What is Resource Management?

The best definition of resource management is that it is the processes, people and equipment that are being deployed in an efficient manner when they are needed. Businesses large and small need to be able to manage their resources effectively in order to succeed. Ineffective planning and scheduling of resources can cause major problems.

Utilizing the correct tools and software for the project(s) your business is undertaking is the essence of resource management. Businesses that don’t plan out how they will utilize the labor, equipment and materials practice poor project management. There are good reasons why resource management is important for your business’ bottom line. Resource management can help you:

Track expenses

At the beginning of any project your business takes on, you need to be able to track your expenses. Initial consulting costs need to be factored in with the estimated labor costs. The human factor should always be on the forefront of your strategic plans.
When allocating these types of expenses you need to factor in time and scheduling restraints. Project resource management tools can help you figure out and estimate labor costs as well as estimated goals to complete the project.

Track inventory

Resource management involves the accurate inventory of equipment and parts needed to complete the project on time and on schedule. The efficiency of the resource management tools to track equipment functionality does have a positive impact on the operational workflow. Automated resource management tools that provide accurate information on inventory are often necessary to reduce expenditures.

Resource management techniques such as resource leveling help keep stock levels at a “just-in-time” level to avoid excessive storage fees and storage excess. In other words project resource management. Project resource management then is the scheduling of the materials so they are available at the right time and in the right quantity.

Create visibility measures

With any project it is important that all stakeholders remain invested in the project’s status. Resource management software is designed to create transparency in the management of all resources that belong to the project.

This means that potential pitfalls in the project can be captured before they become pitfalls and obstacles towards completion of the project. Resource management software can also help you visualize how the project is progressing and completing milestones.

Visibility measures can provide stakeholders and other interested parties with a snapshot of the project’s status. The proper use of resources will ultimately help you in deciding how to allocate resources to fulfill the mission set forth in the project’s plan.

Collaborate and share resources

Resource management is ultimately about how people collaborate and utilize the resources they have. Team building exercises, training protocols and online learning provide necessary interaction between individuals to share skills.

Project resource management requires the cooperation and the open sharing of vital information. This can be problematic when communication obstacles come into play. Collaboration however is a key ingredient to successful project completion.

Successful business owners understand that in order to complete projects on time and on budget they need to employ a variety of resource management tools and software packages. The challenge with using these resource management tools is integrating them with legacy software and hardware packages.

It is important to realize that each business has its own customized resources. What might be right for one business and industry may not be right for another business or industry. When you factor in the customized software it can be a bit confusing. That is why it is good to remember that all businesses need basic accounting and financial support software.

Prepare for acquisition of equipment

You should ask yourself the following questions when researching for equipment that will fit your company’s needs.

1. How will the equipment fit in with the existing equipment? You need to examine how your equipment is functioning now and how adding new equipment will affect its functionality.

2. What function and process will this equipment fulfill that is not already being fulfilled? A good analysis of the new equipment’s functionality and how it will fulfill a need is a good start in resolving a problem area.

3.Why is the process being changed and how will workflow be affected by the change? Resource management software can help you look inside the processes and workflow to determine what changes will occur with the new equipment.

Discover processes and allocate resources

Your business’ functionality does depend on how effectively you allocate your resources. It is prudent and often necessary to utilize project resource management scheduling tools to make sure everyone is on the same page. It is also important to understand what resources are available and when they are available to use.

Complex project algorithms that need to be tracked can be managed using resource management tools. When dealing with multiple projects it often becomes necessary to have resource management software that provides up-to-the-minute status updates and clear outlines.

Understand the human factor

You should understand that your employees are your greatest asset. Managing your labor force can be a challenge. You just have to remember that engaged employees increase productivity and passion to complete your projects. Unengaged employees can and sometimes do create an unacceptable risk.

Resource management at its core is human centered and not automation centered. In the rush to automate everything the human factor can be neglected and set aside. The balance between the labor force and automation can be achieved with good long lasting results.

Utilization of People Power

The key element of resource management is the people involved in the project. You need to think about how your employees will react to the perimeters of the project and how they best can be utilized to complete the project.

Project analysis is an important first step in utilizing the people power you have within your organization. This analysis can consist of creating a workable skill set evaluation and protocols for creating compatible teams.

Brainstorming sessions are one of the ways in which resource management can be achieved within your company. Everyone that is involved with the project should be given opportunities to express their ideas about how new processes will affect them. There are various ways that these brainstorming sessions can be utilized in your project. The human element of your project is not to be neglected.

Gathering of Data Points and Processes

Project resource management provides you with the means to organize your data streams into comprehensive and easily understood perimeters. For example; a food storage company gathers information on food spoilage, temperature variations and storage capacity. These three data points help business owners decide what food can been stored at a cold temperature and when it needs to be shipped out.

Detailed information of resources helps determine their status. Resource management software that is specifically designed to track and manage goods and services provides needed information about their status. It also provides necessary information to help your business in operations. This vital information that is gathered through resource management tools can help improve processes immeasurably.

Resource management tools can offer you a glimpse of your current operational status through workflow processes. It is important to understand that the processes your products and services go through are like the gas that goes through an automobile. Without the labor force behind it or the need for the products and services, there really is no company.

