Scheduling and Controls of Project Manufacturing

Dr Mohamed El-Mehalawi
We recently presented a paper at the PMI College of Scheduling conference. Our paper ‘Lessons learned in engineering development for Major Projects’ examine the challenges faced by major projects during the front end and detailed engineering phases.

The 8th Annual PMI College of Scheduling Conference was held in San Francisco in May 2011, focusing on achieving best business value from project scheduling.

Our paper, ‘Scheduling and Controls of Project Manufacturing’, examines the scheduling, sequencing, and resource pooling operations required for a plant dedicated to project manufacturing.

Production controls are usually based on either mass production or job-shop manufacturing. These techniques are tailored to manage production of quantities of the same product. Outside of that spectrum is the manufacturing of sets of unique products.

Every product is the ultimate result of a project. Although these products are created in manufacturing environments similar to the job-shop conditions, they still need different management and controls techniques.

In project management, product manufacturing is usually a phase in a larger project such as EPC (engineering, procurement and construction). Most EPC projects involve manufacturing that is either internal to the performing organization, or outsourced.

Usually the schedule of manufacturing is lumped with the procurement phase as one long task. This shows a disconnection in the project schedule. The project manager has no control over that task because manufacturing by itself is managed by job-shop or make-to-order production management techniques.

Projects require a unique product to be manufactured. Project planning and scheduling for unique products is not common in most manufacturing plants.

The paper redefines the concept of project manufacturing as based on a unique and temporary product. Focusing on a plant dedicated to project manufacturing, the paper examines the necessary

  • scheduling
  • sequencing
  • resource pooling operations

A methodology for automating the creation of a schedule based on the critical path method is also outlined in the paper.

The goal of this methodology is twofold.

1. To integrate the manufacturing schedule with the rest of the project schedule which gives the project manager more control over the whole project including the manufacturing phase.

2. To introduce a new method for managing and resource loading in production plants dedicated to project manufacturing. That enables the production controls personnel to manage each project individually and at the same time combine all projects worked concurrently at the plant.

Download the full transcript of the paper here (PDF 275kb).