Supply chain managers use project management software for tasks such as tracking progress and allocating resources on a time-sensitive project. Choosing the right project management platform isn’t a one-size-fits-all exercise because each supply chain is different.
The key is to define your pain points and objectives so you can evaluate what the best project management software for manufacturing is for you.
Do I Need a Project Management Solution to Streamline My Supply Chain?
Before you invest in project management software, you need to have a firm grasp of your expectations. Many supply chain managers successfully incorporate project management tools into their roles, but this won’t be effective if underlying issues remain.
A service management solution may be more relevant if you aim to increase productivity, address exceptions promptly, and eliminate recurring problems. The ideal software packages are industry-specific, and for supply chain managers, that means an SCSM solution (supply chain service management).
Project management software can be a valuable asset, but it often can’t address fundamental inefficiencies. Supply chains benefit more from an SCSM alternative complemented by project management to gain the advantages of both.
How to Choose a Supply Chain Project Management Tool
There are two important factors in identifying the usefulness of a project management software:
- The tools you select have the features required for the nature and scope of the projects you manage
- Your workforce is able and willing to use the new software to optimize effectiveness within their roles
Nine Steps to Picking the Right Supply Chain Project Management Software
1. Define Your Project Management Requirements
Phase one involves collating a comprehensive list of pain points such as unequal workloads, project disorganization, missed deadlines, and lack of communication.
2. Research the Suitable Software Tools
There are multiple ways to research potential solutions, such as networking with other project managers in the supply chain sector and reviewing recommendations through industry publications.
3. Test Your Preferred Solutions
Once you have a select list of options, you often have the opportunity to sign up for a free trial. The testing steps include:
- piloting a project management tool with a small group
- assessing the impact across different functions
- gathering a diverse range of opinions
A popular approach is to test a project management tool against a live project to get a sense of how it works in a real-time scenario.
4. Seek Feedback and Participation From Your Team
Feedback is useful to understand how the software would streamline workflows and the time required to update the system. If the trial shows that some pain points remain unresolved, it may not be a suitable option.
5. Conduct a Cost-Benefit Analysis
The costs and outcomes of a new software implementation are crucial in a commercial setting. Verify the cost per user, including set-up, training, and integration.
6. Approach Company Management for Executive Buy-in
Executive buy-in is required because leadership support will provide the resource allocation you need to instruct potentially large teams of colleagues to change their daily working routines.
7. Proceed With Your Project Management Software Purchase
Next, it’s time to buy your project management tools, ensuring you can roll out the software across all relevant personnel.
8. Work Through an Implementation Stage
The implementation stage can be tricky if staff are reluctant to change, so the best approach is a strategic one. For example, you’ll need to determine whether you will implement the software at once or in stages, how you will meet training requirements, and how you will manage software integrations.
9. Audit Efficacy or Next Steps
Finally, monitoring is an ongoing requirement to quantify success and understand whether any aspects of the project management software are not performing correctly.