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Lessons in Loving Your Project Manager

No other person in the A+D community has to co-ordinate such a massive group of stakeholders as our Project Managers. So, we want to help them.

Lessons in Loving Your Project Manager

I can guarantee there have been times when your Project Manager would love to do nothing more than wring your neck. I can also guarantee that there have been times when you would prefer nothing more than to wring theirs.


One word: geography.

There’s quite a bit of rhetoric out there that reiterates how much we love the idea of ‘thinking global, acting local’ in Australia. But, unfortunately, poised smack-bang in the middle of the Pacific and Indian Oceans and absolutely equidistant from every major international brand from Europe, America and everywhere in-between, the task of brining global designs onto local soil is no small feat.

And while we continue to fall in love with the design worlds of Nordic minimalism, Cape Cod luxury or Japanese simplicity (among many, many more), our love for international design is quite often the number-one heart risk for our Project Managers.

Just put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Imagine trying to co-ordinate a project in Australia on a standard 10-week lead-time schedule. Imagine, now, the client also wishes for international product on the spec within that timeframe. As the Project Manager you only have two options:

  1. Get that international product on the spec. By the time it arrives on our shores that 10-week schedule is a thing of the past. It’s somewhere around week 19 and the client realises that for the product to suit our needs significant customisation has to take place. Add an additional number of weeks – perhaps a couple of months. Budget has been exhausted, steering schedules are a mess, the better part of the year has passed … and the client is displeased.
  2. Compromise the client’s design brief. The project’s 10 weeks are up – and you deliver the finished result back to the client. Sure you stuck to schedule, but is it the schedule for the client’s brief? No? Lo-and-behold, a project was completed in the stipulated timeframe … but it’s not their project. The client is displeased.

But does it all have to be a dance of death leading inevitably to the client’s displeasure? Can I not have, say, x-hundred units of the latest ergonomic seating (German engineered, Italian designed, British manufactured) in situ within a Melbourne skyscraper all fitting in a reasonable timeframe?

YES! And that’s exactly where Products 4 People – P4 – is uniquely positioned to help.

The team at P4 is like any other team – in fact, they’re rather like your team. They also work in this world of increasingly shrinking lead times. And they understand that one of the most pressing elements in today’s professional world is delivering the result to an advanced degree of efficiency. They deliver solutions quickly because they know that you need to as well.

But they’re also unlike most other teams. Yes, they’re local. But they don’t seek to minimise global lead times by minimising global design.

That is, being local, they understand this market. And that’s why they understand that international design is here to stay, that is has to stay – it offers something different, something worldly, and that’s its beauty. From all over the world they curate a staggeringly diverse portfolio of brands and products all selectively chosen to anticipate any need that the Australian end-user might encounter.

Central to their service across Australia is the rapidity of the specification cycle – the duration of product concept, customisation, dispatch and instalment. Through their diverse international portfolio of brands and an enormous array of designers, P4 co-ordinate planners, logistics, production, trading partners and custom manufacture to ensure that your Project Manager can confidently deliver a completed brief to the client’s exacting requirements and their exacting schedule.

The team at P4 understand the difficulties our Project Managers face from all stakeholder angles. So through co-ordinating all elements of the supply chain in a management system as elegant as anything Europe could send our way, they’ve saved the Project Manager from another trip to the emergency ward. By synchronising the manufacturing process of our various partner brands, rigorous user-performance testing, product development, sourcing capabilities and co-ordinating local trading partners all under one roof, P4 have achieved one of the most elusive tricks of all: global design on local time.

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