How to Create Marketing Budget: A Quick Guide

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Marketing is essential to connecting your product or service with an audience. But that process isn’t cheap. There are ad buys, graphic work and copywriting to name only a few things. A marketing budget is how marketers know how much they can spend on their campaign.

Understanding how to create a marketing budget is a key element of any marketing plan. Once you’ve made the marketing budget, you have to track it to ensure you stay within your marketing budget. We’ll explain how to do that and even throw in a free marketing budget template to help you get started.

What Is a Marketing Budget?

A marketing budget is an outline of the costs that a company will spend to market its product or service. The marketing budget covers a finite period of time, the length of which can be anywhere between a quarter to a year.

The marketing budget includes all expenses related to the advertising campaign. These can include paid advertising, sponsored web content, additional marketing staff, registering a domain and building a dedicated website, print and billboard advertising, TV ads and much more.

Budgeting is a crucial part of any marketing plan; you need to allocate your resources properly to meet various marketing strategies that your company sets. It’s a complicated job that’s simplified through project management software.

ProjectManager is online project management software that helps you plan and track your marketing budget. Our Gantt chart helps you organize your tasks, resources and marketing costs. Once you have a marketing plan and set the baseline, you can track the planned costs versus actual costs in real time. Keep to your marketing budget—get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chartProjectManager's Gantt chart
ProjectManager’s Gantt charts help you plan and track your marketing budget. Learn more

How to Create a Marketing Budget

Creating a marketing budget is an essential part of planning your marketing campaign. Without the funds, your efforts will fall short. Below are the steps you should take when building a marketing budget for one or more campaigns over the quarter or year.

1. Set Marketing Goals & Objectives

Your goals and objectives should be SMART. That’s an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. For a marketing budget, you need to think about your sales funnel and devise short- and long-term goals while setting key performance indicators (KPIs) to track your performance.

2. Conduct Market Research

You don’t want to go into the marketplace without a clear picture of the market. You need to conduct market research to understand your target audience. That includes demographics, customer needs and so forth. But don’t neglect the competition as they’re vying for the same customers as you are. Identify the competition and list what you have in common with them and how you can differentiate yourself.

3. Develop Your Marketing Campaign

The budget depends on the concept you’ve chosen to deliver the message about your product or service. That message must align with the overall strategy of your company. Once you have made these decisions, the related costs will become clear, such as ad materials, graphic design, art or photography and so forth.

4. Choose Marketing Channels

Your message will be most effective on specific channels depending on the target audience you’re trying to reach. This requires some research to determine if your audience is swayed by social, email or content marketing, just to name a few.

5. Estimate Marketing Costs

A marketing budget is a forecast of how much you think you’ll spend. But once that budget has been approved, you’ll have to stick with it, so it’s imperative that your estimates are accurate. There are many techniques to help you estimate your marketing costs, from revenue-based to competition-matched, top-down and goal-driven. You might also use a combination of these techniques.

6. Develop a Marketing Budget

Once you’ve gone over these five steps, you can begin to put together your budget with the resources and costs you’ve determined. These will have to be tied to the larger marketing plan. For example, resources will have to align with a schedule so teams have what they need when they need them. The marketing budget is part of the marketing plan and will develop together.

Marketing Budget Allocation

Marketing budget allocation is the maximum you can spend on a marketing plan. That money has to reach the target audience and provide leads, sales and other KPIs that will deliver a return on investment (ROI) for the company.

The marketing budget allocation is how much funding is designated for each expenditure line in the budget. As noted above, it’s a figure that the marketing budget cannot exceed. If you don’t put a marketing budget allocation into your marketing budget, you can end up spending more than your revenues.

A marketing budget allocation is used to estimate revenues and expenditures over a time period. Management uses this when planning and figuring out how to allocate their resources for the best results. The financial limit set by the marketing budget allocation cannot be exceeded.

The marketing budget is usually done annually, though it can be quarterly, and revenues are estimated to determine how many resources will be employed over that budgetary period. This informs the budget allocation, which is usually divided into departments and program units, which makes it easier to identify necessary resources.

Tracking Your Marketing Budget

The idea of tracking your budget is an essential part of managing the marketing initiative. You’ve spent a lot of time and effort planning the budget, but that doesn’t mean your work is done. A marketing budget, like any part of your larger marketing plan, is not chiseled in stone. It’s a living document that must be constantly reviewed and revised.

