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Project management in the supply chain – what could your role involve?

 MS MS

Published: 9th November 2020

If you want to successfully manage change within a business, then project management principles are vital. It is commonplace to find both improvement and strategic initiatives. This is particularly true when it comes to the supply chain function. Take a look at the activities that form a part of many organisations’ improvement programs; they might include:

  • The option to outsource key abilities such as manufacture or assembly
  • Moving over to a global supply chain rather than a local one
  • Rationalisation of suppliers
  • Arranging corporate deals
  • Programmes of cost reduction
  • Programmes of lead time reductions
  • Rationalisation of inventory
  • Deployment of technology

A complex co-ordination of resources is required for these activities in order to deliver an objective that is defined in a particular timescale. The appropriate skills and techniques, together with experience of the supply chain, are required for a successful outcome.

Unfortunately, when a business employs an individual with no project management certification, which happens all too often, they do not have the experience to deliver. It is this lacking experience together with the use of wrong methods and tools that can have an impact on schedule, costs and increase the risk of the project failing.

These are just some of the disciplines that project management offer that can be an advantage when working on the supply chain. Why not check which of the below skills you have while looking for your next role – you may be able to upskill to put yourself in a better position to be hired.

Planning and scheduling

Developing and maintaining delivery schedules that are accurate is one of the key factors of project management. This takes project resources and dependencies into account.

Risk Management

If you understand risk and have the correct risk management in place, not only can you prevent your cost from over running but also your schedule as well. In the case of many supply chain projects, you can also make sure that there is a continuation of supply.

Financial awareness and business case

It is important to develop the rationale associated with undertaking any project as well as making sure that costs are covered. If you make subjective guesses about initiatives in business this can result in the results for your finished project not being as expected. A sturdy business case will give you the options for carrying on when combined with a good understanding of the possible benefits.

Quality systems

One of those important project management skills is the ability to make sure that a project has quality systems built in that are needed for the supply chain process. If goods are not fit for purpose, then there is little point securing them even at low cost.

Responsibilities and roles

Responsibilities should be set out clearly, key personnel identified and linked to what items they are responsible for. This will allow an initiative to run smoothly.

Communication

We say this a lot, but communication is key and often overlooked, especially with inexperienced team members.

For successful supply chain initiatives project management is vital

Project management has the tools to provide a good base for any plan, but without someone to take it forward in an effective manner, it could be doomed to failure before it begins.

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