This week I am borrowing a blog post from Grocorp.co in the US who produce an app to measure labour productivity on a construction project. Whether you use technology like this or pencil and paper, the principles are the same. What you can measure you can manage. What you can manage you can change (for the better). With labour making up the majority of a construction project’s value, small efficiency gains can make a big difference to overall profitability, and client satisfaction.
In today construction economy with a shrinking skilled labor force and no robotics on the horizon you must make every opportunity to retain, train and reward your current crew.
“The days of managers yelling and threatening help are over, people don’t respond with maximum productivity to that abuse.
With today’s technology, production measuring is very simple and easy to show results. Each person has a head as well as a back and can make daily decisions about jobsite profitability if they have daily access to expectations and results.
Here’s why one accurate fact is worth a thousand opinions:
- Accurate measurements establish current reality. “How did we do today, Boss”? Can you answer that question with accurate facts? Every worker knows in his heart if he busted his butt, do you? Did we bust our butts doing the right things? Are we going to have enough left in the budget to finish the task at the rate we’re going? Everyone wants to know if their performance is acceptable. And everyone appreciates truthful recognition when they’re working hard and doing their best. The only way to answer these questions is to have up-to-date, accurate daily measurements that tell us where we are currently. Consistent, accurate daily measurements let’s everyone know how we did today.
- Accurate measurements create future production goals. With the information on how we did today, intelligent conversations will direct how we should work tomorrow. We will better plan for next week also. Informed workers foster greater teamwork, understanding the needs required for a successful task completion with less management involvement.
- Accurate measurements establish historical performance data for future estimating. If you want to create accurate estimates, you must have accurate data. With confidence in your production numbers, you no longer produce guesstimates but estimates that you can turn into a bid with confidence.
- Accurate measurements communicated properly will create an exciting and fun culture. Because of the natural human desire for feedback and recognition, and because most people enjoy a little competition, measurements can act as a motivator for team goal achievement. Everyone knows they’re on the same team, and everyone wants to be on a winning team.
When contractors are successful at labor production measurements, jobsite scheduling of each task becomes accurate and justifiable. Better planning and execution results in safer and less chaotic projects, with less arbitration and more communication. Every team member must be involved daily in the measuring process.
If you are not currently measuring labor production you will soon begin seeing your skilled help migrating to your competition who do measure, simply because it’s fun to work there and typically better money.
Steve Garber. Gocorp.co
Andy Burrows – The Trades Coach