Scheduling/planning software recommendations please.
Sorry for the long post, just trying to provide as much relevant info....
After 15 years doing web software development, I have chucked it all in and now run a business preparing 4x4s for off road expeditions (see http://www.overland-cruisers.co.uk)
Anyway, I am trying see if there is a good PM tool out there for managing our workshops and the projects we undertake. At the moment we deal with the jobs in the order they come in however I really want to be able to get a better handle on things.
I have looked at the traditional garage scheduling/management packages, but none are geared up to deal with the complex projects we do.
I suspect MS Project can be used to handle it, however imagine it may be a little overkill so am looking for other recommendations.
As a bit of background:-
The average project on a vehicle can take anything from a couple of hours to 100 plus hours.
Some projects are booked to be done on set days (when the owners come down and work with us for a couple of days) so are tricky to re-schedule otherwise the rest can get shuffled around without too many problems although we need to keep owners appraised of completion dates.
Each project can usually be broken down into a number of standard jobs like fitting a bigger fuel tank, upgrading suspension, etc. In most cases we know the average time each job takes which we can use as a guide when planning however we can often hit problems (like rusty bolts breaking) that can turn a two minute job into half an hour or we have to wait a day or two for parts which can make a mess of our schedules.
We currently have a workshop with space for two vehicles and there are up to three of us working in the workshop at any one time.
With some jobs we have some initial work to do, but then have to wait several days before finishing it off - for example removing a gearbox to get it rebuilt and then re-fitting it when it is returned. Usually in these instances we will remove the vehicle from the workshop to free the space.
I have considered a low tech solution, but can see several advantages from a high tech solution.
1. As one project slips it will be a lot easier to shunt all the other projects along the timeline and keep on top of the knock on implications.
2. If each job can be held as a 'module' in the pm package it will make it easier building up the original project plan, organise resources as well as get a handle on the costs when quoting - at the moment I do a chunk of this in Excel with a sort of pick and mix spreadsheet, but it doesn't cover the scheduling side of things, which is one of the key requirements.
So do any of you have any recommendations? I don't mind paying for something as long as it does what I need.
I look forward to your help.
Sounds to me like you need a resource/workforce management system more than a critical path scheduling solution.
"I love it when a plan comes together." - Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith, A-Team
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At the momment I am trying MS Project, setting up each project individually and then bringing them together in a cenral projec for overall management. Well that's the theory, I'll be trying to put it all together over the next couple of days.
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