If you ever plan to manage an entire production process, there’s no way around it: you absolutely need a collaborative work management software. And when you consider the basics of production management and all the ways in which this kind of tool supports them, it makes sense why. Here’s an overview of exactly that, along with some inspiring examples of how leading brands use collaborative work management software to successfully pull off multi-layered and complex production management projects.
Production management 101
Here’s everything you need to know about what production management is, why it’s a big deal, and what all production managers strive to achieve.
What is the nature of production management?
Production management is usually run by an individual or team, depending on the scope of work. It can be used to help create a product or run a service. The most common activities involved in production management include a wide range of duties. These include everything from organizing a new manufacturing process to overseeing a related marketing campaign to creating a budget for the project.
What is the importance of production management?
It’s essentially the bridge between managing and producing goods or services. While other specialists on the team can execute the nitty gritty details, the production management professionals help plan, facilitate, and control the big picture. Depending on the industry or product, a company might need production management to work alongside other key departments like HR, finance, or even R&D.
What are the key objectives of production management?
Here’s what a production manager or production management team is primarily responsible for on a day-to-day level.
- Sourcing the best possible materials and/or talent
While a production manager might take on the responsibility of hiring and firing team members, they may also delegate the task to an HR department or some other qualified individual. It’s not so much about who does it but how it gets done. No matter who’s executing it, the production management team will most likely determine the best process for the job.
- Creating a blueprint for production from A to Z
It’s the production team’s job to orchestrate the path from idea to realization. They’ll typically start with an overview of what tools are needed, who they’ll collaborate with, what timeline they’ll operate in, and what budget they have to work with. Then they’ll go into detail to describe the expected due dates and benchmarks. After that, the production management team will go into even more detail to subscribe a plan of attack for each segment.
- Top level management of progress
Once the process is established and in motion, the production management team will move even deeper into the management portion of their position by overseeing each step. They’ll also be responsible for working out the kinks and keeping track of what (or who) has fallen behind. If a project is behind their assigned timeline or creeping towards its budget limitations, the production manager will take over and find a solution.
- Providing guidelines and systems that maximize efficiency
For production management teams, a job well done is defined by finishing ahead of schedule and under budget. In order to achieve this perfect balance, a production manager must be skilled at anticipating problems while also creating a process that’s realistic and flexible. They’ll also have to take things like the assigned team’s productivity and human error into account when planning the whole production.
- Reviewing and adjusting the production process when needed
As we’ve already mentioned, project managers have to develop and execute the plan, which means that they’ll also have to deal with roadblocks along the way. When something interrupts the process (a failed parts delivery, a prolonged employee absence, etc.) it’s the project managers responsibility to huddle with relevant parties and maneuver the schedule so that everything fits the initial timeline despite the issue.
Now that we know the primary purpose and goals of production management, let’s take a look at one of the most necessary (but often overlooked) tools needed to accomplish it.
An Overview of the Current Market Trends in Production Management Software
As the industrial landscape evolves, so does the software that supports it. Production management software is no exception. In this fast-paced digital world fueled by innovation and competition, keeping up-to-date with the latest market trends is essential for any business looking to stay ahead. Allow us to guide you through some significant trends affecting production management software in 2023.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
AI and Machine Learning have increasingly become the cornerstone of production management software. They offer significant streamlining by automating routine tasks, enabling predictive analysis for better decision making, and providing real-time feedback and recommendations. In addition, ML can adapt to your business needs over time, enhancing software efficiency.
The shift to the cloud continues to be a growing trend, providing significant advantages over traditional on-premise solutions. Cloud-based production management software offers greater flexibility, enabling you and your team to access the system anytime, anywhere, all while reducing substantial IT costs.
Real-time Data Analysis
Instant access to data is now more important than ever. Modern production management software provides real-time analytics, allowing managers to make timely and informed decisions. Real-time data also fosters transparency, helping to improve collaboration and trust within the team.
