Improve Efficiency and Job Readiness: Plan, Do, Check, Act
Decreasing cycle time and increasing business efficiency is vital to the success of home building companies, and an essential part of improving their bottom lines. With so many processes to complete at once, and often on tight deadlines, maintaining speed while improving quality performance can seem like an insurmountable challenge.
Best practices of the National Housing Quality program include taking on this issue with a time-saving, documented, quality assurance plan that reinforces job-ready conditions.
Help Trades Implement Good Habits
Job readiness starts with open, two-way communication.
The key to reducing cycle time and getting the job done right the first time includes breaking down the barriers to communication and reinforcing the terms up front.
How can a trade contractor know what is expected if those expectations haven’t been addressed? Since most trades work for more than one builder, there are varying practices that can become habit. What works for one builder might not apply to others, and vice versa.
Beyond a builder communicating his expectations, the trade contractor should also indicate his terms and what is needed from the builder to do the job well.
Approach Job Readiness as a Process, Not a Problem
Builders and their trade partners should discuss the terms at the start of the job and then document the requirements related to job readiness that are required before work can begin at each major stage. The scope of work should also include procedures for dealing with partially-ready jobs, including appropriate communications with home owners as needed.
When these conditions are not met, communication breaks down and progress comes to a halt.
Field managers should reinforce these requirements to prevent trade contractor overlap and improve safety as much as possible.
If several work crews are hovering over the same site waiting for their turn, it’s safe to assume that everyone involved is losing money. Hiring trades with a formal quality assurance process in place helps to ensure that job-ready conditions are met consistently.
Addressing job readiness as a process instead of a problem can help builders and trades identify and resolve issues that crop up again and again.
Eliminate Recurring Problems With ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act’
Instead of continuing to put out fires, apply the “Plan, Do, Check, Act” model as a guide to remedy the source of recurring problems.
- Plan — Plan how to meet expectations.
- Do — Perform the work accordingly.
- Check — Measure performance; confirm that the plan is being carried out properly.
- Act — Act on findings to continuously improve the plan and process.
To learn more about the NAHB Research Center’s National Housing Quality program, visit the NHQ Web pages, or contact Frank Alexander, NHQ Programs Director.
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