One of the business outcomes that manufacturers want to achieve with Industry 4.0 projects is repeatability. Repeatability is about creating solutions that can be reliably and efficiently deployed multiple times. This goal of repeatability is also important in the delivery of Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing projects.
In project management, this can be referred to as the economies of repetition. The economies of repetition involve creating structures and processes that make it possible to execute projects to a consistent minimum standard, with that standard constantly being enhanced and improved.
At SL Controls, we deliver economies of repetition in Industry 4.0 projects through TOTALproject.
What is TOTALproject?
TOTALproject defines our internal project management structure. It features a set of tools and templates, which we call the SL Controls project management Toolbox. TOTALproject is managed, improved, and updated by the SL Controls Project Management Office (PMO), and everything is documented in a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).
The tools and templates in TOTALproject are based on the Project Management Institute’s framework, so we are not redesigning the wheel. The goal of TOTALproject is to adapt tried and tested principles to our organization and the delivery of projects specifically focused on our areas of expertise.
Project Management Toolbox
The SL Controls project management Toolbox includes governance structures and templates that our project managers and PMO use to ensure clear authority and accountability. The governance structures also ensure outputs and outcomes are clearly defined and controlled within each project and the PMO more generally.
Our project management Toolbox also ensures that lessons learned at the end of each project are communicated to all project managers and the wider SL Controls team. We have clearly defined processes to facilitate this sharing of knowledge to continuously raise standards.
We also have an ongoing focus on the development of our staff, providing training and professional development opportunities to increase the project management skills in the organization. This includes helping our staff achieve PMP certification to become Project Management Professionals.
Benefits of Our Approach to Project Management
There are multiple benefits that come from our approach to project management at SL Controls. This includes company benefits as it ensures projects run more efficiently and cost-effectively. There are benefits to our employees, too, especially those who want to pursue a career path into project management.
The main benefits are for our customers, i.e., through the economies of repeatability. What does this mean in practice? There are three main points:
- Consistency in project delivery – TOTALproject and the project management structures we have put in place bring uniformity to project management at SL Controls. This ensures consistent standards on all projects.
- Continuous improvement – while achieving consistency is important, standards are not fixed. Continuous improvement is central to our project management approach.
- Skills development – it is essential that we have the in-house skills available to deliver on the requirements of our clients. We achieve this through the development of our team, ensuring we have a pipeline of new project managers coming through.
The specifics of how we deliver projects depend on the requirements of our clients. For example, some clients already have robust project management structures, whereas on other projects if the client project management templates are not available, we will use our own. The principles and objectives of TOTALproject and our PMO remain the same – ensuring the economies of repetition in Industry 4.0 projects.