The End Product and Service

Every project has an end result. The combination of hard work and the utilization of tools and other resources create the finished product or service. Resource management then provides the necessary tools to finish the project.

Concrete goals are important to have at every stage of the project. It is when you are at the end stage of the project that you can appreciate the work that had gone into the project. Well managed resources will always help you stay on top of your project without cost overruns.

Resource Management-Putting it all together

The bottom line is that you need resource management to successfully complete projects. Managing the resources you have available is an important first step towards managing all other aspects of your business. Resource management tools and software can help your business succeed in lowering operational costs and improving efficiency.

Your labor force is the top resource that your company should depend on. Automation of resources should be only one of the tools you utilize as part of your project resource management toolbox. Resource management tools can be customized to fit your particular industry.

Resource management compasses a wide range of project oriented tools and resources. The tools and resources you utilize depend on the business you run.

Resource management comprises of the planning, allocating and scheduling of processes and materials. There are four aspects that you need to consider when starting to put together a project. These are:

  • Manpower
  • Money
  • Machines
  • Materials

Without these four aspects driving the project forward there is little chance of success in your business endeavor. Resource management tools can only get you so far without the manpower and money you’ll need to drive your business forward. You also need to consider the machines you need to operate your business at peak capacity and the materials you need to create the products you’ll sell.

Conflict reduction

Properly allocating resources to their proper channels can reduce or eliminate conflicts due to inaccurate data or process allocation. Resource management scheduling tools can be a good contributing factor in the reduction of scheduling conflicts. It is an important component to reducing conflict to have resource management software that tracks availability of resources.

Timing is everything

Your customers are expecting your products and services to be delivered in a timely manner. Resource management tools can help you determine the status of your products from pre-production to post-production and delivery.

Businesses that utilize the resource management software are better able to serve their customers with accurate shipping and receiving statuses. Allocating resources in a timely manner makes operations run smoother and creates a good atmosphere for everyone.

The key factor in managing resources is the timely response you can give your customers to inquiries and the quick efficient way you deliver on your promises.

Your competition is waiting in the wings. Resource management is what you need to stay on top of it. Without good resource management you might as well close up shop. Resource management is that important.

Flexibility provides a “way out” of conflicts

The aforementioned food storage company needs to be flexible in dealing with food storage. Things happen with any business. Resource management tools can help you gain flexibility when dealing with unexpected situations like a broken down truck full of rapidly spoiling food.

Knowing that things may happen and being able to predict it is only half of the equation. The other half is having the resources available to either prevent or remedy the situation immediately. With the broken down truck situation, resource management tools provide the necessary solution to get the truck back in service. It also provides a way for the company to save the food. It is the flexibility factor that provides a myriad of on-the-spot solutions for situations that may arise from time to time.

Resource Management at Work

Financial companies utilize resource management differently than retail or commercial companies. Retail and commercial companies are more apt to utilize physical materials and need to utilize physical machines to do their work. Financial and other non-physical companies utilize resource management tools and software to help them stay on track with projects that don’t require physical materials or equipment.

Resource management is just as critical for these companies however as it is for the retail and commercial companies. Let’s take one example here, a hypothetical example of a yet nameless bank that is just starting out.

As was mentioned earlier your labor force is the most critical component to your business success or failure. This nameless bank has ten employees with various degrees of experience to bring to the bank. The bank’s resources include:
• One building
• Ten computers set up with the bank’s secure database
• Ten chairs and tables for the employees
• A break room with a refrigerator, microwave and two tables with chairs
• Bank vaults and a security system

Although the bank does handle physical assets (cash), its main function is to process funds and maintain bank accounts electronically. Resource management software can be used here to manage bank accounts accurately and efficiently. It can also be used to track employees’ productivity in processing requests and analyzing workflow.

Resource management tools provide the scalability this banks needs to address issues customers have and to grow their business. New customers are attracted by the efficient and effective way their needs are met by the employees. The bank’s employees appreciate having the ability to expand the business.

This, of course, can’t be done is the bank doesn’t have a handle on their current resources. Resource management provides the stability the bank needs to move forward with their projects.One of the biggest projects the bank wants to pursue is the opening of branch offices.

With resource management tools and software the bank can set up a strategic plan that incorporates the allocation of necessary resources at their proper time and place. It can also get a handle on labor resources and utilize them in an efficient way to reach milestones in the project.

The visibility of the project’s perimeters provides both stakeholders and employees incentives to complete the project. In this case the opening of new branch offices for the bank. Since the bank’s main functionality is non-physical, resource management software focuses mainly on the utilization of people power and not on physical materials and inventory.

The workflow processes are different in that there is more emphasis on system requirements and security than in a retail establishment. Retail establishments do have to concern themselves with system requirements and security but not to the degree that financial organizations do.

Resource management is an important criteria in project resource management. In the example of the bank, knowing what resources are available can make a difference between having a thriving business and losing out on business.

For businesses that have many projects going on at the same time resource management tools provide businesses with up-to-date information and status reports. As you are always dealing with unknown issues with each project you undertake, you need the flexibility that resource management tools and software can give you.

With retail and commercial companies strategic plans should include all possible scenarios in regards to resources. Managing your resources effectively does takes some time and effort but with resource management tools and software you can plan your business success.