Project Management Framework for Today’s 3PL

Author PhotoBlueGrace Logistics

Project management framework is a set of methods, processes, and rules applied to the entire project lifecycle. Following the steps in the framework act as a guide for defining the goals, scope, and execution of the project from inception to completion. 

What’s in the article:

  • Framework for project management in the 3PL space

  • Putting together a plan of action for stakeholders

  • The role of effective technology in project management success

In today’s volatile marketplace, businesses are grappling with logistics obstacles. The rise in eCommerce and bottlenecks in the global supply chain are driving the need to solve these challenges. Addressing them ensures customer satisfaction and enables organizations to maintain a competitive stance in the marketplace.

Studies have shown that effective project planning leads to improved performance. This still holds true with 45% of survey participants citing inconsistent practices and processes across teams as one of the top challenges in adopting project management implementation. That is why it is essential to leverage a project management framework when initiating a logistics project with your 3PL partner.

What is a project management framework?

A project management framework is a set of methods, processes, and rules applied to the entire project lifecycle. Following the steps in the framework act as a guide for defining the goals, scope, and execution of the project from inception to completion.

Project Management Framework in the 3PL space

If you have a high-level framework, you can tailor it for each project by consolidating and adapting standardized processes accordingly for success. And with each project, you can continuously improve.

Ensure project documents are living and breathing by bringing a plan-do-check mentality to the project.

Project management is not a static process. Plans evolve and are adjusted throughout. So, ensure project documents are living and breathing by bringing a plan-do-check mentality to the project.  Sharing documents like Gantt charts that are updated on a daily or weekly basis with corresponding alerts can be beneficial in making it easy for everyone on the project team to always be aware of where they are throughout the process and stay updated on any timeline adjustments.

Putting together a plan of action for stakeholders

As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” To ensure a smooth process for all our customer experiences, we start by identifying our short-term goals for the project. Then we determine what steps are needed to reach those goals by the most efficient and effective means. Documenting the plan and tracking our progress along the way is essential for staying on track.

At the onset of the planning process, it is important to establish the communication methods needed for the project. These might include mass email, daily meetings to be in contact, and shared documents across the team.

Everyone needs to know what is being done every step along the way so that all team members are on the same page.

Then ensure that updates are communicated, sharing successes and anything that needs to be improved or adjusted. Everyone needs to know what is being done every step along the way so that all team members are on the same page.

When developing a process plan, determine your timeline and required resources. For example, you may think you need five people, but find out that you need ten. So, when meeting with stakeholders you determine who can help at what phase in a process to grow and ensure the success of the project.

Each person involved in a process is a subject matter expert (SME).  Prioritize understanding everyone’s area of expertise. Then leverage their knowledge by having SMEs (Subject Matter Expert) lead aspects relating to their focus areas.

Over-communication is the best way to navigate project challenges.

Over-communication is the best way to navigate project challenges. For example, if we are missing a step or the timeline has been pushed, communicate how and why the timeline was pushed. Then open it up for input and suggestions from all team members to resolve challenges or overcome roadblocks. This can yield information leading to a solution and sometimes the timeline can be shortened by requesting suggestions for overcoming roadblocks.

The role of effective technology in project management success

Technology enables project teams to accomplish more in less time and provides data for decision-making or measuring project successes.  It facilitates efficient communication, real-time status updates, and social collaboration across local and remote project teams. Enabling better communication, collaboration and updates are essential since 39% of project teams are composed of 6-10 people; 30.5% have more than 10 people; another 30.5% are composed of 1-5 people.

Benefits of achieving efficient project processes

A project management framework clearly defines efficient project processes. The benefits of establishing these guidelines include:

  • Consistency where all steps are completed, planning is thorough, and no details are forgotten.
  • Clearly defined project scope, avoiding confusion about things like who is doing what and when, or the desired result.
  • Collaboration by engaging all stakeholders in the project from start to finish. A project management framework encourages teamwork while working toward the shared goal often accelerating project progress to a successful close.
  • Continuity of following well-defined steps makes it possible to effortlessly refine and improve the process each time it is applied to a project. And the repeated application of a high-level framework makes it easier for team members to apply it. This leads to increased efficiency and predictable results.
  • Communication between the project manager, the team, and the stakeholders throughout the process ensures a smoother project workflow.

A project management framework is essential when initiating logistics projects with your 3PL partner. It ensures that no details are overlooked. It keeps the project organized and on track while making it easy to course-correct as needed. Leveraging technology supports the process, aids in decision-making, improves communication, collaboration, and drives efficiency throughout the project timeline.