ICT and SNIPS Magazine recently sponsored a webinar on the Construction Labor Productivity: How These Construction Managers Use Labor Tracking to Save Money, Build Success.
We had Guy Gast, President of The Waldinger Corporation – Iowa Division, and David Francis, CTO of ICT on hand for a discussion on this topic. In addition, Guy discussed the findings and objectives of recent reports issued by the New Horizons Foundation and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA).
Interviewed by Emell Adolphus, Editor of SNIPS Magazine, this four-part series covers many of the highlights of their discussion divided into the following topics:
- Part 1: Benefits of Productivity Tracking
- Part 2: Adopting and the ROI of Technology in the Field
- Part 3: Process and Best Practices
- Part 4: Impact of Implementing COVID-19 Protocols
Part 3: Process and Best Practices
What procedure do you use to hold people accountable to work within set processes?
Our production rates are still kind of mired in the old estimating system. What we are going to have to see change in the industry are ways of making those transfers and our contractors that have done that. But it is a lot of work to start shifting hours when your historical databases are based on an older methodology.
Well, at least for our company, and so I can’t speak broadly about the industry, but the key is to have standard processes. And to the extent that you can standardize the processes and get them ingrained in your company as best practices.
And we use that term, an awful lot around here, “best practices”. There are some days where I would go around and ask, “What do you think they are?” And frankly, I got different answers from different people.
But there are some that we would say are absolute gold standards in the industry and within our own company. Such as you must have meaningful short interval schedules, have solid estimate breakdowns, have standard cost codes. The field needs the ability to report against categories and the way they put the work in place. They need cost codes and activities that are of the right durations. In our case, I recommend no less than three days and no more than twenty. Twenty sometimes seems like a lot, but it depends on the activity. You must give the field guys the basis to report stuff, the way they are putting it in. If it’s hard to figure out what I spent my time on, it won’t get reported correctly.
This old guy told me once, “Know the score, keep the score, the score will improve.” Our people don’t run in the field from data, they are not afraid to talk about whether they are productive or not. And these folks are all learning together. Holding people accountable is about being willing to say, “Guy, what’s this? It’s not going very well, what’s up?” Some folks are afraid of that conversation. But you must be willing to have it. You must have the data. You need the data to have a good conversation.