Introduction of Formal Project Management at Hyten Corporation

On July 10, 1998, Wilbur Donley was hired into the Business Development Department to direct new product development efforts. Prior to joining Hyten, he worked as project manager with a company that supplied aircraft hardware to the government. He had worked both as an assistant project manager and as a project manager for five years prior to joining Hyten.

Shortly after his arrival, he convinced upper management to examine the idea of expanding the Business Development group and giving them responsibility for formal project management. An outside consulting firm was hired to give an in-depth seminar on project management to all management and supervisor employees in the Division.

Prior to the seminar, Donley talked to Frank Harrel, manager of quality and reliability, and George Hub, manager of manufacturing engineering, about their problems and what they thought of project management.

Frank Harrel is 37 years old, has an MBA degree, and has been with Hyten for five years. He was hired as an industrial engineer and three years ago was promoted to manager of quality and reliability. George Hub is 45 years old and has been with Hyten for 12 years as manager of manufacturing engineering.

Wilbur Donley: Well, Frank, what do you see as potential problems to the timely completion of projects within the Automotive Components Division?

Frank Harrel: The usual material movement problems we always have. We monitor all incoming materials in samples and production quantities, as well as in-process checking of production and finished goods on a sampling basis. We then move to 100 percent inspection if any discrepancies are found. Marketing and Manufacturing people don't realize how much time is required to inspect for either internal or customer deviations. Our current manpower requires that schedules be juggled to accommodate 100 percent inspection levels on "hot items." We seem to be getting more and more items at the last minute that must be done on overtime.

Donley: What are you suggesting? A coordination of effort with marketing, purchasing, production scheduling, and the manufacturing function to allow your department to perform their routine work and still be able to accommodate a limited amount of high-level work on "hot" jobs?

Harrel: Precisely, but we have no formal contact with these people. More open lines of communication would be of benefit to everyone.

Donley: We are going to introduce a more formal type of project management than has been used in the past so that all departments who are involved will actively participate in the planning cycle of the project. That way we they will remain aware of how they affect the function of other departments and prevent overlapping of work. We should be able to stay on schedule and get better cooperation.

Harrel: Good, I'll be looking forward to the departure from the usual method of handling a new project. Hopefully, it will work much better and result in fewer problems.

Donley: How do you feel, George, about improving the coordination of work among various departments through a formal project manager?

George Hub: Frankly, if it improves communication between departments, I'm all in favor of the change. Under our present system, I am asked to make estimates of cost and lead times to implement a new product. When the project begins, the Product

Design group starts making changes that require new cost figures and lead times. These changes result in cost overruns and in not meeting schedule dates. Typically, these changes continue right up to the production start date. Manufacturing appears to be the bad guy for not meeting the scheduled start date. We need someone to coordinate the work of various departments to prevent this continuous redoing of various jobs. We will at least have a chance at meeting the schedule, reducing cost, and improving the attitude of my people.

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