Continuous Improvement

Productivity normally is a function of activities which occur before the tool and the equipment get to the workman. 

Productivity is a function of the following:

  • Value systems which become a culture and not a bumper sticker. Ethics, commitment to customer and employees creates an environment in which productivity seems to thrive
  • People. 
    • Hiring the right people
    • Training the right people
    • Coaching and providing guidance to the right people
    • Setting an example for them by your own actions as managers
    • Motivating them
    • Providing a respectful  fear free environment and encouraging ideas for continued improvement
    • Creating an atmosphere in which they feel an ownership in the company
    • High standards  and Discipline
    • A check and balance system to assure the standards are being met
    • Having the most competent  field supervisory personnel in the region.
      • Best Practices Field Committee
  • Process. Everything in project is a process, a logical flow of activities.  Improvement occurs when that process, that flow of activities is evaluated to see which activities an be eliminated, or shortened, or improved. 
    • The most fertile areas for improvement relate to  process and making sure it is the most efficient.
    • Material handling (the entire supply chain) is a major component of the process and assuring that the right material gets to the right location at the right time is an essential element of productivity.  Continuously evaluating both the process and the execution of the process is en essential as up to and sometimes more than 40% of field labor is associated with material handling.
  • Planning and Coordination. Evaluating routinely how we are doing in the following activities:
    • Turnover by the Estimator
    • Pre-planning (even if a few minutes on the smaller jobs)
    • Short Interval Planning by field personnel is a planning function
    • Planning crew size
    • Work Flow.  Avoidance of stop and go due to material or equipment delays.
    • Earned value
    • Planning built in quality
    • Planning safety
    • Waste avoidance (Rework or standby is  waste, e.g.)
    • Planning close out
  • Execution and Control:
    • Perform that which has been planned
    • The Reliable Promise.  All projects are a series of promises.  The shop is promising to get the right tool to the field on time, and in good condition.  Procurement is promising to get the material there on time.   Top management is promising to provide the resources, training, market penetration to assure continuous job opportunities.  All are promising to live by the values of the company.  The concept of the reliable promise applies to each employee, from the president throughout the company.
    • Monitoring and Control Functions to assure that which has been planned is being performed as planned and to evaluate reasons for deviations
    • Teaching Moments”.  Guidance or coaching  is one of the most effective management methods for improvement of personnel.
  • Lessons Learned
    • During project and Post Mortems
  • Communication
    • Open communication in a wall-less company
    • Timely communication.  No gunny sacking.
    • Company unity
    • Mechanisms for suggestions from all employees
      • Feedback so they know their ideas have been considered
    • Effective use of electronic devices and digital technololgy
    • Improving the communication ability of all managers and supervisors
    • Avoidance of intemperate language in e-mails and correspondence
    • Effective use of daily reports
  • The Workman
  • Training
  • Recognition
  • Treatment with respect
  • Listening to his concerns and suggestions
  • Avoidance of turnover and absenteeism which an impact productivity as much as 20-40%.

Summary:  Someone said that freedom is like bread, you go on earning it day by day.  That is the same for productivity in a construction company.  You go only planning and executing it day by day, and each day trying to become a little better than the day before.