with Lois Boyd, Hertz Corp., Park Ridge, New Jersey, USA
One of the world's biggest rental-car brands, Hertz Corp. hired Lois Boyd last November to drive a company-wide project and program management initiative. With offices in 145 countries, Hertz wants to become more efficient and cost-effective but at the same time, provide a better value to its customers. Ms. Boyd, senior vice president, process improvement and project management, talks about how project management is changing Hertz—and helping it boost the bottom line.
How does Hertz apply project management principles throughout the company?
Program and project management is relatively new to Hertz. During 2007, we established project management offices in North America and Europe and made them responsible for guiding the entire organization through the design, implementation, discipline, execution and continuous improvement of the project management processes. We've also enlisted consultants to help us create a structure for projects. Our teams understand what it means to define a true scope of work and what the issues are in the business regimen of a project. Through all of this, we are building a core skill set of project management throughout the organization, which will continue to grow and develop with increasing education, advanced tool deployment and refined measurement processes.
How have employees responded to the implementation of project management?
It's been really exciting to watch the employees embrace it from within. We're helping lay the groundwork for our people to make the company a better place.
What projects have been rolled out using project management principles?
We have hundreds of projects under way right now using project management principles across all disciplines of the company, from very small efforts to large projects.
One project focused on optimization of the bus service used by customers at Heathrow Airport in London, England. Using project management principles, the bus drivers who had been on that route for years defined the project goals and outcomes, did the analytics, established simple milestones, and performed measurements of the scope, timing, financials and customer satisfaction.
The project was very successful—it came in on time, it beat the financial expectations, and we saw significant improvements through the customer-satisfaction scores. That was an early kernel of success, and success breeds success.
Do you think part of project management is communicating those successes?
Absolutely. Successful implementation of project management principles is not just about the work, it's about the reward and acknowledgement of the work and the change coming from within.
We use our intranet to advertise successful projects and to share best practices. We also encourage senior management to view firsthand the projects as they are implemented, and we celebrate successes with the teams that accomplish them.
How is project management helping Hertz achieve its strategic objectives?
We are not just rebuilding the processes of the company, we are delivering on long-term strategies, and project management is integral to that. It's not just about a specific project or program, it is a new way of life.
How much will the implementation of project management impact the company's bottom line?
A lot. We are improving efficiencies, we are eliminating excess and redundant work, and we are implementing greater cost-effectiveness worldwide, and it's all coming through the project management structure.
Project management is changing the face of Hertz. It's the toolbox the company has never had before, and it's changing who we are. PM
JUNE 2008 PM NETWORK