A company used two separate manufacturing facilities to build the same product line. Company customers viewed these facilities almost as separate businesses, thus complicating the company’s attempts to establish a cohesive product identity. The company, in turn, recognized that two plants meant unnecessary duplication of staff, office, and equipment resources. As a result, the company decided to consolidate the facilities.
The process of transitioning facility activities was extremely complex. Challenges included management of tight deadlines, possible disruption of work activities, employee fears about employment stability, the need to build inventory buffers, costs associated with delays, possible issues with product line quality, and weather conditions (the transition occurred in a tidal area during hurricane season). Geographical issues further complicated the transition, as the facilities were located in different countries.
We developed a project management plan that enabled the company to meet an aggressive end-of-year transition timeline while ensuring the continuity of manufacturing operations. We began by collaborating closely with company management to create a high-level plan, associated duration estimates with each element of that plan, and sequenced these elements in order to provide a roadmap for project completion.
Moreover, PMAlliance worked with the company to refine project objectives, instituted a top-down approach to the ambitious transition schedule, and assembled teams to create a detailed baseline plan. Our Web Update tool also enabled continual monitoring and update of the project by all team members.
PMAlliance’s plan minimized rework and reinforced the stability and accuracy of the transition schedule. For example, the company had initially hoped to shift all product lines to one facility by year’s end, but the project plan proved that this strategy was not feasible. As a result, the company transitioned high-volume product lines first, while, at the same time, building additional inventory buffer for the lower-volume product lines.
Today, the company is realizing numerous benefits as a result of streamlining the two facilities, including improved resource use, elimination of a lease payment, reduced customer costs, and reinforcement of a unified company identity in the minds of customers. Our project management plan ensured that the transition occurred seamlessly, and the company’s customers were extremely pleased with the result. Furthermore, the company avoided $840,000 in lease costs that would have been incurred if the company hadn’t met its transition deadline.
PMAlliance has built a long-standing relationship with the company due to our consistent ability to implement processes that improve planning and scheduling, as well as reduce costs. The company has asked us to institutionalize our Duration-Driven® methodology companywide. Accordingly, we will develop a project management office for the company, where we will assist in the hiring of internal project managers; train, mentor, and certify project managers in advanced project management techniques; and establish procedures for project planning and control.