With everyone wanting their projects completed by Christmas, the Crucible office often feels more like Santa’s workshop at this time of year! That said, we never fail to deliver and that’s because we’ve taken a leaf out of the big man’s book. Seeing as it’s Christmas, we thought we’d share just how Mr Claus and his elves manage to get all their toys and presents ready in time for delivery on Christmas eve. Are you sitting comfortably?
Then we’ll begin. The answer, and this may surprise you, is Gantt charts! Like any efficient product development business, Santa’s workshop organises its deadlines by using Gantt charts to plan each stage of its operation and make sure that everything happens at the right time. This kind of planning is essential for any manufacturing company as it allows managers (and elves!) to coordinate many different strands of the process, from bought-in parts to in-house components and final assembly.
Here at Crucible we often use Gantt charts when planning a new project. And here’s another great tip - the trick of the trade is often to work backwards, starting with the critical deadline, product launch or customer delivery, to plan timelines and organise the actions efficiently.
By allowing sensible amounts of time for design, prototyping, tooling, testing and approvals it is often easy to see if the client’s expectations can be met and what the margins of safety are. If more time is needed, this can be clearly shown on the chart, and the ability to interlink all the critical stages provides a clear management overview of responsibilities and deadlines.
Gantt charts are available in many project planning packages and apps, but we find one of the best is Tom’s Planner. We’re pretty sure it’s the one Santa uses too! It is extremely simple to use and not overloaded with unnecessary functions like some planning tools. So, if you are faced with a mammoth project, including multiple components and numerous suppliers, do what Santa does – download a copy of Tom’s Planner.