the implementation and added some real value, according to Mr Frenz: “Our Professional Services contacts helped us with the technology and introducing best practice processes to prepare us for expected growth.”
Caliber and Silk Central were implemented and all user and development requirements are now put into a standard language in Caliber, based on a common knowledge base. Silk Central automatically generates test cases for them. Based on the requirements knowledge base, it is much easier for Project Engineers to create a gap analysis for customer requests and Caliber produces a traceability matrix so that the requirements can be transparently tracked through to completion. Silk Central is used for test case creation, as well as test planning, and execution. It also tracks issues which are captured as StarTeam tasks.
The common knowledge base acts as “the single source of truth” and helps to avoid misinterpretation of requirements. Product documentation is generated fast and reliably and is easily maintained. Testing has been streamlined in the product development lifecycle, and the duration of each test case is instantly clear, so exact deadlines can be committed to. The test procedure is entirely paperless and the integration between Silk Central and StarTeam means supporting documentation on the tracked issues is generated automatically.
Mr Frenz concludes: “Using Caliber, Silk Central, and StarTeam, we have already noticed an increase in reuse of requirements and test cases which was not possible before. We are able to free up resources to cover our increasing work load and I estimate that we will be able to improve our efficiency by 40% within two years. In practice, this means that we can manage 110 projects with the same resources which is great news for us and our clients.”
When we discovered that Micro Focus Caliber and Silk Central could help us with our other issues, and also integrate seamlessly with each other, our decision was soon made.
Using Caliber, Silk Central, and StarTeam, we have already noticed an increase in reuse of requirements and test cases which was not possible before. We are able to free up resources to cover our increasing work load and I estimate that we will be able to improve our efficiency by 40% within two years.