It is often a difficult task for managers of companies: to plan the resources of a team correctly. Especially in the fast-moving times, we live in today, intelligent resource planning is necessary. Therefore, the daily challenges include changes in the company, which take place at ever shorter intervals, as well as virtual work, which must be well planned and coordinated. The individual employee and the team as a whole must therefore be skillfully deployed so as not to lose sight of the big picture. Managers of companies need to have a good understanding of capacities and processes and a transparent insight into the resources and capacities of the company.
What is resource management?
Resource management deals with all issues related to a team’s resources and activities. A team and its resources need to be planned and scheduled.
Resources include the following:
- The employee or staff as a human resource
- Financial resources
- Operating resources
- Technical solutions such as machines, software, etc.
Resources are, therefore, all the means needed to complete a project. The goal is to get the maximum out of the given resources.
Resource management must clarify the following points in terms of resource planning:
- When and how can resources be used?
- How long do the individual activities within the project take?
- What exactly are the resources needed to perform the various activities?
- Which employees are best suited to carry out the activities within the project successfully?
That’s why it’s essential to practice resource management
Projects are often delayed or even fail. In many cases, incorrect project and resource planning are to blame.
Resource management is an integral part of project management. The aim is to achieve maximum results while minimizing resource usage. Wasting resources is, therefore, a no-go. Resource management counteracts waste and ensures that resources are used as efficiently as possible. One of the cornerstones of successful resource management is knowing exactly what resources are needed for a project. Then it is possible to plan effectively and manage resources accordingly.
For some companies, effective cost efficiency is of enormous importance. These companies, therefore, hire a separate employee for resource management who is exclusively responsible for ideal resource management: the resource manager.
Within a project, the resource manager is responsible for calculating and scheduling resources so that the project runs successfully.
What is a resource management plan?
The resource management plan is used to plan and allocate the resources required for the project. This is to ensure that the project runs efficiently and that optimal project progress is possible. Therefore, the resource management plan is an indispensable aid for the project manager and serves as a guide for the allocation of resources within a project. Project managers thus obtain an overview of:
- the available budget
- the planned personnel and necessary skills for project implementation,
- the workload,
- and the technologies to be used
Five steps for a successful project
It is possible to create a resource management plan in different ways. For example, you can even use Excel to create a resource management plan, where resource planning and capacities are entered accordingly. However, there is also available software specialized in planning and managing resources.
The following steps help create and manage a resource management plan:
Step 1: Definition of project goals
For the best possible distribution of resources or capacities among the team, it is necessary to know the project’s goals. Here, a distinction should be made between small, medium, and large projects and the purposes defined accordingly.
Step 2: Define the scope of the project
To find out the exact scope of the project, it is necessary to agree with the people involved in the project on how the resources should be allocated to the project in terms of time. This will allow us to estimate the project plan better. It also makes it easier to allocate resources to individual tasks. There should already be a rough idea of what resources are needed for the project at this stage.
Step 3: Determine resources needed for the project
The resource management plan includes the budget, the number of employees for the project, and the software used. To determine the exact resources for the project, this phase involves comparing the existing resources with those needed by the project.
Step 4: Define existing resources.
This phase gets down to the nitty-gritty. With the help of a resource management tool, there is a good overview of the areas of activity of each employee involved in the project. With this overview, it is easy to determine which employee can take on the project. Again and again, how busy the employees are in the project should be checked. If the employees’ workload is too high, countermeasures must be taken so that the employees are not overloaded (keyword burnout).
Step 5: Check project progress
During the project, the resource manager must always consult with the people involved in the project. This prevents miscommunication and frustration. This includes questions about how the employees are feeling, the project’s progress, and any problems that need to be solved.
What techniques are available in resource management?
The following techniques are available for resource management:
Allocation of resources: The best possible budget ensures that the maximum is extracted from the available resources. In doing so, the manager or project leader considers the skills of the individual team members. Based on this, they can allocate the resources ideally to the employees and their tasks. In many cases, project managers use resource allocation reports for this purpose. These reports provide both a macro and micro view of individual resources. This ensures that the project is not delayed and does not go over budget.
Reconciliation of existing resources: Reconciliation of resources is about determining whether or not they are being utilized efficiently within the organization. Are there underutilized resources? Are resources being misused? An example of balancing available resources is to see if a team member may perform different activities. A content creator for the company’s website and social media presence who can write text and create smaller social media graphics himself may save the company a lot of money since an external or specially hired graphic designer is thus redundant.
Forecasting future resources: The resource management plan ensures optimal employees, machines, materials, and capital. Resource forecasting helps to plan and foresee resources for future projects in advance. When planning for a project begins, the resource forecast can predict how large the project will be, what bottlenecks may occur, and what risks may occur within the project.
For an accurate forecast, it is necessary that the project manager has familiarized himself well with the project in advance and has clarified the goals and peculiarities of the project in advance. It is also essential that he has a good insight into the available resources of the company. For this information, it is advisable to use sophisticated project management software. This provides a good overview of the entire project with the associated transparency and the available resources.
Tips that help to use resource management skillfully
The following tips help to use resource management in a structured and goal-oriented way right from the start:
Welche Vorteile hat das Ressourcenmanagement?
The effective use of resource management is one of the most critical factors for a project to be successful. Resource management offers the following benefits:
- Insight into the project: The resource manager can best allocate resources by knowing in advance what people need to work on. Resource management serves as a linchpin in this process. Resource management can be a top-down view of the project, providing the ideal overview of resources, workload, and budget. Better planning is possible as a result.
- Ideal distribution of tasks: By knowing the skills and weaknesses of each team member, the resource manager is best able to allocate tasks among team members. Extensive discussions with the employees help get a better feel for the individual to use him optimally in the project according to his abilities.
- Unplanned disruptions are avoided: If you can understand exactly what resources are scheduled in advance and schedule them accordingly, mistakes can be avoided in advance.
- Burnout is prevented: Using resource management optimally means avoiding overloading individual team members with their tasks. This reduces the likelihood of team member burnout.
- Safety in case of project failure: A project may fail due to insufficient resources. Resource planning ensures that proof is available to show that the available resources were used optimally.
- Better transparency: Through transparency, the resource manager provides other teams with insight into their team’s workload. As a result, different groups know if and when team members will be available again.
Project effectiveness is measurable: Effective resource management ensures better planning and determining the return on investment (ROI).
Effective resource management for smooth production processes
Effective resource management is the basis for every manufacturing operation because planning and controlling production still form the foundation for successful and efficient order processing. To process orders optimally, all resources such as material, personnel, and machine assignment must be coordinated in the best possible way. This is the only way to keep throughput times and work-in-process inventories low. With its preparatory measures, successful production planning creates the prerequisites for the entire downstream production process, monitored using production control.
Production planning and materials management as part of resource management
FORCAM’s detailed planning supports your production planning and control of materials management and is specifically tailored to the needs of the discrete manufacturing industry. As a stand-alone module, it can be easily linked to existing ERP systems. The detailed planning includes, among others, the functions: Production overview, bottleneck analysis, and inventory optimization. This is a highly efficient tool for your successful production planning. It shortens the duration of orders and ensures delivery capability by identifying bottlenecks at an early stage. It also provides balanced material and order management, continuously balancing delivery capability and capital commitment. Processes are sustainably improved thanks to the high transparency and systematic nature of all materials management data.
Flexibility through changes to orders and sequences at short notice
Increase delivery reliability – significantly decrease throughput times
Avoid unnecessary waiting times for personnel or machines.
Inventory optimization: right quantities in the right place at the right time