Process Improvement

Resource Management Systems and Optimizing Business Efficiency

Written By: Ray Waldron
May 31, 2024
8 min read

Germany's Brandenburg Airport was one of the most spectacular planning failures in construction history. The project suffered numerous errors that delayed its opening for 29 years and pushed its budget millions of Euros over initial projections. Chances are, many of the project's problems could have been avoided with the help of resource management tools.

What is resource management? It's simply knowing what resources you have, sourcing what you need, and allocating everything between projects to ensure availability. In complex industries that handle dynamic projects, a resource management solution provides a clear overview of resource use that supports strategic decisions and quick adaptation—so you don't spend three decades trying to bring your projects to completion.

The Need for a Resource Management System

The Brandenburg Airport story is a reminder of the challenges involved in managing resources for large, intricate projects:

  • Timelines and scheduling. Failure to account for team members' non-billable hours and work on other projects can lead to overprovisioning, which strains internal relations, hinders collaboration, and delays project timelines.

  • Visualizing availability. Projects in industries like construction involve multiple resource types, including people, equipment, and supplies. Because these resources are often dispersed across construction sites, it's difficult to ensure efficient utilization without a reliable method to track resource use.

  • Communications. Teams may hesitate to share resources if they don't have insight into availability or allocation plans. Without clear communication between managers and team members, bottlenecks and delays can quickly develop.

  • Dynamic work. Multi-team, multi-stakeholder projects require flexible resource allocation. Quick responses to team member absences, equipment breakdowns, and supply chain issues are essential for ensuring critical tasks can move forward.

  • Forecasting. Past resource use informs an accurate understanding of needs for future projects. Manual data entry or transfer increases the likelihood of errors that contribute to unreliable projections.

You can meet these challenges with a resource management system that tracks resource use and availability data in real time and records it in an easily accessible central database.

How resource management tools support complex industries

Detailed oversight is critical in industries that face ongoing challenges with resource access and costs.

In construction, project managers may handle dozens of projects at a time. Labor shortages and rising materials prices necessitate careful forecasting and prudent management of existing resources.

Manufacturers face similar difficulties. Materials shortages and supply chain problems make delivery times unpredictable. Manufacturing errors can result in costly downtime that impacts production budgets. Resource managers must be able to adapt quickly to keep projects on track in the event of unexpected delays.

Resource management solutions keep resource information visible across projects and teams to enable strategic decisions in these dynamic work environments.

Key Benefits of Implementing Resource Management Solutions

The more you know about your resources, the better chance you have of avoiding the kinds of errors and communication problems that contributed to the 120,000 defects found in the Brandenburg Airport. Your projects can have much better outcomes if you use a resource management tool that offers:

  • Enhanced visibility and control. Having clear details about resource availability and needs enables more realistic tracking, allocation and forecasting. If bottlenecks occur, you can quickly identify and reallocate under-utilized resources from other projects. Historical data reveals areas for improvement and supports more accurate forecasting.

  • Optimized resource allocation. The dashboards and reports inside resource management tools allow you to visualize team members' schedules, monitor project budgets, and track equipment and supply use. You can use this data to match the most efficient and qualified resources to specific project needs and reallocate as necessary to prevent overprovisioning.

  • Improved communication and resource sharing. Field teams stay connected to each other and their colleagues in the office through a cloud-based platform that supports mobile messaging and instant resource sharing. Critical information is always available, and additional features like e-signatures and document management support quick sign-offs and approvals to keep projects moving.

  • Increased productivity and efficiency. Real-time updates alert you to potential delays so you can reallocate resources before project timelines are impacted. When change requests arrive or supply delivery is delayed, internal communication tools make it easy to keep team members informed and redirect their focus to the next critical task.

  • Cost savings. Historical patterns in resource use highlight opportunities to optimize allocation and utilization. Over time, you'll begin to see where errors, quality issues, and inefficient time use have affected project outcomes. By addressing these costly problems, you can minimize unnecessary or excessive spending and save money on future projects.

Features to Look for in Resource Management Tools

You'll get the most out of a resource management platform if you look for a solution with key features that offer the visibility and flexibility required to make strategic resource decisions.

Real-time tracking

When you're monitoring resources for multiple projects, you can't afford to wait for team members to update project information manually. Delays can compound quickly, and before you know it, you're falling behind on critical tasks while deadlines loom.

But with a resource management system, you can simply pop up a resource report and know you're getting an accurate picture of availability and use. Real-time project updates help you spot risks, identify inefficiencies, and quickly reallocate resources to prevent costly interruptions or downtime.

Project management software integration

Integrations link your resource management tool to other project management software and documentation tools. Integrations automatically bring critical information into the resource management system so you can monitor critical details that may impact resource availability.

Automating data transfer through integrations reduces the risk of errors that can occur with manual entry. Changes in one platform update immediately across all tools to ensure accuracy and prevent misallocation.

Scalability and customization

Out-of-the-box solutions often fall short of meeting business needs in complex industries. This can lead team members to implement inefficient workarounds that require manual input to manage data across multiple applications. Information can easily get lost in these ad hoc systems, which makes communication and resource monitoring difficult.

With a customizable resource management solution, you can develop and implement applications, automations, and workflows specifically tailored to your most demanding use cases. Custom reporting options enable you to monitor high-priority project requirements and respond quickly when unexpected problems arise.

Modern resource management systems are also built to handle changing project loads. This scalability gives you the freedom to add more projects and resources without worrying about the platform slowing down or crashing at key points during the project lifecycle.

User-friendly interface and reliable support

Ideally, your resource management solution should have a minimal learning curve and a streamlined, accessible user interface with mobile capabilities. These features minimize onboarding time and make it easy for team members to communicate, share resources, and update project information.

Should you encounter any problems, immediate access to support ensures issues can be resolved quickly. Knowledgeable support is also critical when you need help learning new features or implementing customizations.

How to Choose the Right Resource Management System for Your Business

Because resource management is critical to project success, evaluate multiple tools before deciding on a solution. To ensure you find the best fit for your most complex projects:

  • Assess business needs and resource management challenges. Look at historical project data to pinpoint common issues with communication, visibility, and bottlenecks that could be solved with better tools. Determine what integrations you'll need to connect critical software, and consider the capabilities required to meet the expectations of multiple stakeholders.

  • Compare features and benefits. Look at multiple resource management solutions to find a platform that meets your needs and fits your current budget. Take advantage of free content and demos that provide more information about each platform's features. Look for a tool that can save time and money by simplifying resource planning, tracking, and allocation.

  • Consider feedback from users and experts in your industry. Talk with other resource managers who use or have used the platforms you're considering. Find out what they like and dislike, what specific solution they'd recommend, and why. Ask your internal teams about their biggest challenges and what tools or features would make their jobs easier.

Simplify Every Project With a Dynamic Resource Management Solution

You may never face a project as daunting as the Brandenburg Airport—but even if you do, a reliable resource management system can give you the insight and flexibility you need to prevent it from spiraling out of control. Resource management tools keep critical resource use and availability data front and center so you can make accurate allocation and reallocation decisions for your most demanding projects.

The resource management software from Quickbase are designed to help you streamline business operations and boost productivity. Sign up for a free trial to see how better financial oversight, asset maintenance, and data tracking can improve your approach to resource management.

Picture of Associate Content Marketing Manager Ray Waldron set against a lochinvar background
Written By: Ray Waldron

Ray Waldron is an Associate Content Marketing Manager at Quickbase.