Concrete Masonry Corporation’s Project Management

Core Principles/Characteristics of Any Project and Why Are They Important

To navigate the process of project management properly, several crucial principles or characteristics thereof are typically outlined. There are currently several approaches to viewing the concept of project management, hence different frameworks involving a varied number of elements. However, it is generally agreed that there are seven core characteristics principles according to which a project is implemented. The principles include the scope, time, quality, resource, and risk, whereas the characteristics embrace the notions of vision and mission, objectives, standards, execution strategy, organisational alignment, and control and accountability (Rendon and Snider, 2019). Each of the specified components has a critical role in project management since the principles allow defining the rules according to which a project is implemented, whereas the characteristics above help to set the objectives and define the implementation process.

Scope of the Project

In the case of the Concrete Masonry Corporation, the scope of the project, which is identified based on project objectives, is locked on the supply chain management (SCM) process, namely, the logistics of it. Zooming in on the goals of the Concrete Masonry Corporation project, one will define its scope as that one of addressing the transportation issues (Wu et al., 2017). However, to expand the scope of the project and consider its implications for the company, in general, one will also have to add that the implementation of the said project will help to improve cooperation within the company and, ultimately, affect its relationships with customers by improving the quality of the end product.

Network diagram and the Critical Path?

Project Network Diagram and Critical Path.
Figure 1. Project Network Diagram and Critical Path.

How many days does it take to complete the project?

As the critical path outlined above suggests, the project will take 31 days to complete. However, it is important to keep in mind that certain disruptions may occur, slackening down the process of implementing the key objectives. Therefore, the project my take slightly longer to accomplish.

Benefits of Using a Gantt Chart?

Gantt Chart.
Figure 2. Gantt Chart.

The use of the Gantt chart helps to represent the relationships between different stages of the project better, creating a clearly visible continuity map. As shown in Figure 2, the application of the Gantt chart to the Concrete Masonry Corporation case allows seeing the interconnected processes clearly, thus informing the participants about the importance of cohesion in their actions. In addition, the Gantt chart makes any deadline-related incongruences visible (Ong et al., 2016). As a result, the specified tool can be utilised to reduce problems associated with the mismanagement of deadlines.

Cost Appraisal Methods

Traditionally, several payback methods are identified when considering the theory of project management. However, the Net Present Value (NPV) is typically used as the default mechanism for managing the process of cost appraisal since it is the most straightforward of the three. Poblete et al. (2016) defines the NPV tool as the “output value to measure the response to change” (p. 5). Therefore, the use of the NPV tool allows gauging the alterations occurring within the cost management framework established for the said project as it is developed and implemented (Ying et al., 2018; Lai and Cheng, 2016). The flexibility that the NPV tool offers is the main asset that it can boats, which is why the NPV tool is an indispensable method for appraising costs in the projects that require flexibility and are characterised as prone to change (Zhong et al., 2019).

Risks on the Project

The Concrete Masonry Corporation project needs an all-embracive approach that will help to identify every issue affecting the organisation’s logistics. Therefore, the use of the NPV tool is highly recommended (Galli, 2019). Moreover, the NPV tool will offer additional flexibility in financial decision-making.

Quality audits

The use of quality audits helps to control the management of finances within a project. Moreover, audits secure the risk linked to corporate fraud and the related concerns. Therefore, the introduction of audits into the Concrete Masonry Corporation case is necessary/.

The Concrete Masonry Corporation

Introduction

Developing a project is always linked to numerous risks, financial ones lying at the core of the set of challenges that an organisation faces in its target market. Therefore, a project leader is expected to produce a tool that will be used to leverage costs and minimise expenses when performing key tasks. As seen with the case of the Concrete Masonry Corporation, the issue of managing costs has become the source of particularly sharp concern for the organisation, mostly due to the inability to adjust to the environment of its target market, which is highly prone to change. Specifically, the relationships with the company will have to be altered so that the participants of the project could develop greater corporate social responsibility (CSR) and align with the company’s philosophy and vision, thus meeting the established goals.

Project Scope Statement

Overall, the current goals of the project include mainly leveraging the approach toward the management of costs. By building a strategy that will prove to be more cost-efficient, the Concrete Masonry Corporation will be able to extend the range of costs that the transportation process itself may take. Specifically, the Concrete Masonry Corporation may have to extend its deadlines for the transportation of the freight, which will affect the company’s performance and competitive advantage in the long term unless an appropriate measure is introduced.

Consequently, the scope of the project includes the search for the reduction of the number and extent of costs to be taken when performing the key logistics-related tasks, namely, the transportation of the equipment needed fro the improvement in the quality of staff’s performance. While quality improvement should be seen as the overarching goal to which the current project is expected to contribute, the main objective of the project itself is to reduce the costs for the transportation of the specified devices form the supplier to the organisation’s premises.