Integration with Other Business Tools
The ability to seamlessly integrate with other business apps (like CRM or ERP systems) is increasingly becoming a standard feature for production management software. This level of integration provides a centralized control point, making workflow management more efficient.
Emphasis on User Experience
With the expansive choice in software available, user experience has become a key differentiator. Software providers are focusing on creating intuitive interfaces that are easy to navigate, understand, and use effective. This focus on user experience helps to minimize the learning curve and increase user adoption rates.
Sustainability and Green Manufacturing
Sustainability is trending across all industries, and software development is no exception. Modern production management software now features tools designed to support green manufacturing practices. Capabilities like energy efficiency monitoring, waste reduction planning, and tracking carbon footprint help businesses to adopt eco-friendly processes.
Keeping pace with these trends can help production managers make the most of their software investment, enhancing efficiency and productivity while staying competitive in today's ever-changing market landscapes. Remember, the right tool doesn't just equip you for today but also prepares you for the industry shifts of tomorrow.
Why is collaborative work management software important for production management?
You can probably tell from what we’ve outlined about production management needs and what collaborative work management software is capable of; it’s clear that these two go together perfectly.
Besides helping them fulfill nearly every task on their objective list, production managers also appreciate how much easier it is to use one main program for their work. While you may not be ready to cut ties with your most trusted MES or QMS, you can still use a collaborative work management software to consolidate all your team communications, tasks, and timelines.
That means you can easily replace all your paperwork (spreadsheets, messy email chains, private messaging conversations, vendor invoices, etc.) into a single, flexible software. It’s easier to refer back to and change as you go.
Besides being a match made in heaven for all your most common responsibilities, here are some other reasons to adopt a system like this for your next project.
Practical Tips to Maximize Your Production Management Software
If you've invested in a production management software, you're likely looking forward to optimizing your production processes, boosting team collaboration, and ultimately, improving your bottom line. However, these benefits aren't automatic. It takes a strategic approach to ensure you get the most from your investment. In this section, we share practical tips to help you maximize usage and reap optimal benefits from your production management software:
- Thoroughly Train Your Team: Set up comprehensive training sessions for your team to ensure everyone is familiar with the software. Hands-on sessions, group discussions, online tutorials, and reference guides will equip them with the skills needed to effectively use it. Remember, your production management software is only as effective as the people using it.
- Streamline Processes: Unify your processes within the platform. Make the software your hub for project planning, communication, tracking, and reporting. Integrating all your production workflow elements into a single platform enhances efficiency and cuts down on confusion or inconsistencies that might arise from using multiple platforms.
- Leverage Integrations: Most production management software will integrate with other key tools you use daily, like email clients, cloud storage, or finance apps. Utilize these integrations to create a centralized work ecosystem, fostering effortless information sharing and collaboration.
- Regularly Update and Maintain the Software: As with any software tool, regular updates and maintenance are crucial for optimal performance. Ensure your software is always up-to-date with the latest features and fixes.
- Encourage Feedback: To understand how well your software is performing, create a feedback loop with your team. Knowing what is working well and what isn't helps identify areas for improvement or additional training needs.
- Utilize Reporting Features: Production management software offers a wealth of data that could be utilized for performance tracking and decision-making. Regularly use the reporting features to analyze and optimize your operations.
By strategically implementing these practical tips, you can maximize the benefits of your production management software, streamline your processes, and turbo-boost your production efficiency. Remember, a tool is only as good as how you use it. With a clear understanding and smart application of your software's capabilities, the sky is the limit.
Main takeaway: collaborative work management software provides A to Z support for all types of productions
So it’s pretty obvious how this kind of tool has provided the backbone for a variety of brands large and small in all their production management goals. If you’d also like to benefit from better communication, more accurate timelines, and increased scalability, be sure to check out Wrike’s free trial. Because at the end of the day, a production manager is only as good as their tools and collaborative work management software is the best there is.