Project inventory management struggles
Today’s project management discussions across various industry forums, conferences, and discussions on project management are pivoted around technology, consulting, and services types of projects. Also, most of the PPM (Portfolio & Project Management) technology vendors have traditionally focused on project management solutions for software, services, and consulting based organizations and no wonder! The opportunities driven by the growth of these sectors were significant and relatively easy to design and deploy. The advent of agile-based projects saw some shifts in the way PPM software solutions were developed.
What about projects that involve material procurement and inventory management?
I am referring to projects undertaken by engineering, manufacturing, R&D, pharmaceutical, automotive enterprises that require project teams to procure and manage physical inventory. The project inventory could be specific raw materials or bill of materials popularly referred to as a BOM.
Engineering and manufacturing firms have to rely either on their ERP solutions or standalone software tools to for managing project procurement and project inventory management.
The most prominent drawback of ERP and standalone inventory management solutions is their inability to be comprehensively integrated with the project.
The challenges include item/product masters, item types such as raw material, finished goods, semi-finished good, bought-outs, job work, and others. Additionally, managing different types of BOMs – electrical BOM, mechanical BOM, and a consolidated BOM.
Having project teams manage project inventory separately from a project management solution is a significant put-off as it creates a plethora of non-value adding activities that may include the following aspects.
• Processes across multiple systems and applications.
• Frequent and consistent coordination between procurement, stores, and project teams
• Complex reporting of project procurement and inventory management
• Quality of data reported
The above issues have a significant impact on the project decision-making process apart from the wasted efforts of the team and the associated frustration.
How about attempting to integrate these standalone procurement and inventory management solutions so that critical data points are automatically pushed to the project management solutions? Well, with advancements in the software world, this is entirely possible, and many organizations could have such ‘bandaged workarounds’ in place.
The point here is not about ‘connecting’ applications, but a broader organizational canvas that professionals and business leaders need to focus.
We need to ensure the following aspects.
• Appropriate business processes for project management including procurement and inventory management are well defined
• Decision-making workflows are in-built across the entire spectrum of project management
• Alerts, notifications, and escalations are triggered proactively in a timely fashion to facilitate project management and organizational governance
Even if organizations wish to continue to use their ERP and standalone applications for procurement and inventory, they must look for solutions that comprehensively bridge them with project management. If not, firms would be entertaining organizational process inefficiencies which would impact decision making and finally – business irrelevance!
If you are a business entity that delivers projects including procurement and inventory, you would be keen to explore technological options for connecting the dots. If yes, your search ends here!
TouchBase is designed to be a comprehensive PPM solution that integrates amongst other aspects, project management with procurement and inventory management through a powerful combination of interconnecting business processes, workflows, alerts, and notifications for better governance, and mobility through its contemporary app!
Take a look at TouchBase®. You will be glad you did!