I’m always amazed when an Office & Industrial salesperson tells his customer that a project manager (PM) will be running their small move. In my opinion there is a huge difference between a PM and a supervisor, even though most movers believe they’re synonymous.
IOMI® preaches that a supervisor runs the crew and is personally responsible for the performance and behavior of each team member. To be responsible, he must have authority over the movers. If they don’t listen, he should be able to remove them from the job. Otherwise, he can’t be held accountable. His job is to ensure that no employee gets hurt, that there is no damage, and that the job finishes on time for the price quoted. He typically runs jobs that finish in just one day.
On the other hand, a PM runs jobs that go over several consecutive days, weeks, or months. Instead of running the crew, he is the liaison between the customer and the moving company.
IOMI® defines a PM as someone who measures so that he can manage. A good PM constantly measures to see if the job is on time, behind or ahead of schedule. He must have excellent communication skills, since he talks directly to the customer’s top people as well as telling the moving crews’ supervisors what they need to do each day with an updated Scope of Service. A PM also needs to tell the base the number of men, trucks, and supervisors needed for the next day’s work, along with the quantity and type of dollies and other equipment.
If, for example, a job that’s supposed to end in 21 days is going to finish at noon on Day 9, the PM doesn’t let the crew return to the base early. His job is to keep the momentum going to allow leeway in case there is an unforeseen contingency that might slow the move down sometime in the future. Therefore, as soon as he realizes it’s going to finish early that day, he asks other client department heads if they’ll “help their company out” by changing their move date and time to move that afternoon. Before he can approach them, though, he must measure the number of truck loads he can move between 1 pm and 6—let’s say at least 5 loads—and then identify departments that have an approximately similar volume. Just because the various department heads work for the same company doesn’t mean they want to help by changing their move to that afternoon. The PM often needs to talk to several until one (does him a big favor) and says, “Yes.” It’s a delicate and diplomatic managerial dance.
The PM’s fulltime job of measuring and communicating prevents him from having time to directly supervise the moving crews. That’s the reason IOMI® believes it’s important to differentiate between the roles of a supervisor and a project manager.
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