First, create a baseline or benchmark for the budget. That is, you have to capture those planned costs and expenditures so you have something to compare against when you’re executing your marketing plan. Without taking this step, you could overspend. For example, if you don’t know your photography budget and the photographer comes back with more costs, you’re going over budget.

That doesn’t mean that costs are frozen, but having a baseline means you know when you’re going over your budget and can adjust the scope of your campaign or the schedule to make up for the added funds spent in photography, as in our example.

Everyone on the marketing team is going to have money earmarked for their tasks, but the marketing manager has the final say. The team can have some anatomy, but for efficiency and transparency, there should be a centralized purchasing process in which the manager is in control.

It’s also best to have software that delivers real-time data. You don’t want to know that money was spent days ago, you need that information immediately. Having real-time data means managers can make more insightful decisions when managing their budgets.

Marketing Budget Template

While a marketing budget template isn’t going to give you real-time data and will require you to manually input all your financial information for the marketing campaign, it’s still a good start if you don’t have project management software. Our free marketing budget template for Excel is a great tool to help you manage your budget. You can break up your spending over quarters and view the year-to-date spending against your total yearly budget.

ProjectManager's free marketing budget template for Excel.ProjectManager's free marketing budget template for Excel.
ProjectManager’s free marketing budget template for Excel.

Use our free marketing budget template to organize the money you’ve allocated to marketing initiatives, whether paid advertising, sponsored web content, marketing personnel and so forth. You can use our free marketing budget template as a strategic tool when spending across your marketing channels. Use our free marketing budget template when you strategize your marketing for the year and turn creative ideas into financial realities.

ProjectManager Tracks Marketing Budgets

Unlike templates, ProjectManager is online project management software. That means our tool updates in real time and even automates workflows that you set up. We have task approval settings to ensure that nothing moves forward until it’s been reviewed for quality assurance.

Schedule Your Marketing Campaigns

While marketing managers want to use robust Gantt charts to schedule marketing campaigns, not everyone uses this tool to execute their work. Our multiple-project view means you can use what you want and all views are updated in real time. For example, a calendar view captures events that are easy to see at a glance.

ProjectManager's calendar viewProjectManager's calendar view
Track Marketing Costs In Real Time

Of course, seeing events and activities is important, but so is tracking that work. It’s how you keep to your budget. Once you set a baseline on your marketing plan, you can view planned versus actual effort on the real-time dashboard. No setup is required. You get a high-level view of six metrics whenever you want, from costs to workload and more.

dashboard showing project metrics in real-timedashboard showing project metrics in real-time
Manage Teams, Time & Resources

There are a lot of ways to spend money on a marketing campaign, and marketing managers have to stay on top of all of them. Resources can be tracked on the Gantt chart while human resources can be balanced on the workload chart. To keep track of how much time your team is spreading on their tasks, use our secure timesheets. They not only streamline payroll but help you keep track of invaluable time.

Timesheet view in ProjectManagerTimesheet view in ProjectManager

Marketing budgets fund a variety of departments and even outside vendors. You can connect sales, marketing and your art department as well as any contractors on our collaborative platform. Anyone can share files, add comments and tag other team members to get their input. It’s all done in real time so whether you’re working in the office, at home or anywhere, you’re able to work better together.

ProjectManager is award-winning software that helps marketing departments plan, schedule and track their campaigns in real time. Plan and track time and budgets to keep your costs in control. Join teams at NASA, Siemens and Nestle who use our software to save money. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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Defining & Implementing Approval Workflows

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Never overlook quality. If you get your deliverables completed on time but not up to the expectations of your stakeholders, you’re in trouble. An approval workflow can help ensure quality and it can even streamline processes when it’s part of a larger automated workflow.

There are different types of approval workflows, and not all are automated. After learning the definition, you can choose the one that will be best for your processes. Let’s take a look at what an approval workflow is and how automating approval workflows can help you work better and more efficiently.

What Is an Approval Workflow?

An approval workflow is a way to route something to an individual with the authority to move that item to the next stage in production. It’s part of a workflow that can be done manually or automatically. This helps ensure quality through the pipeline but also avoids backlogs on needed approvals.

The logical sequence of tasks is interrupted by an approval workflow in that the work stops until that task has been approved by the designated person. Automating workflows reduces bottlenecks and boosts efficiency, which improves workplace productivity.