Project Priorities

Given the fact that bringing down the rate of expenditures that the Concrete Masonry Corporation is expected to take when conducting the project at hand is the main objective, the priorities of the project have to be aligned accordingly. For this purpose, the key factors affecting the extent of the firm’s cots will have to be included, both external and internal ones. Therefore, the priorities of the project involve the analysis of the market environment of the firm’s choice, especially as far as its financial issues are concerned. In addition, a range of other concerns related to the supply chain of the firm, such as the management issues, the leadership approach, and especially the current infrastructure, have to be examined.

Seeing how big of an impact the current infrastructure has on the Concrete Masonry Corporation, namely, how strongly it limits the company’s opportunity to cooperate with its suppliers and communicate crucial information across its supply chain, changing the infrastructure should be seen as another essential priority. It is believed that with the improved infrastructure and updated communication system, the process of transporting the needed machinery will become significantly easier since major issues and obstacles to the performance on the project will be communicated quickly across the supply chain.

The introduction of a system for controlling the process and reporting on the progress is another essential step that as to be performed during the implementation of the plan. While the system itself has to be designed prior to the launch of the project, it has to be integrated once the transportation of the equipment begins so that the quality and velocity of the product delivery could be monitored carefully. While requiring admittedly substantial expenses, the development and use of the specified control system will be particularly useful in the long run since it will lead to a more balanced management of the logistic processes. For instance, the Concrete Masonry Corporation will be able to avoid delays, damage of the equipment during the transportation, and similar accidents that may ultimately reduce the value of the purchased devices.

Theory

The management of the issues associated with the logistics of a supply chain has to be linked to a corresponding theory that will support the decision-making and provide the rationale for the choices made to reduce the costs. Since risks are the main focus of concern in the case at hand, the existing constellation of risk management theories will need to be considered as one of the main elements of the theoretical framework. In addition, given the need to revisit the infrastructure of the project, it will be necessary to apply the theoretical foundations of the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) will have to be utilised as the main standard for analysing the case. Specifically, the theory will allow splitting the process in question into four phases, assigning a specific set of objectives to each (Córdova et al., 2018). Thus, the efficacy of the project management process and especially the data management aspect of it will be reinforced.

Finally, the theories of management and leadership will have to be introduced into the project since it features a large problem with its leader being confronted not only by the challenges linked to the performance of the organisation but also difficulties in his family. Therefore, the theories that may contribute to changing the levels of employees’ engagement, while relieving Kevin of some of the pressure that he may be experiencing in the target environment will be strongly required to consider. Specifically, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory will be utilised to understand how staff members can be encouraged to deliver better performance (Henkel et al., 2019).

Analysis

Work Breakdown Structure

WBS
Figure 3. WBS (Work Packages).

As shown in the WBS map above, the current set of objectives toward which the actions of the Concrete Masonry Corporation will be geared includes shaping the existing infrastructure, redefining the approach toward cost management, improvement of communication, establishment of a different leadership framework, and exerting tight control over the key processes.

Another possible source of concern that should be taken into account when addressing the risks to be faced during the project implementation concerns quality assurance and the efficacy of management, in general. As the case under analysis indicates, the project leader has been facing personal issues that may obscure his business vision and prevent him from making company-oriented decisions. Indeed, according to the case study details, Kevin has been struggling with his marriage and facing other issues in his personal life. Therefore, he may not be capable of performing an adequate assessment of the current situation and take the steps that are particularly reasonable in the target setting. For this reason, the approach toward leadership may need to be reconsidered as well.

In accordance with the Laissez-Faire leadership style, Kevin will need to delegate a significant number of responsibilities to the parties responsible for the execution of the project. Namely, he will have to give more leeway in decision-making to his vendors and supplies, as well as delegate responsibilities within the Concrete Masonry Corporation to managers. In accordance with the Laissez-Faire Leadership approach, Kevin will have to restructure the current framework for data management and decision-making. While the former is already linked to the infrastructure concerns and will imply introducing the culture of knowledge sharing with the help of innovative technology, the latter may require additional steps. Specifically, the values and philosophy of the Concrete Masonry Corporation will have to be reinforced so that staff members could learn to make informed decisions on behalf of the organisation and act in its best interests.

Cost Estimation

As emphasised in the chart and analysis above, the issue of costs is a standalone concern for the Concrete Masonry Corporation due to the expenses that it will take the organisation to revisit its current framework for transporting the items form its supplier to its organisational environment. Thus, it will be critical to locate the compromise between the need to ensure the security of the equipment and the reduction in costs. Currently, the point of trade-off for the Concrete Masonry Corporation lies at the cross-section of the losses caused by the risks that the firm will inevitably face when performing the purchase and transportation of the items, and the future profits. Given the fact that the firm will inevitably have to deal with some modicum of deadline mismanagement due to unpredictable impediments such as weather conditions, the current trade-off point lies approximately at $20,000. As Figure 4 below shows, the Concrete Masonry Corporation will have to locate the equilibrium between the threats lined to losing due to infrastructure and communication issues and the profit that the equipment will bring in the future.

The Concrete Masonry Corporation’s Trade-off.
Figure 3. The Concrete Masonry Corporation’s Trade-off.

