There’s an adage that states that a goal not written down is a wish. Interestingly, writing down goals is not going to get any task accomplished. Industrial organizations are living entities, just like the people that work within them. With the various activities that are taking place in the competitive space as clearly outlined by Michael Porter, sometimes it feels like projects, and systems optimization activities can be a far fetched idea that individuals in an organization wish they could do, but don’t seem to have the time to do.
Strategic leadership therefore, is critical to ensuring that the relevant activities that will carry an organization forward to the next phases of its evolution, are actually done. Embedded in the top management to the operational forces, should be the mandate for an organization to continuously improve its performance.
In any organization that is practicing Operational Excellence, there will be initiatives such as kaizens or even larger more detailed events such as focus plants that are in place to identify what the organization needs to do in order to move itself forward. Typically, during a kaizen, the team will undergo a series of both qualitative activities, and quantitative activities that will identify business performance opportunities for the organization at hand.
Most of the time, the persons involved in a kaizen have additional operations activities, and after the thrill of discovering that there are money saving opportunities for an organization to tap into, the day to day activities can often hinder the ability of these visions to actually manifest. This is where the dedication of a continuous improvement project manager will come into play.
Industrial Project Management
If your organization is large enough, a dedicated Capex Team will be the best guardians of your continuous improvement activities. Since the individuals who often identify the opportunities won’t always have the space in their work schedule to execute the relevant tasks, having someone who will be able to focus on the future visions will be key.
Industrial project management should be a key strategic priority of an organization. With a project manager in place, the organization can ensure that the current condition is being taken care of, but that the organization is growing towards a future vision. Project Management as a field is one that is evolving, and at the baseline, just having a system in place that will ensure that projects are started, completed and monitored will be all that an organization will need.
You don’t necessarily need the latest systems, you just need an operational system that functions. In any realm, you’ll soon discover that an imperfectly done something is better than a dream. You’ll at least have something to work with and propel the organization forward.
Within an organization, project management for an industrial organization will be able to thrive off the ability of the project team to work well with the traditional organization. The two just need to understand each other, and enable the prioritization of a goal in order to achieve target objectives.
Industrial projects can’t all be accomplished at once. From the kaizen activities that were accomplished by the operational team, the savings from the identified action items will be able to be determined. Some kaizen findings will then be able to be siloed into different segments. These segments include safety, quality and then profits. In the industrial realm, safety is always first, so tackle the items pertaining to safety with the utmost priority. Many plants have had to pay dearly because their personnel were in unsafe conditions, so tackling this first…will ensure that the additional desirables are then met.
With a dedicated project manager, the Capex Team will be able to fuse the organizational silos and work for a common goal. Those members of production, marketing, finance etc, will be able to align to achieve objectives that will ensure improved operational excellence.
Lean as a system has a series of techniques that are helpful to facilitate long term project management. Managing emerging research projects or even current commissioning projects will be seamless with the appropriate systems. Matrix organization at its best, is achieved with such efforts. The project manager will act as an intermediary in the process, and have the birds eye view of a system as they navigate the project execution.
At best, it will help the organization to have a portfolio manager that oversees all the projects, with a team of project managers that handle department projects.
With ideal project management techniques, organizations have reaped significant rewards. Whilst it’s not uncommon for engineers to manage projects, it can to some extent impact their ability to focus on systems optimizations. Ensuring that a team of persons dedicated to project management is onhand, the company will be well on its way to ensuring that the dreams…actually unfold into actionable plans.