The person with authority to approve work is usually the direct manager of whatever team is doing that work, but it can also be a quality assurance person or a cross-department manager depending on the process. There can be many or few approvals in the workflow depending on the scope of the product and organization.

By automating tasks and adding approval workflows, businesses can help teams work more productively while making sure that the quality of the work remains at a high standard. ProjectManager is online software that automates workflows and has task approval settings to streamline work. Add task approvals to your custom workflow or alongside automation to set up an approver before statuses can be updated. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's workflow approvalProjectManager's workflow approval
ProjectManager automates workflows and task approvals to keep you productive. Learn more

Types of Approval Workflows

There are many different types of workflow structures but we’ll start with a task submission portal. This is where a document, purchase order or some sort of task is submitted so a stakeholder, manager or approver can sign off on it.

That leads to defining who those approvers are in the workflow. For example, many software tools with automation have a way to grant a specific person the right to edit or view or administer the submission.

The approval workflow usually has a deadline to avoid backlogs, bottlenecks and delays. Often when submitted for approval, the task will trigger a notification to alert the approver that the work is ready for their review.

There are various types of approval workflows, each employed to provide greater efficiency for organizations’ processes. They allow the work to continue moving forward without delay while not neglecting the quality of the work that passes through an approval workflow. There are three main types of approval workflows.

1. Process Approval Workflow

This process of approval is employed when working with predictable and repeatable tasks. This workflow is best used in processes where team members know the result they want to achieve and have a clear path to reach that goal. For example, in document approval, the process approval workflow is commonly employed.

2. Project Approval Workflow

If you require a more flexible workflow, you’ll likely use a project approval workflow. This workflow is also suitable for tasks with defined goals, however, unlike a process approval workflow, the path to achieving these goals isn’t clear. This approval workflow is often used in creative projects as the end is known but how to get there is more collective improvisation. Take, for example, marketing campaigns, which have specific goals and must attain key performance indicators (KPIs), but how those KPIs are reached isn’t clear and may take multiple attempts.

3. Case Approval Workflow

Some workflows have no clear path. In such a workflow, you’d apply a case approval workflow. This is an ideal workflow when the goal isn’t defined when the team starts its work but comes into clear focus as they work through additional information in the process of working. To better understand a case approval workflow, think of an insurance claim. The outcome of an insurance claim isn’t clear until more information is gathered as it moves through its process.

Automating Approval Workflows

As mentioned, approval workflows can be done manually or the process can be automated. In the latter case, automating approval workflows move items through the workflow by triggering a response once a certain action is completed.

Manual approval processes are problematic. This can cause conflicting feedback, lack of clarity in terms of who has authority when there are multiple reviewers, miscommunication of goals, too many revisions, missed deadlines and more. Automated approval workflows can avoid those speed bumps and keep workflows moving smoothly forward.

Automating approval workflows ensures the process has accountability and stays productive. This is something organizations of any size can benefit from. But first, the steps of a workflow must be clearly defined. Consider how submissions are requested, the criteria that must be met for the task to get approval, who those approvers are throughout the workflow, the route of submissions after approval or rejection, etc.

Benefits of Approval Workflow

The main benefit of using an approval workflow is that it streamlines your processes. It improves efficiency by moving items faster through the pipeline and results in fewer mistakes by defining the steps of that workflow, approval and ensuring everyone on the team is focused on their work.

It also makes sure that the item has been properly approved and that the approval has been promptly delivered. This helps teams meet their deadlines whether the task has one or multiple approvers.

There are also fewer errors when working with an approval workflow. Automation makes sure that approvals only happen when the criteria for approvals have been met. That means fewer errors get through that’ll have to be repaired later causing delays. This saves time and avoids costly and frustrating corrections.

Automation is also a way to improve communication in terms of tracking the task status and ensuring the team is aware of updates or pending approvals. This type of transparency in the process helps avoid misunderstandings that further delay the process.

Related: Free Communication Plan Template for Word

Bottlenecks are common issues in workflows and cause delays and frustration. Approval workflows reduce these costly blocks through automation. For example, if there are many approvers on a task, the automated approval workflow can be set up to send all the approvers a request to move the task forward faster.

Another plus is that automation leads to greater consistency, which is a way to streamline processes. It ensures that anything that’s automatically approved has met the criteria and policy of the organization. Automating this process speeds up the workflow as manual reviews are no longer required.