In the case of the Concrete Masonry Corporation, it will be especially important to focus on the issue of HRM. Given the recent increase in competitiveness between organisations in the identified industry, as well as in the global economy, on the whole, the threat of an increased turnover may emerge. The problem of the lack of staff due to the high employment rates within the target market will affect the company’s performance efficacy, with the remaining staff members delivering the performance of a significantly lower quality. Therefore, the adoption of a leadership perspective that will allow transforming the participants’ perception of their responsibilities and the increase in their motivation will be needed (Abyad, 2018). For this reason, combining the Laissez-Faire approach with the Transformational and Innovation-based Leadership styles will be necessary (Muller, 2017). In addition, the described concern will require extra costs for providing staff members at the Concrete Masonry Corporation with additional benefits so that they could remain loyal to the company. Thus, the Concrete Masonry Corporation will have to take the described costs into account as well when crafting its cost management approach. Currently, the trade-off will have to be placed approximately at $20,000. Therefore, it will be crucial for the Concrete Masonry Corporation to remain within the specified cost limit.

In the specified context, consolidating the shipment processes and using a single location as the starting point of the transportation process should be regarded as the best way of minimising the expenses. With the adoption of the consolidated shipment technique, the current set of suppliers that the Concrete Masonry Corporation uses in order to obtain the needed tools, as well as other resources required for transporting the end product of the company’s setting, will be condensed to a single setting. Thus, the infrastructure of the Concrete Masonry Corporation’s supply chain will be simplified, which will allow for more robust results and more impressive management of the tasks within the set objectives.

However, the proposed idea of shipment consolidation may also entail unforeseeable challenges to the effective management of the expenditures. The application of the full truckload shipping model will help to minimise the expenses since it offers using the entirety of the transportation tools’ capacity with the minimum change made in the transportation process (Kang et al., 2017). However, the proposed solution will also mean that the shipment may take longer to perform due to the increased weight of the transported equipment (Satir et al., 2018). Herein lies the importance of applying an improved time management technique that will help the company to reduce the time taken for other processes associated with the logistics process, such as the installation of the devices and their integration into its supply chain.

In addition, the company will also have to opt for the strategy that will help to maintain the project life cycle at the necessary pace and keep the transition form one phase into another seamless. Presently, the project involving the purchase and transportation of the equipment by the Concrete Masonry Corporation remains at the zero phase since the goals of the project have not been outlined yet. Arguably, given the fact that the present report represent a rough draft of what needs to be implemented for the company to succeed in its pursuit of updating its product quality, the project can be considered launched (Joslin and Müller, 2016). However, the implementation of the transportation process, the negotiation with the key stakeholders, the enhancement of the infrastructure, and other critical steps will have to be communicated to the target participants first.

After the urgency of the project is established, the process of more detailed planning will have to be carried out. The specified step will require shaping the organisation’s leadership and management frameworks and rethinking the current control tools, establishing an updated version thereof. Moreover, measurement standards for project accomplishment will be designed. The third phase, which suggests implementation, involves the actual implementation of the project, which in the case f the Concrete Masonry Corporation suggests the transportation of the devices and their reception followed by the relocation to the company’s premises. Finally, the fourth phase representing the closure of the project will incorporate the installation of the equipment and its integration into the company’s production process. Moreover, the fourth phase will involve the reinforcement of the controls set within the organisation, which, when applied to the case under analysis, embrace the idea of controlling the supply chain and keeping the dialogue between its participants going.

Conclusion

By introducing a cost-efficient approach to managing expenses with the help of a redesigned budget, the Concrete Masonry Corporation will gain impressive benefits. In addition, by redirecting the existing finances toward the management of the issues associated with the communication concerns, the Concrete Masonry Corporation will gain a huge competitive advantage. With an improved communication infrastructure and the focus on the issues that will help the Concrete Masonry Corporation to improve its competitive advantage, one will be able to make the company thrive in its niche.

Changes in the described areas will also allow for other alterations that are bound to produce an immediate and quite positive impact on the Concrete Masonry Corporation’s performance, as well as its chances in the global market, in general. The focus on the issue of leadership, management, and the related tasks, such as the delegation of responsibilities.

Overall, the analysis of the Concrete Masonry Corporation has shown that the assessment of financial risks is an indispensable element of any project, and that the specified task is intertwined with a plethora of other ones, of which project management consists. Specifically, the management of human resources, as well as the development of leadership and managerial approaches and the allocation of the said financial resources, with the focus on R&D specifically, have been proven essential. The case of the Concrete Masonry Corporation is exemplary of the scenarios in which the problems of management and leadership intersect with the concerns associated with budgeting and minimising financial risks. The issues of organisational management, especially in regard to the identification of an appropriate SCM technique and the selection of the corporate governance model, are tightly interwoven into the organisation’s financial framework. The latter, in turn, limits the choice of strategies and dictates the choices such as the redesign of the infrastructure and a more effective management of human resources.

Reference List

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