Why it needs attention: Project implementation is the process by which operational changes are made, including those involving new equipment, facility designs, or process improvements. The primary activities that need to be managed are the overall project control, the bidding process, equipment and process installation, and transition planning. Management of a proposed project’s implementation is a crucial step in the ultimate success of the project. Without proper implementation, it becomes increasingly unlikely that the proposed changes in an operation will achieve the results that were projected. Allocating responsibility for the implementation to multiple personnel with competing resources does not typically lead to positive results. A single source of project management must be assigned and given the appropriate time and resources, which can often be considerable, to lead the project to successful implementation.
What we can do: Jack Kuchta LLC can provided project management services for clients implementing proposed designs, enabling us to fully service their needs from the recognition of the operational problem through its solution. Our services can augment internal client resources in order to allow internal staff to continue running the operation while participating in the implementation process at an appropriate level. While internal staff may only manage one or two projects of that scope in their entire career, our personnel can manage these types of projects many times in a single year. Our experience allows us to mentor internal resources while overseeing the project at whatever level the client deems necessary.
The Process: The first step in a project implementation is to assign a project manager (PM). If a company staff member is to be used primarily for the project management, his or her duties must be sufficiently relieved in order to dedicate time to managing the implementation process. The more complex the implementation is, the more time must be dedicated to managing the process. Unfortunately, the most appropriate PM is usually the staff member who can least be spared from the day-to-day operation, since their knowledge of the project and process is most crucial in the implementation. Jack Kuchta LLC typically provides assistance in in cases where no one in the operation can be spared. We will utilize a primary internal person as our contact, but We will handle the majority of coordination between vendors and other project specific implementation duties. We will also determine the time and internal resources required and report that information through our primary contact.
The project manager will organize weekly meetings among all members of the project team, both internal and external, where a detailed schedule (typically a Gantt chart) is used to chart the progress of each individual implementation process step, and individuals and/or teams are assigned responsibilities for future steps that need to be performed. Notes taken at these meetings will be distributed to all team members, including those who may not have been present, and steps on the critical path will be highlighted for immediate attention of those responsible. This creates accountability and ownership of the project implementation among all the team members, whether they are vendors, employees, or consultants. The PM will spend the majority of his or her time resolving scheduling issues, revising the sequencing of activities, and communicating with everyone involved.
The project manager is typically charged with overseeing the bidding process for any new equipment required in the implementation. This process includes the following:
- Preparation of bid specifications
- Specifications for the required equipment or services must be developed in a form that allows the vendors to respond with their best solution and price. We typically create bid specifications that are performance-based, rather than product-based, which opens the process to multiple vendors whose solutions can meet the required functionality. This increases competition for the bid and ensures that the best solution will be available, rather than a specification that ties the solution to a specific vendor or product.
- Development of a qualified vendor list
- Our clients typically have relationships with specific vendors, but our long history of industry experience allows us to bring other qualified vendors into the bid process to increase competition and create the best solution. We are a completely independent consulting firm and do not accept commissions or any other inducements from vendors to either make the bid list or win the bidding on a process. We will only assist the client in choosing the best solution from a qualified vendor source.
- Submission of the specifications and responses to vendor questions
- Despite every effort to provide well-defined specifications, there are often questions asked by vendors about the processes to be implemented. The project manager is tasked with answering these questions satisfactorily and co-coordinating with other bidding vendors to make sure they all have the same information.
- Vendor response evaluation and selection
- Responses should be tabulated and evaluated both quantitatively and qualitatively
- The client, the project manager and the design team should review the responses and evaluations
- If appropriate the list can be shortened to two to three bidders for interviews or presentations prior to the final selection decision
Project management implementation services also typically include transition planning to appropriately prepare for the transition from current processes to a future state, particularly if the change involves retrofitting or re-using existing equipment. This is usually reflected in the project management schedule and will frequently involve many departments in the company outside of the warehouse, from IT to customer service to upper management. The bid specifications will often have to be taken into account in the transition plan in order to obtain accurate responses and minimize the possibility of change orders during implementation. As the project proceeds, it is important to review and update the transition plan as more details become known and as conditions change. The project manager has the ultimate responsibility to see that this happens.
Once the project installation begins, the PM is responsible for verifying installation against specifications and overseeing the successful installation of the various processes with respect to the schedule. In addition, the PM will be coordinating the testing protocols developed with the vendors and users. There will be pre-startup unit testing and total system start up testing and ramp-up. The project manager will stay involved managing the punch list until the users accept the new operation.
Conclusion: The role of the project manager has to be structured to meet the needs of the specific project, the company resources, and the amount and level of management required to keep the project on schedule. The use of Jack Kuchta LLC resources can range from participating in the transition plan development to overseeing scheduling and vendor coordination during weekly meetings to being on-site full time to manage the installation of equipment, control the movement of inventory, and work with contractors. We have extensive experience in multiple levels of project implementation support and work with our clients to tailor our services to the specific needs of their project.
If you would like more information on how Jack Kuchta LLC can help you with your distribution network design or any of our range of services, please do not hesitate to call 201-579-8822 or email us at contactus@JackKuchta.com