Best Practices for Approval Workflow

The first and possibly most important aspect of any approval workflow is making sure you’ve chosen who has the authority to make approvals. The whole process rests on this decision. Even in automated approval workflows, the approver is the safeguard against anything that doesn’t meet your approval criteria.

Automation is suggested, especially when dealing with multiple approvers. As noted, it can send approval notices to all approvers at once. It’ll also help you identify redundancies in your workflow, which can be deleted to further streamline the process.

Setting due dates helps avoid delays, not just for the task to be complete, but for approval and feedback, too. To make sure these due dates aren’t lost in the shuffle, look for a tool that has automated notifications that send either emails or alerts in the application.

ProjectManager and Approval Workflows

ProjectManager is online project management software with workflow automation and task approvals. Create custom workflows and designate an approval for better task management. Approvals can be set to automate a specific action and streamline workflows for greater productivity.

Streamline Repetitive Tasks With Workflow Automation

The first step to approval workflows is clearly defining the phases of your work. Custom workflows help you set rules that direct the path tasks must take. They’ll also define the users who can change the status or move tasks forward. Custom workflows and task approvals can be automated by defining triggers that set forth certain actions. Set triggers for status, priority, progress and others that can assign a user, remove a user, set priority, process percentage and more.

ProjectManager's workflow automationProjectManager's workflow automation
Get Real-Time Notifications to Stay on Top of Approvals

In order to streamline workflows, approvers must know when a task has been sent to them for approval. Our notifications allow users to see these alerts in real time. They’re instantly sent to your inbox, but also create an alert in the software so you don’t have to leave the tool and interrupt your workflow. You can customize notifications to do more than just alert you when approvals are needed, but also when assigned to a task, progress updates, changes in due dates and more.

ProjectManager's notifications ProjectManager's notifications

Another feature that helps you with workflow is real-time data, which informs better decision-making. Get a high-level view of the project with our live dashboard. There’s no configuration required, just toggle over to see your progress in terms of costs, time, workload and more. For more information, customizable reports focus on what you want to see. They can be easily shared with stakeholders to keep them updated.

ProjectManager is award-winning software that automates workflows and sets approval settings to keep teams productive by freeing them up from manual and repetitive tasks. Other features manage risk and resources to further keep you on track. Join teams at NASA, Siemens and Nestle who use our software to deliver success. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM): Understanding ROM Estimates

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No one needs to tell you that projects cost money. But how much they’ll cost is an open question. The closer you can come to an accurate forecast of project costs, the more likely you’ll deliver a successful project. Rough order of magnitude (ROM) can help you better estimate project costs.

But what is ROM and how can you calculate ROM estimates? We’ll explain the process, define the term and detail the steps for making a rough order of magnitude estimate. It’s a great tool for determining the costs of your project because, though it’s not 100 percent accurate, it’s statistically on target and better than basing the budget on your gut.

What Is a Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM)?

As noted, the rough order of magnitude is a technique to estimate project costs. It’s common in many types of projects from strategy development to implementation projects. You’ll also find it being used in IT projects and construction projects.

Rough order of magnitude is applied during the preparation of a project, such as the initiation phase when creating the business case for the project. It’s key to determining what financial resources are needed and outlined in the project charter.

Understandably, stakeholders and decision-makers want a sharp picture of their investment before moving forward with a project. Rough order of magnitude gives them at least a rough estimate of how much the project will spend and how much it can potentially earn.

But how accurate is a ROM estimate? According to the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK), ROM estimates are -25 percent to +75 percent accurate, though others say its range is +/-50 percent. You can use both ranges to find a more conservative cost forecast.

Whatever estimate you come up with after doing a rough order of magnitude, you’ll need to track those costs as they accrue to keep to your budget. ProjectManager is online project management software that helps you plan your budget, schedule resources and track them in real time. Schedule your costs on our interactive Gantt chart and then set a baseline to capture your planned budget to compare it to your actual budget. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chartProjectManager's Gantt chart
ProjectManager’s Gantt charts help you schedule and track costs. Learn more

What Is a ROM Estimate?

A rough order of magnitude estimate is a calculation that requires a formula. That formula is twofold to capture an upper boundary and lower boundary range. The formulas are below.

