The design is approved. Release-to-manufacturing is the next step. But you’re wary – how can you be confident that manufacturing can really launch your product on time and within budget?
“You’re safest with the company that can show you its standard methodology for taking a project from the pre-sales stage to proposal, quotes, contract, design review, prototyping, sampling, tooling and production,” advises Kanan Alhassani, president, Integrated Management Associates, and project management instructor for Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Worcester, Mass.
“Project management requires discipline and a structured approach to common sense,” emphasizes Alhassani, who recently taught a two-day Project Management course at Mack Molding for 22 project team members from the sales, engineering, purchasing, quality and manufacturing departments. “While Mack Molding has worked side-by-side with customers for over 85 years to introduce new products to market, they realize new product introduction skills continually need to be honed, the edges sharpened. This is especially true in a business environment where staying within increasingly tighter budgets and doing more with less is the deafening mantra.”
Over the course of 16 hours, Mack team members used best practices, examples and real-world projects to tighten its project management template from initiation to closeout. Building a generic lifecycle that is consistent and repeatable…scoping out a project…gathering customer requirements…assessing risk…generating communications plans with various stakeholders…managing to a critical path in a time-to-market environment where end dates are of the essence…using resources efficiently…tracking, analyzing and managing change. “All of these aspects are fundamental to effective project management,” emphasizes Alhassani.
Mack’s overriding goal is to better align its product launch capabilities with its customers’ requirements, according to Jeff Somple, president of Mack Molding’s northern operations. “Partnering with the customer at the outset to accurately pinpoint the necessary requirements to launch the project right the first time has a domino effect with bottom line impact. The resulting deliverables to the customer include a more efficient requirement gathering stage, fewer engineering changes, improved product quality, heads-up planning that minimizes risk, and ultimately, improved time-to-market and cost of launch.”
To learn more about WPI’s Fundamentals of Project Management course, contact Sharon Deffely, director, WPI Continuing Education, firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Mack Molding’s approach to project management, contact Jeff Somple, email@example.com.