Proven Solutions for Scheduling and Cost Control in Large-Scale Projects

The production of goods in aerospace and defense companies is very material-intensive and cost-intensive. Cost controlling can be a particular challenge in the long-term and large-scale projects typical of these industries. Companies need to keep a close eye on all delivery dates and the cost development over time. The right materials in the right place at the right time – that is the challenge for the integration between scheduling and logistics.

The Greatest Challenge for Project Management

In these industries, many components are made and delivered by external suppliers and assembled at a central factory. The complexity of these projects generates high coordination costs across many development and production sites and suppliers, who are usually in several different locations.

TPG The Project Group works with several aerospace and defense companies. We have more than 20 years of experience in developing integrated IT solutions for project management as well as for cost and schedule controlling. Working with Microsoft technologies and ERP systems, TPG offers one-stop deep industry expertise, advice and proven IT solutions.

Expand the following text modules and read about the proven components of solutions based on Microsoft technologies for the aerospace and defense sector.

When working under pressure, managers require at-a-glance insight into projects, cost levels and the estimated cost at completion (EAC). Users can easily see a graphical representation of cost trends over time and of increases in budgeted costs during long projects.

This can be achieved by the integration of the ERP with the project management system. The integration should allow bi-directional data sharing, i.e. of master data, budget costs / revenues, actual costs and possibly even actual working times.
 

Better Data Quality and Benefits of an Integrated Environment

  • Data sharing is triggered manually or automatically. This simplifies many steps due to consistent project management processes
  • Project management and controlling staff each work with the tool they are most familiar with
  • Project scheduling, controlling, collaboration and document management are integrated
  • Dual data entry is eliminated, providing better quality of data for project managers, controllers and management and a better basis for decision-making

More information on the integration middleware TPG PSLink®

Supplier information is usually managed and monitored in the ERP system. But not everyone may have access to the system, for instance those responsible for program and project management although they need insight into delivery dates. Conversely, ERP users – such as those working on materials logistics – need deadlines from the project system for optimized material management.

The best way to ensure that both groups of users can access the data they need is to implement bi-directional integration of the ERP and project management systems. This enables them to synchronize scheduling data with material requisitions.
 

Benefits of an Integrated Environment

  • Data sharing is triggered manually or automatically. This simplifies many steps due to consistent project management processes
  • Project management and procurement staff each work with the tool they are familiar with
  • Project scheduling, controlling, materials management and document management are integrated
  • Dual data entry is eliminated, providing better quality of data for project managers, controllers and management and a better basis for decision-making

More information on the integration middleware TPG PSLink®.

Microsoft Project Server is a powerful tool for centralized, enterprise-wide project management. Used in conjunction with an add-on tool designed especially for program management, it enables users to easily monitor the status of all sub-projects.

Managers can communicate top-down targets at the program level by mirroring milestones and other key information to the sub-project level. Bottom-up planning is also available, because project participants can report current plan data from their sub-projects to program management for further control.
 

High Flexibility due to Data Sharing in Both Directions

  • Automatic milestone rollups at the click of a mouse! This enables users to visualize key milestones of the sub-projects in the program schedule
  • Top-down planning: The program manager creates a plan at the program level with target milestones and important key data. These are automatically displayed in the operative sub-projects
  • The project managers of the sub-projects now align their planning to the set target milestones
  • Bottom-up planning: Important milestones in the operative sub-projects can be transferred back to the program level for the next plan

More information on the program management extension TPG ProjectLink.

Microsoft Project Server as well as its cloud version Project Online is a powerful solution for enterprise-wide project and resource planning. The tool has an intuitive graphical interface and integrates well with other Microsoft Office programs. This guarantees a high acceptance of the solution by all users.
 

Capabilities and Benefits of Project Server / Project Online

  • View of current and future workloads, availability and resource demand for individual projects
  • Ability to monitor the available capacity and capacity utilization of facilities, departments and project teams
  • Summary of workload forecast data in a workload mountain chart
  • Quick overview with graphical illustrations and various view options

More information on Microsoft Project Server or Project Online.

    Identifying schedule and cost trends at an early stage is vital. This is the only way schedules can be corrected in good time. There are several popular methods of doing this including:

    1) Milestone Trend Analysis (MTA): This helps users monitor important milestones from the sub-projects of the program and see how they are progressing over time. Trends are clearly visualized, for instance when deadlines for individual milestones have been delayed. This enables managers to intervene in good time to avoid bottlenecks.

    2) Earned Value Analysis (EVA): This is used to assess the progress of projects. The current schedule and cost situation is described by key figures including budgeted cost of work performed and cost-performance index.
     

    Benefits of MTA and EVA for Project Server

    • Snapshots of schedules are created regularly and automatically display deadline changes to important milestones graphically
    • Trends can be derived from delays, providing an early indication of the potential risk regarding the project end date
    • The automatic snapshots of schedules give project participants a better awareness of milestones and deadlines

    More information on the SharePoint App TPG MTA Chart App.

    Important TPG blog article on Earned Value Analysis with Microsoft Project.

    CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

    “We chose TPG for the excellent quality of their TPG PSLink product, but also due to its very good cost-benefit ratio.“

    Bill Courcha, Chairman of MAS Planning Monitoring and Control Working Group, BAE British Aerospace