manufacturing project management

Project Management for the manufacturing Industry

With the rise of e-commerce companies like Etsy, Squarespace, and Shopify, there is a flourish of small-scale manufacturing businesses entering the space. Once, where creators had been held back by the overhead of developing a platform to sell their products, now there is empowerment from these services that enable creators to get their products into the hands of consumers all over the world. But regardless of whether or not a business leverages e-commerce to get off the ground, there are still a ton of intricacies and details to work through before a consumer can receive the products. In this article, we will try and help you define, understand and apply manufacturing project management techniques and knowledge!

What is manufacturing project management like?

Project management for the small-scale manufacturing industry can seem deceivingly simple. For small businesses, there are fewer levels of management to go through to get products produced and out the door, but even these need to be managed at some level. And for those businesses and entrepreneurs just starting out, it can be difficult to discern how to get started. The project management workflow serves as a good basis for work order and structure. It follows then that the first step is to define the project or endeavour, its scope, and any particular deadlines. Once the parameters and constraints have been set, you can start planning the work and putting together a project plan. This would include highlighting what materials are needed and deciding on a deployment strategy. The next step is the executing phase, which, in the context of the manufacturing business, would be when the product is actually manufactured. Throughout, you must be mindful of resources, materials, and any unexpected costs or risks that need to be mitigated or controlled. When production is done, deployment can take place, and then it’s a matter of closing out the project and watching the sales come in.

The nitty-gritty of this type of project management!

One crucial aspect of manufacturing is the management of inventory and resources; you have to be aware of what the market is demanding and how much you should be supplying. Project management directly addresses resource management as one of its main dimensions of expertise. Resources are any people, materials, equipment, knowledge, and time required for the project’s completion. Usually, resources are a limiting factor as companies do not have limitless amounts of time, money, or people. The most comprehensive way to address resource management is to draw up a resource allocation plan. Paired with a project schedule that includes any task dependencies, the resource plan will force you to assign resources to particular work tasks happening at certain points in the project. This allows you to pinpoint where you’re lacking resources or may face risks. A similar plan can be drawn up for inventory management. Dealing with unknowns is part of project management and manufacturing, but with comprehensive plans, you can start planning ahead for risks that might come up.

It’s pretty easy to work around the issues

As a small business in the manufacturing industry, you have to manage more than just inventory resources, though. Especially in more niche markets or for artisan-style goods, you will need to track your clients’ needs and requirements. Your client base might include requesters, manufacturers, institutions, and organizations, all of whom you need to manage with regards to their business needs and orders. Using manufacturing project management software like OneDesk allows you to keep all of this information in one place. Not only can you track contact information, but you can also build out your project schedule and figure out resourcing. Using OneDesk will help you develop a rhythm and flow to your manufacturing, which will help you grow your business and get your products to your customers on time and to order.

 

Photo Credit: Fish Crates / Bernard Spragg / CC BY

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