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Part Three Planning and control


Project planning is particularly important where complexity of the project is high. The interrelationship between activities, resources and times in most projects, especially complex ones, is such that unless they are carefully planned, resources can become seriously overloaded at times during the project.

➤ What techniques can be used for project planning?


Network planning and Gantt charts are the most common techniques. The former (using either the activity-on-arrow or activity-on-node format) is particularly useful for assessing the total duration of a project and the degree of flexibility or float of the individual activities within the project. The most common method of network planning is called the critical path method (CPM). The logic inherent in a network diagram can be changed by resource constraints. Network planning models can also be used to assess the total cost of shortening a project where individual activities are shortened.

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➤ What is project control and how is it done?


The process of project control involves three sets of decisions: how to monitor the project in order to check its progress, how to assess the performance of the project by comparing monitored observations to the project plan, and how to intervene in the project in order to make the changes which will bring it back to plan. Enterprise Project Management systems can be used to integrate all the information needed to plan and control projects.



Case study United Photonics Malaysia Sdn Bhd
Introduction
Anuar Kamaruddin, COO of United Photonics Malaysia (EPM), was conscious that the project in front of him was one of the most important he had handled for many years. The number and variety of the development projects under way within the company had risen sharply in the last few years, and although they had all seemed important at the time, this one – the ‘Laz-skan’ project – clearly justified the description given it by the President of United Photonics Corporation, the US parent of UPM, ‘the make or break opportunity to ensure the division’s long term position in the global instrumentation industry’. Source: Corbis/Eric K K Yu

The United Photonics Group
United Photonics Corporation had been founded in the 1920s (as the Detroit Gauge Company), a general instrument and gauge manufacturer for the engineering industry. By expanding its range into optical instruments in the early 1930s, it eventually moved also into the manufacture of

Chapter 16 high-precision and speciality lenses, mainly for the photographic industry. Its reputation as a specialist lens manufacturer led to such a growth in sales that by 1969 the optical side of the company accounted for about 60 per cent of total business and it ranked as one of the top two or three optics companies of its type in the world. Although its reputation for skilled lens-making had not diminished since then, the instrument side of the company had come to dominate sales once again in the 1980s and 1990s.

Project planning and control

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UPM product range
UPM’s product range on the optical side included lenses for inspection systems which were used mainly in the manufacture of microchips. These lenses were sold both to the inspection system manufacturers and to the chip manufacturers themselves. They were very high-precision lenses; however, most of the company’s optical products were specialist photographic and cinema lenses. In addition about 15 per cent of the company’s optical work was concerned with the development and manufacture of ‘one or two off’ extremely high-precision lenses for defence contracts, specialist scientific instrumentation, and other optical companies. The Group’s instrument product range consisted largely of electromechanical assemblies with an increasing emphasis on software-based recording, display and diagnostic abilities. This move towards more softwarebased products had led the...
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