How Technology is Revolutionizing Project Management

As the supply chain landscape continues to evolve, embracing technology-driven solutions will be crucial for organizations looking to keep a competitive edge and deliver optimal results in their future projects.

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Efficient project management plays a vital role in the success of supply chain operations. Businesses are now harnessing various tools to streamline project management processes and optimize their work. Since project management requires overseeing a plethora of stages, from creating a project plan, defining objectives, identifying resources, monitoring progress and ensuring quality control, finding what fits comes down to understanding where your pitfalls lie and adopting tools that fill the gaps. 

As Brandon Black, senior vice president and general manager for Ivanti Wavelink, explains, "Implementing software into IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) devices and wearables that relies on real-time data means being able to manage their supply chain by automating the tracking and management of inventory, orders and logistics. This can not only relieve some of the burden, but also gain a complete view of their operations from start to finish, knowing where to allocate resource, or where there are problems immediately, which in turn helps with managing lead times and costs more effectively too."

Technology, whether it be for inventory and tracking, or organizational and scheduling, lends a helping hand towards the goal of productivity.

Inventory Management For Optimization

Technology has revolutionized the inventory management process, enabling real-time visibility, accurate tracking and efficient handling. Automated inventory management systems leverage technologies like barcode scanning, RFID tagging and IoT sensors to provide instant updates on stock levels, location and movement.

Historically, RFID technology was lacking in modern ability — with metal interference a common concern. According to Bill Wappler, CEO of Surgere, RFID tech is more mature now and much more reliable through mixing technology with scientific understanding of how to manipulate and tune the signal. 

“Prior to RFID technology maturation and organizational adoption, inventory managers were reliant on material flow management, often manually or by instinct and institutional knowledge. For example: the inventory manager would know that it takes about a week to get the raw materials needed for production. That was accepted as fact," Wappler explains. "But what if someone forgot to order, placed a duplicate order or was unaware of a larger than normal finished goods need that week? All that data and activity was presumptive. Introducing RFID and other IoT technologies replace those assumptions with facts, ultimately replacing a standard material flow with actionable evidence. This results in reduction of waste, increase of labor efficiency and enhanced storage of materials and goods in a warehouse or yard.”

Incorporating this type of technology into your project management practices also creates visibility and factual data to support timely decision-making. As Wappler points out, "The last three years have shown us that you cannot run a business – or be competitive – without facts. This is prevalent in both B2B and B2C. Take Walmart for example. They are modifying their supplier and vendor requirements to ensure enough inventory is on hand while minimizing surplus. This modification of inbound shipment volume results in more efficient daily operations and more reliable revenue forecasting.”

Moreover, tools like predictive analytics algorithms can analyze historical data and forecast demand, assisting in proactive inventory planning and reducing stockouts or excess inventory.

Organizational Management For a Better Workforce

Effective project management requires seamless collaboration and communication across various teams and departments. Technology facilitates this through digital platforms and software solutions. Cloud-based project management tools enable teams to collaborate in real-time, access shared documents, track progress and communicate regardless of geographical locations. Workflow automation software helps simplify processes and automate repetitive tasks. Additionally, simple tools used for communication, like instant messaging apps and video conferencing platforms, enable speed in coordination and foster a collaborative spirit.

In a world increasing aware of its labor force, a dedication to organization management is pivotal to bridge the gaps for current and incoming employees who want better. "Labor shortages are by far the biggest anxiety in supply chains," says Black. "All issues stem from making sure you have enough of the right people in place, whether that be striving for efficiency, scalability or speed. There is no easy answer to solving shortages, but being able to optimize the workers you do have becomes a major part of the solution."  

In the recent warehouse report by Ivanti Wavelink, they found that the most-used tools for workers were hand-held mobile computers with barcode scanners (58%) and tablets (50%). However, some workers can find these clunky and awkward to use, which ultimately slows them down. In this case, wearable devices might be a better option, as Black explains, "Such devices essentially become almost like a co-worker that assists in helping them be faster and takes care of the boring, mundane data entry parts of the job." Understanding the ergonomics of the tools, and various options that hold similar function, might be the key in choosing which technology best supports a project.

"Today, we think of technology confluence and layering to drive upstream and downstream measurable impact. Tracking assets is foundational, but it simply sets the stage for what is possible," says Wappler. "Taking the data from those initial activities and treating it as factual then opens the doors to engage other operational functions and construct a larger map of data influence throughout an organization," and that includes those project management components companies are working hard to complete. 

These advancements enabling visibility into inventory, better decision-making and communication components might save you time and money. As the supply chain landscape continues to evolve, embracing technology-driven solutions will be crucial for organizations looking to keep a competitive edge and deliver optimal results in their future projects.