I interviewed Farhan Mirza who discussed Effective Program Management Leads to Effective Delivery Management.







It’s great to speak with you again today, Farhan. We’ve done interviews in the past. Today's topic is “Effective Program Management Leads to Effective Delivery Management.”


Can you first provide a brief background of yourself?


Sure. Thank you again for having me on board, Dustin. A pleasure coming in. I’m Farhan Mirza with BAFF Consulting, specializing in the supply chain operational and leading manufacturing and quality management systems. Generally we go in and work with companies, helping them eventually improve their EBITDA and then improve their operating margins. In the past year I’ve had the opportunity of helping certain organizations with this specific topic, so I thought it’d be a great topic to share my experiences.


Thanks. What are the issues you typically see in the consulting world at your client-manufacturing sites, which drive back to the need for effective program management?


What I’ve noticed over the past almost 20 years of my various experiences from the quality manufacturing and supply chain assignments I’ve worked on, Dustin, is, whether it’s a retail service or manufacturing environment, generally, program management has the following typical issues—seven to eight is what I bucket them in.


1. One is late to delivery as committed to the customer.

2. Shortage of parts; again, there could be a reason for that—because we didn’t plan it right. Excess or off inventory where what’s needed is not there and what’s not really needed or in lesser quantity is in abundance.

3. Meetings to obsolescence, because engineering changes happen at the last minute, when we didn’t plan it right in the planning phase.

4. The fourth issue is people training, where we have abundance of workforce, but then the right people for the right assignment and the right work cells were not trained, whether it’s training for a call center operation or training for a specific manufacturing operation.

5. The fifth comes in as you have got policies. People take vacation, which is all fine, but the plan that key members of the work cell without having the training matrix completed are sent on vacation, and then what really happens? Then you’re struggling for the right workforce to come and support the operation.

6. The seventh thing I see is a purchase-order process not implemented. What that does is basically, purchase orders are implemented, but there is lack of control; in that process, duplicates or excess and overshooting the budget happens.

7. The next thing I see is approval processes are not in place. You may see a $100,000 PO approved without the right due diligence where you go through a lot of pain trying to get a $1000 PO approved.

8. Last but not least is escalating SPOT BUYS (3:09—unclear) happening where we see the budgets overshoot, managers come under extreme pressure by the senior leadership or the board for having projects go beyond budget. Sometimes, not all the time, but quality is being compromised just because they’ve got to cut corners somewhere. In that zeal of making sure things happen right, we are crossing the boundaries and then not making it right with enough checks. At the end of the day, warranty costs escalate because we’re trying to do a lot more in a shorter period of time.


How do you implement an effective program-management system?


From this point on, of all the seven to eight things I mentioned, what we call a true,cradle to grave project-management system from my automotive days, what we used to term as the master Dot philosophy. It truly means from the sales order being agreed, when the sales team on the organization’s side to the customer with whom they got the sales order, once that is locked in, from that point on until, especially if you’re talking a manufacturing environment, you’re going to the installation and commissioning of the project. Anything and everything in between; that’s what I call it a cradle to grave approach.


Now, in this process there is a set template we use, and then it’s tailor-made, custom-made to every organization, but the broader principles are the same. You bucket them into, I would say, four ideal pillars: management and human resources as the one pillar; quality systems as the second pillar; manufacturing, processes, and systems as the third pillar; and safety as the fourth pillar. You can add another pillar to delivery due diligence, contact management, and legal, but that could go as a support function.


These are the five main areas. What we do is, within each of those, view the steps from the point of a sales order, as an example, what should happen that engineering should then eventually come up with the prints, what should happen for the prints to be approved by the customer or the drawing of the product, even if it’s the garment industry. Customers see what you produced. Then you go in and talk to the president, then they get a chance to talk to their supply chain; they get a chance to talk to what tooling and other equipment is needed; then the training aspects come in, and so on and so forth in every area. You could go in and then figure out what specifically is needed. And this is how the custom-made, tailor-made requirements are being set in to this program-management template.


How do you execute the implemented system?


Once we go through this system, the five pillars, the key, obviously, is, one is you get the key to open the safe. The second thing is how you’re going to take everything safely out of the safe and carry it to that destination; that’s where execution comes in. Execution is based on the plan do act check methodology. We call it the, in the planning phase, you want to absolutely make sure that nothing is going to cost the planning phase and go and become an issue down the road.


Then you go to the manufacturing phase and figure out—just like Reverse process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) (7:04—unclear).We want to figure out what there is at all possible that’s not going to become an issue in the manufacturing of the product, then you go to the quality side of the business and say, “What I want to absolutely make sure is not going to happen and become an issue outside my facility, that all the checks and balances are in this quality system,” and all the right

pieces are present so that the flawless product is going to eventually reach the customer. The final result of that, obviously, will be that there’s going to be no warranty and then, as defined for you, it’s going to be in the hands of the final customer. Every line item I mentioned above has to accomplish this, will get a Countermeasure Sheet (7:55—unclear), and then every line item in that custom-built template I mentioned, those five pillars, will have a deadline and honor a specific, tailored, very succinct, clear line item as an action. If not, a few lines, a couple to three or four words; very succinct and very clear. You can look at it on the wall and see how it is.


The whole thing is printed, and then, to each of those actions, if the action is not going to happen as per the timing, you have to have a counter measure. All of this is printed on the wall, and the counter measure sheet is below this mega project plan. On the counter measure sheet, you’ll have, if something’s early to timing, you have to still count the measure because you don’t want to get burdened on the subsequent operation; if you’re late to the completion date, you still have to counter measure; and if you’re getting a late start or have not started because there was a prior activity going on, you still have to count the measure.


And, last but not least, no target date can ever move. The target is not a moving target. We have committed to the customer, and what it drives in the organization is the culture. The culture is: We have to do everything possible to make things change in our process to still hit that final target date for every single action item we listed. The target dates and the discipline cannot move, and at no point in time will we agree that the resources are going to be changed without the entire team’s buying. We are not going to pull someone just because some other department feel it is needed without the entire team buying it and seeing what the entire allocation has to do for the overall project.


Last but not least is: Lessons-learned documentation. We have to absolutely have a lessons learned so that subsequent projects and partnered projects which are happening will carry forward these lessons learned. Certain organizations go through the very good discipline of having a lessons-learned database, where all this is documented. The lessons-learned database is going to be reviewed before the sales order is kicked off into a purchase-order process and an engineering-design approval, everything is done. That minimizes the risk of having issues with subsequent projects.


How can the audience reach you if they need help with the implementation or other questions they may have?


Sure; I’m at BAFFConsultants.com, the Web site. Over there you have got the e-mail, as well as the phone numbers. My personal e-mail is Farhan.Mirza@BAFFConsultants.com.


Thanks again for sharing.


My pleasure. Thank you again for having me on board. I’m looking forward to further interactions with you, Dustin.







About Farhan Mirza



Farhan Mirza


VP | Operations | Manufacturing | Global Sourcing, Supply Chain, Logistics | farhan.mirza@baffconsultants.com


LinkedIn Profile