What would it be like if one day we woke up and there was nothing for us to do or nothing for us to anticipate? How annoying is it that thought let alone if the situation comes to reality? Fortunately, that is not and never the case.
The world around us is continuously evolving from both the small and significant innovations that are happening in every corner of the world. There is always some part of the world that is continually working, thinking, planning, creating something new or redefining some of the old creations. This is what makes us tick and look forward to a better tomorrow. For this same reason, subjects like Project Manufacturing are gaining a lot of attention these days.
What is Project Manufacturing?
Project manufacturing is a large-scale industrial operation process that is mainly carried out to design and produce big, highly specialized, and costly products such as ships, aircraft, submarines, defense systems, customized consumer products such as automobiles, homes, and others.
However, one product manufacturing process is significantly different from the other, as every process is highly unique. Nevertheless, project manufacturing processes are quite flexible regarding operations, mainly because every product that each manufacturing project manufactures is substantially different from the other. Thus, with large project sizes of every project, the high expenses associated with each project, and the high degree of customization that is applied to each project, makes project manufacturing relatively a long duration process for each project to attain its completion phase.
Highlighting Features of Project Manufacturing
- It produces similar products in large numbers but in a unique manner. For instance, vehicle manufacturers produce similar automobile parts in larger quantities but ensuring that it all fits different vehicle requirements in some way or the other.
- It exploits the principle of using “common manufacturing requirements” to increase the efficiency rate. For instance, if two or more customized projects require the same manufacturing components, then these are produced at the same time but in larger quantities to save time and resources.
- It allows for customizations to produce unique combinations of products and services. For instance, home manufacturers will go out of business if they construct the same models of houses for all its clients. Therefore, they need to ensure that modifications are made, and customizations are accommodated as per client preference.
- Unique requirements are treated as a separate project to improve overall efficiency. For instance, manufacturing ships for defense purposes and those for cruise purposes need to be considered as two different projects rather than as one single project, as both these have different requirements.
Major Problems that Project Manufacturing Faces
No doubt, it has been concluded that Project Manufacturing is indeed a large-scale operation and like most large-scale projects, Project Manufacturing too suffers from its share of problems. Of the many issues out there, here is a look at the three major issues that most project manufacturing projects face during its project completion.
- Lack of Project Ownership & Micromanagement: The fundamental problem that most large-scale projects face is that the plan lacks proper control systems as it progresses forward, thereby going through a series of handlers who adopt micromanagement practices, which bring about a negative working environment. This in turn also results in laborers who steer away from responsibilities, and as a result, projects lose momentum through its course.
- Lack of Information: Information is knowledge. Hence, there must a proper flow of information through every channel. For instance, incomplete/inadequate/inaccurate information will result in poor project delivery. Some projects fail because the production team is not provided with adequate information and as a result, production does not meet the intended Similarly, information passed on to the customer is also important, without which product handling and usage fail.
- Material Mismanagement: Another major problem that most big manufacturers face is the problems associated with material handling and storing. While some projects experience material shortages, others face material surplus issues, both of which create additional problems. For instance, material shortages will lead to production halts and thus result in loss of revenue. On the other hand, an excessive stock is primarily viewed as locked capital, which again if not appropriately managed or diverted to other needy operations will result in reduced profits for the Company.
Solutions to Conquer the Three P’s
Problems are never-ending in any field and needless to say, a new project throws more issues than you anticipate or can handle. It is easy to list out problems, but true talent surfaces only when the root cause of the problem is identified, and the best solution to the problem is devised in the most cost-effective and least time-consuming manner. Thus, here are the best solutions that may be employed to the above the three problem statements.
- Proper Ownership: All projects, irrespective of its size and investment, must ensure appropriate management right from the start to delivery. This is crucial to provide quality, deadlines, and budgets are met within the set parameters. For this, every project must necessarily have a Project Lead/Manager who will take full ownership of the project and whose primary function is to oversee the different stages of project transformation.
- Proper flow of information: Information must be well documented and passed on to the next level to ensure project management or product usage occurs at its best. Projects should never kickstart with incomplete information such as lack of drawings or insufficient labor. It is better to put such plans on hold rather than wasting money and resources. Hence, it is vital that information is passed on smoothly from project initiation to delivery and ultimately usage.
- Efficient Material Management: Companies must plan their material requirements. For this, many useful industrial practices such as the Just-in-Time (JIT) approach, Six Sigma practices, zero waste systems, or the Kanban systems can be applied in their manufacturing processes, especially while producing standard items and procuring common raw materials.
Thus, in short, Project Manufacturing can be seen as an amalgamation of the best Industrial Manufacturing processes and the most effective Project Management systems at a standard level sharing common interests of ensuring financial gains for the company as a whole.