Operational Excellence: Are CMs Ready to Embrace Project Management?
Project management is a fundamental function in many industries. Large-scale projects require a team of project managers, functional leaders, and subject-matter experts to deliver the project on schedule, within budget, and within the scope of the project requirements. In manufacturing, many projects are launched via the umbrella of Six Sigma, Kaizen, 5s, and other continuous improvement programs. However, many contract manufacturing organizations are hesitant to employ project managers or apply project management methodologies across the business due to the perception of high overhead costs and administrative burdens that project management could bring to the operations.
This column introduces a recommended approach to project management in a contract manufacturing environment. Project management does not have to be complex, nor costly; on the contrary, project management can help create a culture of operational efficiency, enhanced customer engagement, and employee self-accountability and enable data-driven decision-making.
Operational Challenges in Manufacturing
Project management can address operational challenges manufacturing companies face. Here are 14 operational challenges that were identified by a recent survey:
- Improving internal production processes
- Strengthening customer relationships
- Finding enough people with the right skills and talent
- Increasing labor productivity
- Increasing demand responsiveness
- Maximizing capacity and asset utilization
- Meeting customer demands for product customization
- Achieving annual cost reductions
- Improving product and service quality
- Responding to customer requests for quotes and proposals
- Improving labor flexibility
- Enhancing supply chain collaboration
- Optimizing supply chain performance
- Faster and more frequent new product releases and launches
These challenges resonate with every manufacturing organization. Project management provides the methodology to make improvements to successfully meet objectives presented by these challenges.
The Project Management Institute
Project management has matured over the last three decades into a well-recognized function embraced by many organizations. The Project Management Institute, a global nonprofit professional organization for project management, provides a wealth of information about project management. In addition, there are many books, associations, and consulting organizations that provide expert knowledge on project management.