Upper Boundary = ROM Estimate x (1 + 75 percent) = ROM Estimate x 1.75
Lower Boundary = ROM Estimate x (1 – 25 percent) = ROM Estimate x 0.75

While the equations are fairly straightforward, figuring out the ROM estimate or the range can be difficult. You can do it with established estimation techniques, which we’ll discuss a bit further down the blog.

However, rough order of magnitude is usually done in the early phases of a project when a lot of the data you need for estimating techniques might not be available. Therefore, the ROM estimate is based on a high-level expert judgment and can also be done with three-point estimating (defined below).

How to Make a ROM Estimate

By this point, you’ll likely think that ROM estimating isn’t as accurate as you first thought. The truth is that the technique is less a mathematical certainty than a kind of art. The formula above is easy to follow, but it takes an artist’s touch to define its accuracy. This is especially true when determining the ROM estimate.

While there’s a way to make a ROM estimate, it requires some experience, knowledge and finesse to get the most out of the technique. In fact, there are different ways to do a ROM estimate depending on the project and the techniques you use, though analogous estimating tends to be preferred.

A good starting point is to incorporate a number of factors, even guessing. You can use your gut to figure out a range of resources needed in the project. Not that you’ll pull this number from thin air, but instead you’ll use the data you’ve established for the project to make a guesstimate based on that and your experience.

Related: Free Resource Plan Template for Excel

As you work on your ROM estimate, seek expert opinions. Look to those who manage similar projects or executives in the organization who might have a unique perspective on the costs. They can help you process the project data you have and add valuable insights.

The goal of a ROM is only a rough estimate, with a variance of about -25 percent to +75 percent, but is fairly accurate. Don’t cherrypick the estimate that best suits your project as it invalidates the work you’ve put into the ROM estimate. To avoid bias, lean on research and real data to guide you.

Remember, the ROM estimate is merely the starting point. It provides a base on which you can build an accurate cost forecast. A range is always a good window through which to look at the cost landscape for the project. You can only build your estimate from existing data, though there’s information that’ll be missing, it’s a start.

Techniques to Estimate ROM

We’ve given you general guidelines but left out specifics. When trying to figure out what the ROM estimate is you can apply several techniques. As mentioned, the analogous tends to be the most popular, though parametric and some others are also used.

You can use one or a combination of estimating techniques to help you establish the ROM estimate. The project manager is usually the one to make a ROM estimate, but they should seek guidance from experts and technical leads depending on the type of project.

Parametric Estimating

Parametric estimating uses unit rates from previous projects that are similar to the one you’re initiating. This helps determine what the costs will be for a new project. This is an estimating technique most useful when you have a lot of data from old projects and the new project is very similar in scope. You can then use the same formula for the new project as the older ones.

Analogous Estimating

Analogous estimating uses data from similar projects from the past but in a more general way. This technique is best when looking at duration and forecasting costs for a new project that’s similar to older ones. It’s also a technique that’s used when there is fewer data about the new project. Comparisons include scope, costs, duration and more, though mostly analogous estimating is used solely for duration and costs. However, projects change and often the past project isn’t as clear a forecast for the new one.

Three-Point Estimating

Three-point estimating has three ratings for estimating: optimistic, realistic and pessimistic. This three-pronged approach helps to accommodate for uncertainty in estimating projects. To calculate three-point estimating, first, define the terms: optimistic assumes no risk, pessimistic assumes the risk and most likely is a more realistic occurrence of the risk. Then you figure out the average: E = (O + M + P) /3. Another equation is used in PERT, which stands for program evaluation and review technique. It takes a weighted average of the three values: E = (O + 4M + P) /6. The only issue is your data must be accurate.

Bottom-Up Estimating

Another way to measure cost and duration in a project is bottom-up estimating, which aggregates the components of the lower level of your work breakdown structure (WBS). But using the most minute level of the project can provide a more accurate forecast by showing project managers the available elements of the project prior to starting the project. Because it’s looking at everything related to the project’s needs, it’s usually the most accurate measurement of the project’s costs.

ROM Estimate vs. Definitive Estimate

A ROM estimate isn’t the same as a definitive estimate, though both can be applied to the estimating process. A ROM estimate is done in the early phase of a project and has a variance of -25 percent to +75 percent. As its name says, it’s a rough estimate of the project’s costs.

