Each week, I would print out page after page of upcoming jobs to be punched out on our presses. I would have to manually prioritize them and then check on staffing and stock availability to make sure we had the labor and materials ready for each job.
Managing these jobs largely happened in notes on those sheets of paper and in my head. It was never perfect. We missed starting jobs on time. We thought we could start on projects and discovered there was no raw material.
We used a spreadsheet to manage our work. And while it worked we could have benefitted from something better. We could have used a project management software.
When leading a team to complete a project, it is important to be able to see all the constraints that have an influence on achieving your goal and optimize the allocation of the necessary inputs.
Project management has become a very formalized business management discipline. And as it has become more formalized, it has allowed developers to create software to help manage the process.
Project management software helps plan, organize, and manage resources, generate estimates, and execute plans.
The 2017 study, Project Feasibility: Tools for Uncovering Points of Vulnerability by Mesly, Olivier discusses how the success of a job depends on how well a shop can execute four key elements of a project. These elements are referred to as the four Ps.
Each of these have an impact on the success of completing any job. And a project management software must support fabrication teams when working on a job.
For each project you complete it is important that you make a plan. Planning and forecasting activities would be the focus when considering this aspect of the project.
Each project has a workflow. Your individual workshop will have an approach to all the activities you complete and how you manage a project.
There are two main components related to people in project management. These are allocating people to work on a project and the dynamic of collaboration and communication.
Each project needs to be approved and verified by various people in roles of power. Lines of authority, decision-makers, entities, and balanced against the policies for implementation.
Project Management Software
When the orders are stacking up and you need a system to organize it. Where do you turn? You need a professional job management system to manage your production line. Something that can create job sheets and share updates with customers in real time as your jobs move through your pipeline.
Project management software should be able to share your project documentation. It will help you create, send, and share branded job sheets and work orders. When used properly a project management system can help you keep all your job specifications, coatings to be applied, photos, and progress within one central system. The system can help you share documentation with your customers or keep it private. Newer more modern systems will enable you to embed live chat and give customer support where it’s most needed—right in the system.
A project management software should be able to update all your team members and your customers. It should send updates and progress automatically to all the job participants as their job proceeds using a built-in automation system. When you need to approve projects, let clients know when a project is in-production, or has been completed the system will update all the parties involved. Cloud-based systems will also ease sharing files, progress, and progress photos instantaneously. The system will also keep track of expenses, costs, customer inventory, and serial numbers.
Project management software also helps you organize your production and workshop. You’ll get a clear picture of what jobs are in hand and how many jobs are in the queue. You’ll have an overall view of all the related components of a project: stored photos, CAD designs, files on job sheets, project notes, and comments. The system will allow you to see how long jobs are taking or tag jobs that are urgent. Information should transfer from one part of the system to others and enable functions such as easily converting job sheets into shipping notes or invoices.
In addition to managing your project, new cloud-based systems will include easy to use marketing tools to help you keep your company at the top of your customers inbox.
These systems will automate your email marketing with transactional emails that trigger when you, your team, or your customer take an action. They can send targeted drip emails based on ticket status in your workflow. Or they may be able to send promotional emails and notifications at the right time to win more sales or make important announcements.
Integrated project management software will help you create unlimited forms and easily embed them on your website. They can even monitor and take action on a high volume of leads in real-time.
You’ll be able to schedule a series of emails that trigger when a customer takes a specific action or completes a scheduled event. The system will enable you to schedule emails to be delivered at intervals to create a compelling story for your customers.
Most systems should also enable you to send one-off email special announcements to groups of prospects or customers based on status or send coupon offers and notify customers of special announcements.
If you are looking for project management software to help run your fab shop, powder coating workshop, or repair business; contact one of our experts to see how we can help.