Managing the Demand for Resources
Companies are placing big bets on data analytics as a means to transform their processes and raise their performance. Yet many are struggling to develop the organizational and IT assets and approaches to keep pace with business demands and fulfill the promise of advanced analytics. In turning customer insights into a new operational design, one of the most important tasks is better management of capacity. That comprises four elements: tighter management of demand, a more flexible operating system, agile matching of supply to demand, and transparent performance metrics. Together the four make it possible for the organization to meet customer demand at the optimal junction of quantity, quality, speed, and cost.
The first element, rigorous and frequent analysis of demand, eliminates items with low value to customers and, where possible, smoothes the arrival of demand to reduce variability and operational strain, while building flexibility to accommodate the variability that cannot be eliminated. The organization will need accurate, responsive tools for tracking demand in detail; for insurance claim processing, for example, this would start with arrival patterns for claims by customer segment, type of claim, and region.
Counter-intuitively, flexibility depends to a great degree on standardization. By developing “standard work” documents that codify employees’ best practices, the organization enables all employees to improve the quality, quantity, and speed of their work, while making it easier for managers to move tasks from one employee to another as demand and capacity shift— new ways of working, or have time for other activities altogether, such as long-term strategic initiatives or innovation opportunities.
Pragmatic, Results-Oriented Thinking
Value-stream mapping shows, for example, where two different functions involved in a process use the same information but fail to share it, resulting in two identical queries to the customer. Touch-time data highlight the gaps between the amount of time a customer request is actually worked on (or “touched”) and the amount of time it spends not being worked on. From the results of these and other analyses, the organization can create an end-to-end map of value streams that correlates much more closely with the customer’s view. Rather than centering its attention on a relationship-manager team, a department, a compliance group, and a business-unit, a company can begin to see how each unit helps—or hinders—a business.
On a daily basis, line managers will need a defined cpm schedule for estimating resource requirements and making adjustments as circumstances evolve. Ideally, a step-by-step guide will help these managers set up their team each day, based on demand forecasts, the skills matrix, and resource availability. We help clients excel in performance transformation, equipment strategy, manufacturing excellence, and capability building.
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Managing strategy and stakeholders includes ensuring continuous alignment of the project with the business strategy and value objectives, detailed analysis of stakeholder positions, vendor management, and proactive risk identification and mitigation.
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