Book of the Week: Additive Manufacturing Change Management
This week’s selection is “Additive Manufacturing Change Management: Best Practices” by David M. Dietrich, Michael Kenworthy, and Elizabeth A. Cudney.
Unlike many of our selections, this book is not particularly technical. Instead, it is managerial oriented, with the intent of assisting managers in companies deal with change requests.
Wait a moment, what is a “change request”? While you might think it’s simply an “ask” for something different, it’s actually a far more formal process.
Building anything beyond a simple item requires a formal project. This is a formal declaration of the steps required to build the item, organized in the correct sequence, with prerequisites and dependencies recognized and accounted for. The plan will also specify the assignment of resources (mostly people) to each of the tasks.
Formal project plans allow for highly efficient work to be done, as project planning software can automatically determine the optimum sequence of steps to maximize the utilization of the labor and other resources.
It’s one of the most powerful, yet lesser known, methods that’s helped achieve today’s high efficiency businesses around the world.
But then something happens.
The boss sees something a competitor has done that’s “better”. Panicking, the boss swiftly instructs his staff to switch gears and do something different to address this competitive challenge.
Now then, put yourself in place of the manager in charge of the project, where all steps for the next year have already been carefully planned out, resources assigned and schedules published. A dramatic request from left field can shatter this perfect plan utterly.
The process for handling requests to a formal project plan is called “change management”.
That’s what this book is all about: how to handle change management within an additive manufacturing project. Certainly this scenario occurs frequently in manufacturing, and it must be dealt with in a way that not only implements the requested change, but also protects existing work and provides for the most efficient outcome.
The book takes you through a series of case studies of this and similar scenarios, all providing information to the reader about the best practices involved in handling change management in additive manufacturing.