Integration of a Global Supply Chain Schedule

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Setting up the schedule is a key step in preparing any project. The schedule gives stakeholders a global view of the scope of activities to implement until the final is product delivered. It also allows them to identify risks and anticipate solutions. Establishing and monitoring the schedule helps to advise the project stakeholders and ensure all requirements are met.

For this purpose, our customer, a leader in renewable energy, wanted to implement the schedule for one of its departments: Global Supply Chain (GSC). Eager to improve visibility over critical components acquisition, our client engaged MIGSO-PCUBED to create and monitor the GSC schedule for all its projects.

Summary of the added value provided by fully integrating the schedule

Table of Contents

Challenge: Schedule Implementation

Our client’s organization is divided into 3 departments: Engineering (ENG), Global Supply Chain (GSC), and Project (PMO). All of them work together on the company programs and projects. Apart from GSC, all other departments monitor and coordinate their projects through individual schedules using P6 Primavera software. Although working together closely, each department follows their own milestones and goals in their respective schedules. Therefore, the lack of a general schedule for GSC impedes its integration with the schedules of all other departments.

Even within the GSC team, buyers often must create their own schedules. While having a significant workload, the schedule is a key element for communication with their suppliers. These specific schedules don’t interact, have different formats, have different due dates and are not followed well enough. There is no global view per project, and only buyers have some visibility on their own scope.

Our client’s status as an international company also involves employees spread across the world, which may slow down training on new methodologies.

MIGSO-PCUBED already works with our client’s other departments in France and abroad. Our understanding of their environment, tools, and goals naturally led our them to seek out MIGSO-PCUBED for the implementation of GSC’s schedules.

Solution: Implementing, Merging and Consolidating

In light of the close-to-daily interactions with the engineering team, their existing schedules (monitored by MIGSO-PCUBED collaborators abroad) were used as a starting point towards the creation of the GSC schedules. The P6 Primavera tool was established seamlessly to ensure continuity with the other departments and to offer the possibility of having integrated project schedules.

Creating a standard sequence of activities

One of the main roles of a buyer is to get in contact with suppliers for spare parts. For each project, the component’s technical specifications are encouraged to be completed, improved, or redefined. We identified these changes as the critical path(s) during procurement.

In Primavera P6, we first applied the basic scheduling rules:

  • Project’s names and standardization codes,
  • Assigning a scheduler per project,
  • Setting up a Work Breakdown Structure,
  • General layout settings (work weeks, holidays, float calculation, etc.),
  • Defining ID codes for future activities.

A quick investigation within the different GSC teams lead to the identification of recurring actions needed for each component in case of changes. A standard sequence was created with the relationships between tasks defined according to task relationship logic (Finish to Start or Start to Start). An existing database listing the full range of components was also completed to include any missing data:

  • Responsible person for each activity,
  • Standard lead time based on past experiences,
  • Supplier’s location,
  • Due dates for the components at each factory.

 The standard sequence was duplicated and adapted to fit each of the client’s different situations and strategies. This way, several templates were created to save the scheduler time. They can now duplicate the appropriate template and complete it with information of the component they want to track.

Integration with the Engineering team

Unlike the ENG schedules, the GSC team wanted to have a global view at the full project scale, centralizing all components (with and without changes) into one single schedule. Anticipating the future merger of the different teams’ schedules as well, the GSC team decided to integrate and link these component schedules. To that end, the typical sequence had to be redefined to identify the relationship between GSC tasks and ENG tasks.

The close cooperation between these two departments appears clearly within these schedules. Thus, several actions were implemented to frame these integrated schedules:

  • Defining roles and responsibilities,
  • Creating a shared follow up document to plan and link upcoming activities,
  • Establishing an operational rhythm,
  • Setting up weekly project reviews,
  • Developing a list of “golden rules” for interconnecting activities.

Monitoring and Control

To provide a global view per project to our customer, MIGSO-PCUBED decided to monitor activities with a Smartsheet project dashboard. The dashboard allows users to, quickly and easily visualize:

  • The general status of the project,
  • Weekly evolution of component’s status (on-time, late),
  • Which components are late and identify associated mitigation actions,
  • Risks, opportunities, and next steps,
  • Key milestones status,
  • Upcoming actions to perform.

The dashboards are now used on each steering committee. They are also inter-connected with component overview tables, which can be sorted/filtered by component type, who is responsible for each action, most critical components, etc. These tables are also shared with other teams, providing each collaborator with a midterm view of their activities and allowing them to prioritize such activities according to the schedule criticality.

To standardize monitoring the schedule, a weekly rhythm has been agreed on by schedulers and projects teams including the following activities:

  • Update the schedule updates,
  • Export the data and update the dashboard,
  • Analyze the data and compare it with the previous week,
  • Meet with project team and define a weekly action plan,
  • Report to management,
  • Implementation and integration of the new activities,
  • Review one critical component to gain stakeholder alignment.

Results and Next Steps

The implementation of GSC’s schedules by MIGSO-PCUBED lead our client towards better ways of working and monitoring projects:

  • 2000 to 4000 activities are now tracked by project schedules.
  • Schedules are now integrated between the 3 departments (ENG, GSC, PMO).
  • Teams that were reluctant at the beginning are now using the schedules with their customers.
  • Dashboards that were only used by GSC’s teams are now used by our client’s management team and by the other departments.

In the mid and long term, there are many opportunities to further improve our client’s schedules:

  • Integrating resources management into the schedule,
  • Providing all teams with access to and training for Primavera P6,
  • Cost monitoring,
  • Merging the schedules for teams across different departments into a single schedule per project.

More than a year after the start of the service delivery by MIGSO-PCUBED, the usage of schedules has now become a new standard for our client’s teams. Feedback from our client and its management on MIGSO-PCUBED’s support on schedule implementation have been positive.

This article was written by Simon CRISSOT with the support of Jeremy LESCOP and Benoit GUILBAUT.