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Editor’s Pick: Manage Processes in the Cloud

By Anthony J. Lockwood

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

Kenesto is a cloud-based system that allows users in all departments of a manufacturing enterprise to create processes and manage work easily. R&D has struggled for years to gain enterprise-wide acceptance of engineering-specific process systems like product lifecycle management (PLM). But that really hasn’t worked for a variety of reasons. Kenesto seems to offer a new alternative to PLM. And I think people will embrace it. Here’s why.

The first thing Kenesto seems to do right is that it harnesses the concepts used by the granddaddy and least intimidating of all process management applications — e-mail. Kenesto empowers you to use e-mail to corral participants into your process plan, and it tracks everything. Second, whether you are creating processes, managing a workflow, or reporting in on your progress, Kenesto has a non-cluttered, non-threatening user interface that seems to infer what you’re doing. Third, Kenesto recognizes that many processes start as outline and evolve over time. Consequently, it offers no hassles to building new process steps, dumping old or dumb ones, whatever. Its processes are malleable — ad hoc, if you prefer — like the way humans work. They are not set in immutable code nor do they fight changes as so many applications can do.

What this all means is that you go to your Kenesto dashboard and create a process delegating duties to people inside as well as outside your company — say, clients, marketing, sales, suppliers, and machining. You send individuals and groups their marching orders. You can attach BOMs, CAD files, office docs, JPEGs, etc. You set deadlines, require signatures, and create work review levels. Kenesto automatically builds a process chart with a synopsis of who has what task and its status. It issues an e-mail to do-bees with their assignments and a link to the process activity report page. They then do their work.

Kenesto reminds people to report in when a deadline is near or passed. They do not have to join Kenesto as a user to report in. They access Kenesto, maybe add documents like some outfit’s job bid, scribble a message to you, and they’re done. You’re notified, and your process chart updates. I should have mentioned earlier that you begin building a process using one of Kenesto’s templates. If you liked the process you created, you can save it as a template for later. Kenesto helps you categorize processes from the start with fields for things like new features and ECOs.

Brilliantly simple. You have an audit trail and no more chaos trying to use e-mail to orchestrate a process. People outside of engineering are no longer frustrated by a rigid data-centric process system that does not think like they do. There’s no IT overhead and no client apps. Pricing — which is based on processes initiated per month — seems reasonable, making Kenesto attractive to small companies, start-ups, and any outfit just wanting to get a handle on processes right away without fuss.

I’ve been itching to learn more about Kenesto since I first heard of it last winter. It’s nifty and a piece of cake to use. I enjoyed playing with it. There’s much more to learn about Kenesto from today’s Pick of the Week write-up and the links you’ll find there. Make sure to hit the video link.

 

Thanks, pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

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About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Desktop Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@deskeng.com.
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