We’ll go the top actions required for you to execute your next industrial project, whether it be material handling related, storage equipment related, or perhaps software related. This top 10 list is in no particular order, but consider each point and start thinking of ways for you to implement it if you do not do it already.
1. Communicate your expectations effectively. Make sure each stakeholder has a well-thought out plan of communication, including their influence and communication frequency. A common understanding of your material handling, operations, or racking project must be understood by all especially during the executing phase.
2. Implement approved changes only when sign-off and thorough evaluation has been done. What are the cost, scope, and quality impacts with each change you’re implementing. Was the change requested through the proper channels? For example changing beam heights in a pushback system will have impact on the weight capacity, seismic calculations, and functionality. Ensure the change request is approved and accepted during execution.
3. Remove all roadblocks while activities are being completed. For example, make sure your staff are available and understand the commitment needed to attend forklift training on new equipment you expect to start running in 2 weeks. Without training, imagine the consequences. Roadblocks in this case may be the lack of overtime compensation if required, or lack of communication in describing the impact the new equipment will have, or perhaps a poor safety program that lacks emphasis on continuous improvement and training.
4. Hold effective meetings to identify or address issues, assess risks, and keep the project moving forward. Avoid ‘catch up’ meetings, or ‘reporting meetings’. Use these meetings (with a well laid out meeting plan) to address the above issues effectively. Solicit feedback. Lead, coach, and always look to improve the performance of your team to their benefit.
5. Keep a documented log of changes, progress, hurdles, and meetings. Make updates to the project plan as needed (either through your own company or your supplier). This is critical in our company, RACKsteel. As we are an equipment dealer and professional project management team, it’s vital we keep a documented and signed-off log to reflect the current information about the operational or material handling project during execution. This will ensure a continued agreement among all stakeholders associated with your organization and it’s partners.
6. Create a lessons learned document to make recommendations on further project progress or different ways to approach projects in the future. This is an ongoing process. What lessons will help in the execution phase, or other phases of upcoming projects?
7. When problems occur, which is likely even with all the planning that goes into it, stay focused on the end result. What is the business case again? What are we ultimately trying to achieve? Do the solutions to the problems actually reflect a solution, or are they simply addressing the symptoms. For example stop during the project to see where changes are coming from, and determine the root cause. This will help you in the execution phase of the material handling or operations project you’re responsible for.
8. Implement a rewards recognition program. Did your staff offer an unexpected acceptance of the WMS system you implemented? Have they taken extra steps to extend the longevity of your new loading dock levelers and seals? Perhaps your forklift operators are showing a far stronger interest in dock safety but ensuring every truck is restrained properly.
9. Facilitate conflict resolution to the best of your abilities and training. What type of issue log do you have available for staff to fill out when there is a conflict? Is the issue small, for example shift scheduling? Or perhaps there is a lack of safety by some members of staff or entire departments that contradict your warehouse policy. Or, perhaps certain members of staff are not taking responsibility for pallet racking damage throughout the facility. Look to improve the morale and confidence in your team, during the executing process, closing process, and beyond.
10. Assess the individual performance of your team, your suppliers team, management, and the equipment or result you’ve implemented. How does it perform? Does it meet requirements? Is everything in place for proper close out? How did the team execute the project overall? Is your management happy with the execution to date? If so, move on to close the project, which we’ll discuss in detail in a future blog post. Thanks for reading.