You have a mechanical design or installation need…or, just an idea about how to make your business run more smoothly and efficiently, thus generating more profits. What steps should you take toward project management? Planning with design services from TMS is your best shot at success.
Large or small, your project needs to be mapped out in advance. It doesn’t matter if you’re installing a new set of handrails or designing an area within a plant, the following three steps of design service are an integral component toward bringing your concept to life.
Count the Cost
Budgeting is the first step of our design service. This step might seem overly simplistic, but you wouldn’t believe how many managers begin a project without any concept of cost. Unless you have a budget in mind, you’ll never get out of the starting gate. The design service experts here at TMS can assist you as you count the cost.
When you provide our team with as much information about the project as possible, we can easily calculate a contingency budget (generally within ten percent) in approximately ten to fourteen days. It’s important to keep in mind that you’re not just addressing short-term needs within your company (although that might be a part of the process), you’re also investing in the future. In addition to the potential immediate ROI, TMS projects can result in income being generated for your business in the years and decades to come.
Save the Date
Next up is milestone scheduling. This is where we identify the key events in the life cycle of a particular project. These could be individual tasks, or it could be a matter of labeling a group of tasks and putting them under a broad umbrella, or key event. These events are extremely valuable to design service as they enable the project manager or managers to determine whether or not the overall project is on schedule, and, most important, if the job is being done correctly.
To illustrate, let’s take an ordinary piece of furniture that requires some amount of assembly – a bookcase. When you look at the instructions that come with the bookcase, you notice that each step of assembly is numbered and diagrammed. You always know what you need to do and what it’s supposed to look like. You even have a picture on the box of the finished product. If this process is used on a common piece of household furniture, shouldn’t this same method be applied to projects affecting the future of your company and your valued employees?
During milestone scheduling, it’s also important to factor in the lead time on construction, purchases, and personnel. The law of supply and demand might prove to be a bit tricky if you need parts that everyone and their brother are looking for. And a tight deadline might not be feasible if a certain amount of workers are needed for construction. One project we worked on involved building a mixer. Not a problem. But if our client was hoping for, say, a few weeks to see their vision come to fruition, well…let’s just say the amount of time required for mixer construction is seven months. Milestone scheduling allowed all involved to prepare enough time for completion.
Determining the critical path is the final phase of design services. This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, and your plan is put into action.
All of the milestones are gathered, the time of completion is determined, and we also assess how your customers, clients, employees and overall production will be impacted by the work we do. Basically, how does one event affect another?
For one of our clients, a local grain processing company, the critical path was determined by the timing of their business cycle and how long they were able to shut down the facility to make improvements. By mapping out the critical path in advance, the grain was flowing freely, customers received shipments on time, and not a step was missed.
Benjamin Franklin is often credited with saying, “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” That sentiment is something we believe here at TMS. If you’ve got a mechanical services need, the first step is to give our design services team a call. We’ll help you map out the rest.