A definitive estimate is more accurate as the title implies. Its variance of accuracy is -5 percent to -10 percent. Another difference is unlike the rough order of magnitude, the definitive estimate requires that you use a bottom-up estimation approach. This forecast is made during the planning phase of a project and because it’s so detailed is time-intensive.

Rough Order of Magnitude Example

We’ve talked a lot about ROM in the abstract but it can help to look at a practical example. Our rough order of magnitude example is building an app. First, you look into previous apps with similar functionality that you worked on to help you determine a timeframe.

Then look at your expenses, such as the teams you’ll have to employ to execute the design, engineering and marketing of the new app, any software they’ll need to do their jobs, etc. This will give you the ROM estimate.

Then you’ll plug in your data to get a range of the level of effort. This range will be from small, say 20 hours over two weeks at a cost of $1,000 to high, which could be around 200 hours over two months, costing $10,000.

Using a rough order of magnitude to calculate this range helps you better define the number of costs related to the project, how many people you might need and the duration. You can further narrow that window by seeking expert guidance, historical data and other estimation techniques.

ProjectManager Helps With ROM Estimates

Being able to accurately estimate is the first step. A rough order of magnitude estimate helps you plan better, but once that plan is executed you have to keep to your budget. ProjectManager is online project management software that helps you monitor costs in real time. Risk management features allow you to identify and track issues that can lead to overspending. Collaborative tools mean everyone is working off the most current data. But that’s only the start.

Track Costs With Real-Time Dashboards

Project managers need a high-level view of their project whenever they want it. Our real-time dashboard requires no setup, as in other lightweight competitors, and automatically captures and calculates six project metrics, including costs. These are displayed in easy-to-read graphs and charts. For more details, use our customized reporting tools, which can be easily shared with stakeholders to keep them updated.

ProjectManager's dashboard with cost graph closeupProjectManager's dashboard with cost graph closeup
Monitor Your Team’s Workload

It’s easy to go over your budget if you’re not managing your resources. Our resource management features help you see your team’s availability, including PTO and global holidays, which makes assignments easy. But if you over-task one team member, you’re not managing your resources properly. You risk burnout, which is costly. Our workload chart shows is color-coded so you can quickly see who has too many assignments and who has too few. Then balance their workload right from the chart and boost productivity and keep costs in line.

ProjectManager's workload chart with assignment popupProjectManager's workload chart with assignment popup

Being able to accurately estimate your costs with techniques such as ROM are essential tools to set up your project for success. ProjectManager is software that helps you deliver that project on time and within the costs you estimated. You can’t keep to your budget if you’re unable to see real-time data, which is why our tool is preferred by project management professionals worldwide.

ProjectManager is award-winning software that helps you plan, schedule and track project costs, duration and more. Our unlimited file storage allows you to also use our tool as a centralized hub for all your project documentation. Task management features keep you on track and timesheets help you track the time your team spends on tasks. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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10 Free Manufacturing Excel Templates

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Manufacturing requires a lot of attention to detail and coordinating various moving parts to deliver the final product. In order to accomplish those goals and meet a tight deadline and an even tighter budget, you need these 10 free manufacturing Excel templates.

ProjectManager has dozens of free templates to download. We curated our template page to select 10 of the essential manufacturing templates for Excel that all manufacturers can benefit from. It doesn’t hurt that they’re free, either.

A production schedule is how you ensure that you get your product into the hands of your customers on time. But a schedule is similar to keeping a lot of balls in the air. You have to juggle your employees and their work schedule, vendors and suppliers, materials, maintenance of your machinery and more.

ProjectManager's production schedule template, a Manufacturing Excel TemplateProjectManager's production schedule template, a Manufacturing Excel Template

Our free production schedule template for Excel is a gift to manufacturers. It helps put all of the pieces of your manufacturing schedule together in such a way that you’re on time. There are places to note the order status, product variations and quantity, but also starting and ending inventory, ship date and much more.

A production schedule template is an essential part of your supply chain management. It helps you manage your resources effectively and even supports the sales team as they know when products will be delivered and available for sale.

Gantt charts have been essential project management tools for over a century. Project managers across all industries have flocked to them to organize tasks and resources. They are best for traditional projects, such as manufacturing, which follow a more waterfall type of methodology.

