By Bryan Reed
When project management for air quality equipment installation works, it’s nearly invisible. But when it’s done poorly, the results are painfully obvious: delivery dates are missed. The quality of work is inadequate. Clients are left waiting in the dark, without a clear idea of what to expect next or when things will happen.
When you’re making a major investment in new capital equipment, this is unacceptable. Poor project management leads to extended timelines and added stress for all involved.
So what does successful project management look like when it comes to installation of dust collectors, ventilation equipment or other air quality solutions? Here’s what you should expect when working with your air quality equipment supplier.
The Role of the Project Manager in Air Quality Equipment Installation
Project management is often overlooked when it comes to selecting an air quality vendor. But your project manager can make or break your installation experience.
The project manager acts as the go-between for the customer, the sales department, the billing department, the installation team and product development. In essence, they are the central hub for the entire post-sale customer experience. Their job includes:
- Maintaining effective communication with the client at all times
- Developing and driving the installation plan and timeline
- Making sure billing accurately reflects what the client ordered
- Working with purchasing to ensure that the correct components are ordered and timelines are met
- Making sure the installation team has the information and tools they need to complete the job
- Communicating changes and troubleshooting any obstacles that arise
Keys to Effective Project Management
Whether you are adding a simple source capture solution or designing an ambient air filtration system for the entire facility, a successful implementation of a new air quality system takes planning. The project manager makes sure the right components and the right people arrive at the site at the right time to make the installation a success.
Project management is not a passive process. It is a leadership position that requires managers to have a vision of the entire project and effectively manage every aspect. An effective project manager must be able to get everyone involved with the delivery and installation of the new equipment on the same page and ensure that nothing gets “lost in translation” between different stakeholders and departments. This requires excellent organizational skills along with the ability to prioritize, delegate and negotiate.
Problem solving and troubleshooting is a big part of the project manager’s job. They must understand how one change will impact everything that happens later in the process and find proactive solutions that will get the final project back on track.
Above all, a project manager must be able to build trust and confidence with both the customer and internal team members. Excellent communication is essential here. Everyone involved in the process should know exactly what is happening, when it is happening and what is expected from each stakeholder. Changes should be communicated as soon as the project manager knows of them. As a client, you should feel like you are in good hands every step of the way.
Project Management at RoboVent
At RoboVent, we take project management seriously. Before you issue a purchase order, you will be assigned to a project manager who acts as the single point of contact throughout the design, delivery, installation and startup process.
While each air quality system installation is unique, every RoboVent project goes through the same series of stages. The amount of individual tasks in each stage depends on the complexity of the project.
- Project launch: This stage is initiated as soon as the purchase order is received from the customer. The project manager verifies that the PO is correct and develops a project checklist based on the equipment and the system that was ordered. The order details and checklist are reviewed at a project kickoff meeting with the sales team, system designer and program manager.
- Project design: For air quality system installations, an onsite meeting is usually required. At this meeting, the project manager will review the project scope, verify measurements and make sure the client understands what they will need to do to make sure the installation is successful. When CAD is used for the design process, the project manager will review the system design with the sales team to ensure that it matches what was quoted and get final approval for the design from the customer.
- Procurement: In this phase, the purchasing requisitions are entered into the system. The project manager is responsible for making sure they are correct, confirming delivery dates with the customer and ensuring that duct work and all ancillary components are shipped and received on time.
- Installation: The project manager schedules the installation of the system and confirms the schedule with the customer. He or she also communicates timelines and installation requirements to the installation team leader.
- Startup: RoboVent installations always involve a complete system startup on site. The onsite team leader will make sure everything is working correctly, create a punch list of anything needing further attention and provide onsite training for the customer. The project manager is responsible for developing a training plan, ensuring that the installation team has the proper startup checklist and following up on items on the punch list.
- Close out: After the installation is complete, the project manager will confirm that all ordered products and services have been delivered, verify that the installation has been successfully completed, and make sure everything on the punch list has been addressed to the customer’s satisfaction. When this process is complete, they will verify the accuracy of the final invoice and send it to the customer before closing out the project.
Air quality system designs and installations can be complex, and there are many points along the way where things can get off track. Project management is essential to making sure that installations are completed on time, to the right specifications and within budget. That’s why RoboVent takes the project manager role seriously. It is our job to make sure that the air quality system installation fully meets your expectations.