Meaning of Network Technique
Network technique is a technique for planning, scheduling (programming) and controlling the progress of projects. This is very useful for projects which are complex in nature or where activities are subject to considerable degree of uncertainty in performance time.
This technique provides an effective management, determines the project duration more accurately, identifies the activities which are critical at different stages of project completion to enable to pay more attention on these activities, analyse the scheduling at regular interval for taking corrective action well in advance, facilitates in optimistic resources utilisation, helps management for taking timely and better decisions for effective monitoring and control during execution of the project.
Objectives of Network Analysis:
Network analysis entails a group of techniques for presenting information relating to time and resources so as to assist in the planning, scheduling, and controlling of projects. The information, usually represented by a network, includes the sequences, interdependencies, interrelationships, and criticality of various activities of the project.
A network analysis has following objectives:
- Powerful tool of planning, scheduling and control.
- Shows the inter-relationships of the activities of a project or a programme.
- Minimises total cost where the cost of delays and cost of resources required to carry out the tasks can be measured.
- Minimise total time where required e.g. in maintenance of production-line machinery in a factory.
- Minimization of idle resources.
- Minimise production delays.
- To provide systematic approach in planning and scheduling.
- Follow an integrated approach and bring about better coordination between the departments.
- Focusses attention on critical activities of the project.
- Provides up-to-date status information.
- Suggest areas for increasing efficiency, and reduction of cost.
Applications of Network Technique:
Applications of network techniques are very wide, but are very common in some of the following fields:
(ii) Construction of buildings, bridges, highways, railways, stadiums, irrigation projects, factories, power projects etc.
(iii) Assembly line scheduling,
(iv) Development and launching of new products,
(v) Strategic and tactical military planning,
(vi) Research and development,
(vii) Market penetration programmes,
(viii) Planning of political campaigns,
(ix) Maintenance and overhauling of complicated or large machineries,
(x) organising big conferences etc.
Advantages of Network Technique:
Main advantages of the network system are as follows:
- Detailed and thoughtful planning provides better analysis and logical thinking.
- Identifies the critical activities and focus them to provide greater managerial attention.
- Network technique enables to forecast project duration more accurately.
- It is a powerful tool for optimisation of resources by using the concept of slack.
- It provides a scientific basis for monitoring, review and control, to evaluate effect of slippages.
- It helps in taking decision;
(i) To over-come delays,
(ii) To crashing programme,
(iii) Optimising resources, and
(iv) On other corrective actions.
- It helps in getting better co-ordination amongst related fields.
- It is an effective management tool through a common and simple language, providing common understanding.
Limitations of Network Techniques:
Network techniques have following limitations:
(i) Network technique is simply a tool to help the management; hence its effectiveness depends on how well it is used by the management.
(ii) Its accuracy depends on the estimation of the data used in the network.
(iii) It is useful only if it is updated regularly and decisions for corrective actions are taken timely.