Screenshot of the free Gantt chart template in ProjectManager, a Manufacturing Excel Template

Screenshot of the free Gantt chart template in ProjectManager, a Manufacturing Excel TemplateOur free Gantt chart template for Excel helps you organize all the tasks in your manufacturing cycle. It captures the start date, end date and duration. But more than that, it then translates those columns of numbers into a visual timeline that you can color code to make it easy to see the different stages of your manufacturing process.

The Gantt chart is the cornerstone of any project schedule. You can share the Gantt chart with stakeholders so they have a picture of the manufacturing process. If there are changes, you can input them manually and the timeline adjusts accordingly.

Just as a car has a dashboard so the driver can see how fast the car is traveling, how much gas is left and more, manufacturing projects need a tool to give teams a view of their work to better manage it. What you get is a high-level view of your manufacturing process whenever you want it.

Project Dashboard Template, a Manufacturing Excel TemplateProject Dashboard Template, a Manufacturing Excel Template

Using our free dashboard template for Excel provides you with four metrics to measure your manufacturing process. You can see the percentage complete of all tasks in your schedule, your team’s workload, the length of tasks and even project costs. All of these are displayed in easy-to-read graphs and charts.

This manufacturing Excel template is a free tool that can help you capture anomalies in your production cycle so you can respond to them quickly and avoid costly delays. It’s a great tool for any production manager to get a glimpse of the progress and performance of the manufacturing process in one place.

Resources are what make manufacturing work, and a resource plan is how you organize and manage your resources for greater productivity. Resources can mean equipment, tools and materials. But the most important resource is your employees.

ProjectManager's resource plan template, a Manufacturing Excel TemplateProjectManager's resource plan template, a Manufacturing Excel Template

When you use our free resource plan template for Excel you can set up your resources by your team instead of their rate and the cost you’ve budgeted for their work. Then you can schedule them across the week or month and manage your resources more effectively.

Now you have the means to align your resources with your schedule and stay on budget. This resource plan template should be part of your larger planning phase. Use it with a scheduler and budget to develop a well-rounded project plan that keeps you on track.

To keep your employees productive, you need to know their workload. ProjectManager is online software that tracks your team’s workload in real time. Our resource management tools help you track availability, but once assigned the workload chart is color-coded to make it easy to see who is over or under-allocated. Then you can balance their workload right from the chart and keep them productive. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Workload chart with assignment popupProjectManager's Workload chart with assignment popup
ProjectManager has resource management tools to keep your employees productive. Learn more

Getting your manufacturing project off the ground involves turning an idea into a plan and then taking action. An implementation plan helps you create the steps that will lead to the manufacturing of your final product. Planning is key to delivering your product on time and within budget.

ProjectManager's implementation plan template, a Manufacturing Excel TemplateProjectManager's implementation plan template, a Manufacturing Excel Template

In order to do that, you can use our free implementation plan template for Excel. Our free template helps you define the strategy, process and actions necessary to create your final deliverable. The implementation plan template helps you turn your strategic plan into something real.

There are places to detail the manufacturing information, such as the manager, stakeholders, etc. The spreadsheet is divided into three, first where you show the strategy, then the process and finally the actions you’ll take to fulfill that strategy. There’s a timeline and planned hours, too, to estimate how long the work will take.

When you contract with outside vendors, you need a work order to address the labor, tools and materials that’ll be needed to complete the job. The work order can also show the contractor how to do the work, which can be very important in complex manufacturing projects.

ProjectManager's work order template, a Manufacturing Excel TemplateProjectManager's work order template, a Manufacturing Excel Template

Manufacturers will want to download our free work order template for Excel. It standardizes the relationship between manufacturers and contractors as well as details the job, due dates and much more. This governing document also sets the pricing for the work contracted.

You’ll want to use this manufacturing Excel template with an external worker. In fact, the template should be filled in when you’re assigning the task to collect all the details surrounding that work to make sure it’s clear for all involved.

You can’t complete a project if you don’t have the money to finance the manufacturing. Those financial details must be created early and cover all the costs necessary to manufacture the product, from labor to materials and everything in between.

ProjectManager's budget template, a Manufacturing Excel TemplateProjectManager's budget template, a Manufacturing Excel Template

When you use our free project budget template for Excel you’re able to cover all the financial bases and help get a better return on your investment. There are spots to collect the labor and material costs, including planned and actual hours, dollars per hour, unit cost and more. There’s also space for other line items to make sure your budget addresses all costs.

