So you've climbed the rickety old corporate ladder and made it to the top. Congratulations. Now the real work begins. If you're a first-time manager, you probably have a thing or two to learn. Switching from producing to managing production is quite a stretch.
Obviously, you're already equipped with many skills, abilities, and experiences needed for the job. Otherwise, you wouldn't have been promoted. However, it's always good to add proven tools to your repertoire. Read on to learn about the essential manager tools that will keep you evolving in helpful ways.
Whether you're in supply chain management or not, you would benefit from each of these tools.
(Source: Flickr/Kris Krug)
Communication skills are essential for first-time managers, but what about modes of communication? In a multitasking, fast-paced office environment, email isn't always king.
Aside from using email for concrete communication (such as policy changes), there are several quicker ways to collaborate on projects and distribute information among employees. Supply chain managers benefit from fluid communication channels that will make it easy to assess their company's inventory needs through direct correspondence with department heads.
To send hurried requests to employees and peers, consider the following pinging or instant messaging services. Many of them allow group chat and video functionality.
For collaborating or communicating in a dynamic thread, the following tools are also effective. This software is exceptional for project management and assigning tasks.
- Google Docs/Google Drive: Google Docs allows users to create documents that others can view or edit. Google Drive offers cloud-based storage for these documents and more. Both are free.
- Podio: This web-based project management and tasking software is also free.
- Basecamp: This web-based project management and tasking software is similar to Podio. Prices start at $20/month.
- Flow: This is another web-based project management and tasking software similar to Podio. Prices start at $19/month.
Many project management tools allow you to benchmark employee project performance and set goals through assigned tasks. Podio, for example, allows managers to create a workspace (project), add users (employees) to the project, and assign tasks (goals). As tasks are completed, you can set the workspace progress slider to reflect the project's development. If certain employees are not meeting benchmarks or goals, it will be clear based on incomplete tasks.
Benchmark tools are key performance indicators. Furthermore, they let managers tackle problems as they arise. This prevents surprise issues and deadline disasters. Furthermore, your employees can add tasks to your workflow, which can alert you to any issues that could come up in any forecasts.
Of course, there are lots of tools to manage projects and performance. Let us know your proven strategies for keeping things on track.