Strategies for Managing Capital Equipment Projects
After over 20 years in the capital equipment business, I have come to realize the importance of experience in managing a capital project, as well as having a plan. The intent of this article is to offer new and even experienced capital equipment project managers some strategies to help ensure a successful implementation.
Start with a Plan
This plan should be in the form of a request for quote (RFQ) or a formal project outline (FPO). In this plan you will identify your company’s expectations from delivery dates and facility space constraints, to OEE and standard components. Do not make a request until you have a plan or you will fall prey to whatever your supplier has in store. This is key reference material throughout the project.
It is important that you use a combination of analytical and emotional tools to determine your supplier of choice. “Wow, what a great price” is a recipe for disaster if not properly vetted. If it sounds too good to be true, I guarantee it is. Set up a decision matrix and grade the suppliers but don’t let that be your final answer. Gut feeling goes a long way, especially if you have experience.
DO NOT..I repeat..DO NOT start a project without a formal Kickoff Meeting. You must establish the lines of communication from the start and ensure that the supplier completely understands your desired outcome and how you prefer to communicate. This is a very important step.
Establishing regular communication is paramount to your project’s success. During this weekly call you will review the open issues list and the established timeline. Do not miss these calls and make sure you include the appropriate team members from your company (maintenance, production, etc.). All should hear the same message. Also, there should be meeting minutes to reference if issues arise. Document, document, document!
How will you determine the equipment is ready to ship? This needs to be determined at the RFQ stage but you will need to dig it out for the runoff. You can’t change the rules without consequences and that is why setting clear expectations in the beginning is critical for awesome results.
What resources from your company will be required? Are the necessary utilities prepped? Will you need a high capacity fork lift? Do you need regulatory approval?
The key to success in life and business is a solid plan. Use these steps to construct a plan and you will be ahead of the competition! Your project will be a success before it even starts!