You’ll also have a place to view the budget again the actual costs, with a column showing how much over or under budget you are. This is essential data if you want to deliver your manufacturing project under or at a budget to make or increase your profits.

Managing your inventory is key to manufacturing. If you don’t know your stock, you’re not going to be able to build your products without costly delays. In order to keep track of what’s in your warehouse so you can better plan your manufacturing, you need to know your inventory.

ProjectManager's inventory template, a Manufacturing Excel TemplateProjectManager's inventory template, a Manufacturing Excel Template

That’s where this manufacturing Excel template comes in. It’s a customizable spreadsheet with columns to capture the inventory number, name and description of the material or part, including unit price, quantity and whether it’s in stock.

There’s even a pulldown menu to note whether you have to reorder the item. The reorder level column allows you to avoid the stock falling so low that you can’t continue the manufacturing process and gives you time to reorder and restock before anything is delayed.

Sourcing materials or parts when manufacturing is one of the many factors you have to include in your planning. Having an effective purchase order pipeline helps to streamline your manufacturing and reduce issues. If issues arise, provide a paper trail to track them.

ProjectManager's purchase order template, a Manufacturing Excel TemplateProjectManager's purchase order template, a Manufacturing Excel Template

You can help achieve those goals with our free purchase order template for Excel. It helps you track delivery information, such as the name of the vendor you’re working with, their contact information, shipping information as well as the date the goods are scheduled for delivery.

You’ll also be able to list the inventory that you’re purchasing. The items are broken down by name, description, quantity, and unit price and there’s a line total so you’re always clear on what you spending and what you’re getting for those costs.

Risk is what might happen within your project, whether it’s for the better or worse. Being able to identify what that could be and how you’ll respond to it is risk management, which is how you keep to your manufacturing schedule.

ProjectManager's risk register template, a Manufacturing Excel TemplateProjectManager's risk register template, a Manufacturing Excel Template

To capture all that data and have it on hand when you need it, there’s our free risk register template for Excel. It identifies all the risks to your manufacturing process and describes what might happen and its impact. There’s also a place to add risk response, note the level of risk and determine who’s responsible for resolving it if it in fact occurs.

You’ll want to set up your risk register template early in the planning stage and refer to it throughout the manufacturing cycle. Now you have a document that tells you what to do and even if you need to do something. Remember, not all risks are bad, they just impact manufacturing. Good risks can be taken advantage of, but you can’t do a thing without our free risk register template for Excel.

Get More Than Templates Can Provide With ProjectManager

We encourage you to download every template on this list. Go to our site and look over the dozens more project management templates we have to help manage your work. But templates can only go so far. They’re static documents and require manual updates to be effective. ProjectManager is software that delivers real-time data for more insightful decision-making. We have features that work together in ways that templates can’t. From task management and risk management to resource management, we’ve got you covered.

Plan Your Manufacturing Process on Interactive Gantt Charts

Instead of a static Gantt chart template, plan on our online Gantt chart. You can organize your tasks, assign team members and even link dependent tasks to avoid delays. More than that, you can even filter for the critical path without any lengthy calculations. Once you set the baseline, you’ve captured your planned effort and can compare it to your actual effort in real time. Your teams can see the same information across our multiple project views, such as list, calendar and sheet views or kanban board to visually track your workflow.

ProjectManager's Gantt chartProjectManager's Gantt chartTrack Progress and Performace With Real-Time Dashboards

To make sure you’re progressing as planned, you need a tool that gives you a high-level view of the manufacturing process. Our real-time dashboards do just that. They automatically collect live project data and display them in easy-to-read graphs and charts. That way, you can see your costs, time, tasks, workload and more when you need to. There’s no setup necessary, and customizable reporting tools give you more detail when you need it. Then share these reports with stakeholders to keep them updated.

dashboard showing project metrics in real-timedashboard showing project metrics in real-time

That’s only a short tour of some of our features. Manufacturers love our automation, which allows you to set as many triggers as you need that’ll result in a specific action. That frees up your team to focus on more important work. Managers can create task approvals to make sure nothing slips past them and quality is ensured. There are even recurring tasks. We streamline manufacturing and give you more control to deliver success.

ProjectManager is an award-winning software for managing any project. Our collaborative platform connects your teams and gives you access to the manufacturing floor no matter where you are or what time it is. Join teams at NASA, Siemens and Nestle who are using our tool to empower their teams. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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