29 May 2020
Lead Time Reduction at Alewijnse Marine
Alewijnse Marine designs and delivers electrotechnical systems to organizations in the maritime sector worldwide. They provide the entire electrotechnical infrastructure for superyachts, offshore, dredge and thug boats. Oceanco and Amels (Damen Shipyards) are just some of the customers among many of Alewijnse Marine.
In the very complex and technical environment Alewijnse Marine finds itself, good quality schedules and project management are crucial to successfully complete a project. Complex projects require a thorough planning on different levels of detail and for different stakeholders. Three years ago Alewijnse Marine did not have a centralized planning department and high level schedules were executed by project managers. Alewijnse Marine was looking for a party that could help them get more insight in their projects and could ensure their projects were delivered on time.Thereby, did they not only have the intention to achieve insight, but also to be able to steer when deviations occur with regards to time, means and money..
The following goals were formulated:
- Development of a generic planning methodology
- Development of a systematic approach to gaining insights in the recourse capacity on different levels
- Insight in project status in order to be proactive, efficient and predictable
- Operational support with planning of capacity
- Insights in the KPIs that reflect performance and deviations of projects
- Uniform way of working on the planning department
- The goals have continuously been evaluated and altered if needed
Due to the many goals formulated, the solution consisted out of multiple components. First, to ensure that all stakeholders are aligned several interviews were conducted and group sessies held. Partly because of this a thought out mission, vision and strategy could be developed.
Second a planning has been set up: when setting up a planning insight in a project and all related activities and dependencies, including those of third parties, is of the utmost importance. Which department is responsible for what, how much time and what means are needed for this, etc. This is why decent and widely supported workflows are important to a good planning. When these are translated into a planning, creating a uniform Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a useful tool for placing activities with a certain functionality of the project.
Third, a generic template that is useful for all projects was developed to ensure uniformity. This template was built in MS-Project with different reporting options based on this one template. This creates the possibility to generate uniform reports, which stimulates the adoption of a uniform way of working and safeguarding performance. The key insights from the reports come down to three important performance indicators, available on different levels of the company.
- Schedule performance index: indicating how a project performs compared to the initial timeline of the project;
- Cost performance index: indicating how a project performs in terms of costs;
- Earned value: which shows the actual performance of the sources; what was produced in the hours spent on the project.
The above can only be attained if progress is measured on a regular basis and therefore a biweekly progress cycles was introduced to all stakeholders of the project. These meetings give more insight into the resource uses of Alewijnse Marine and in the progress of its projects.
Finally, to ensure the collected information could be provided to the right people at the right time a time schedule was drafted for meetings and reports. This way all stakeholders know when certain information has to be provided and when certain documents have to be received. Dit lead to more clarity with regards to expectations.
“The transparent and proactive way of working of Critical Minds improved the communication within our company, which lead to a better understanding among each other, enforcing responsibility and control of the projects we execute” Supply Chain Manager, Alewijnse Marine.
All of the above was initially set up by different Critical Minds on an operational level. Afterwards three planners were hired who were trained in the above mentioned way. During this time biweekly improvement sessions were held with the planners, the Supply Chain Manager, Critical Minds and other stakeholders if necessary. Because of this reports could continuously be improved, the planning updated and certain activities in the template be altered if the need arose. The role of the Critical Minds changed from operational to advisory and coaching. In the end the planning department was able to tackle problems and challenges on its own.
Over the past three years Critical Minds and Alwewijnse Marine have achieved a lot, among which:
- An established and widely supported mission ,vision and strategy;
- A complete manual for the planning department
- A generic template in MS-Project applicable to all ships;
- Different reports reporting on KPIs;
- A timeline for planners with all the meetings and deliverables;
- All projects (currently around 50) are planned;
- One central location to acquire the usage of means throughout the organization;
- Insight in the project status resulting in constructive internal and external feedback;
- A lead time reduction of around 5% in most projects;
- One central planning department
Critical Minds looks back on a challenging and pleasant cooperation with Alewijnse Marine. Despite healthy resistance with regards to planning in the beginning, after three years there is an established central planning, a complete manual with generic template for all projects and a widely supported mission, vision and strategy. By involving the right people and showing which insights and results can be attained, everyone started to see the importance of a good planning. When change is needed young and intelligent people like Critical Minds can create support and give you new insights.
“Critical Minds has a refreshing and different outlook on problems we were confronted with than us. This so-called flip-thinking led to new insights and enabled us to be more productive, efficient and predictable.” Jan Hafkamp, Alewijnse Marine