It is rumored a 19th Century French politician said, “There go my people, I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.” A less than dubious comment that could be attributed to a project manager as well as a politician.
When a custom injection molder has both a mold shop and injection molding operations under one roof, they have to realize they have two distinctly different animals. The mold side is geared at making something once. The molding side is geared at making an item repetitively. Management of all irks like to follow the PDCA mantra, Plan, Do, Check, Act. That means they have the innate desire to plan a project, track the project and react to the events before them as they unfold. You need to approach planning and managing a mold project with an ROI attitude.
In mold design and build projects, timelines are often short, 3 weeks to 10 weeks, and work progresses quickly. The “tracking” of such a project, needs to accommodate that speed. More importantly not inhibit that speed. It also has to avoid unnecessary cost burden. If, over the course of the build, you spend even 20 hours setting up and monitoring a project, that labor approaches a significant adder to the overhead. Such an adder factors into the costing and is recouped in the sale price. You are then straddled with determining if the adder keeps you cost competitive and the relative advantage, if any, of the added burden.
Look at the goal of tracking project progress and the means of accomplishing that goal. Rather than implement additional tracking tools, look at what you already have. If you have a means of tracking cost, you have a means of tracking progress. You just need to look at the numbers as hourly rather than dollars. A good ERP system supplemented with a good tool shop manager can save you that added tracking cost. You end up with a happier customer, all while proving how less is more.
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