Project Assistants’ Case Studies

Aerospace Company Improves Project Management and Enterprise Resource Scheduling

Situation

ATK Thiokol is a $2.4 billion advanced weapon and space systems company with approximately 13,600 employees and operations in 23 states.  The company is the world’s leading supplier of solid propulsion systems and the nation’s largest manufacturer of ammunition. Headquartered in Edina, Minnesota, the company has become a major aerospace and defense contractor through a combination of internal growth and a series of key strategic acquisitions, including Hercules Aerospace in 1995 and Thiokol Propulsion and the ammunition businesses of Blount International in 2001.

As the company has grown quite rapidly in the past few years, ATK Thiokol was looking for a two-part solution: to create a more modern project management environment, and to establish a single view across project activity to provide a cross project view of equipment planned usage.

Solution

Project Assistants assisted ATK Thiokol in implementing a Microsoft Project JumpStart Solution. The Project Assistants senior project management consultant assigned to this engagement designed and assisted with the implementation of the following solution:

Production Units as Resources

Production units (workshops, ovens, etc.) are now designated as resources (team members) with Project Server authentication. The project managers use regular task assignments to schedule their production activities and use standard resource views to see conflicts and opportunities. Production units are defined in the Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS); unit managers are defined above them in the RBS hierarchy. In this way, production unit managers are able to view what is scheduled for their organization, project managers are able to view what is scheduled for their projects, and plant managers are able to see an overview of what is scheduled for the entire plant.

Additionally, some of the production equipment is scheduled according to a 24 hour calendar, while other equipment is scheduled according to a normal 40 hour work week

Unit managers enter actuals – production activity – by signing on as individual pieces of equipment. Through this activity, project managers are able to view the completion status of production tasks.

To further enhance the ability to view equipment usage and production activity across all projects, customized Project Professional and Project Center views concentrate on showing task dates – such as the following:

Web Access Project Center views:

  • Unmet Target Date – Provides a list of tasks in a project that have an unmet start or finish date.
  • RBS View – This view allows you to confirm the accuracy of resource details for your organization.
  • Resource Assignments: Provides a list of project resource assignments over the short term.

Project Professional views:

  • Unmet Target Date – Provides a list of all tasks in a project that have an unmet start of finish date
  • Unmet Finish Date – Provides a list of all tasks in a project that have an unmet finish date
  • Unmet Start Date – Provides a list of all tasks in a project that have an unmet start date
  • Upcoming Activities – Provides a list of tasks that start or finish within an entered date range for a specified resource.

Benefits

This solution has provided ATK Thiokol with exactly what they were looking for – a modern project management environment where project managers and plant managers are easily able to see a cross project view of equipment planned usage.

Additionally, the change from weekly printed schedules to on-line access and enquiry for schedule information enables a more dynamic and responsive approach to equipment scheduling. It also provides the foundation for communicating equipment availability information to other departments in the plant.

Project Assistants, Inc.

Project Assistants offers a comprehensive suite of consulting services, custom development, education and products to assist organizations at any point of their project management evolution. Project Assistants clients increase their ability to manage risk, maximize ROI, effectively manage change, and increase confidence in making decisions. Project Assistants is based in Wilmington, Delaware and has offices nationwide. To learn more about Project Assistants, a Microsoft Office Project Premier Partner, visit www.projectassistants.com.