Project teams are often tasked with minimizing the dollars going out the door by keeping an eye on project spending. Many of the initiatives they plan and execute are intended to save the company money in the long run. Of course, while the project is in progress and tasks are being completed, the team is also responsible for sticking to the approved budget and keeping expenditures low wherever they can.
Saving money is good, of course, but consider situations where spending money may be a better decision for your project.
Project teams rely on a wide range of experts. Given the high fees some of them command, it’s natural to see if there’s a way to get the necessary support cheaper somewhere else. Be mindful of falling into this trap. Whether it’s someone who has experience dealing with regulatory agencies or a contractor who’s licensed to install a specific type of equipment, you want to be sure you get what you need. It could become a costly nightmare if your decision to hire a less-expensive consultant results in a diminished ability to carry out the necessary work.
Packaging and Shipping
Though packaging and shipping aren’t usually project priorities, there are times when it might be prudent to spend some money on them if it means you can avoid problems down the road. When purchasing delicate instrumentation, for example, you should inquire about packaging upgrades that would help these items reach their destination in pristine condition. The supplier will probably provide a replacement if something happens in transit, but you need to decide if your project can accommodate that kind of delay. If you’re at all worried about timing, paying a premium for packaging could prove to be a wise move.
Manufacturers also sometimes offer free shipping as an incentive. It’s a great way to keep costs low, but ask a few questions before you jump on that freebie. Does a hard deadline mean that free shipping is too slow? Would an oversized piece of equipment benefit from something larger than a standard delivery truck? Consider your transportation needs carefully instead of automatically selecting the least expensive option.
The standard warranty is sufficient for most equipment, but before you sign off you should think about repair and replacement expenditures that could erode your project’s intended cost savings. If moving a large machine after it’s installed would require significant work, then spending a little more to get a warranty that includes onsite maintenance and repairs could save you money over time. The same is true for items that are difficult or costly to ship, or where the downtime incurred during a return to the factory would cause the company problems.
Independent of specific project costs, the right technologies can give your group a huge productivity boost. Mobile devices are important to keep communications humming and data management systems help ensure that critical project information is retained and available for review. Knowing that most software and other technology purchases will provide the business with benefits through multiple projects, the best approach is to take that longevity into account as you weigh the cost of each system.
Though few technologies can be considered truly “future proof,” it’s still a good idea to decide how the least costly option would look in terms of dollars over the next several years. You need a clear understanding of where the system will deliver value, since an inexpensive solution could consume more money in the future, either because it’s too bare bones to be truly effective or because it requires expensive upgrades to remain viable as the team’s needs and capabilities change.