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Productivity Ideas

 
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Old 10-24-2007, 08:01 AM   #1
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Productivity Ideas


Hello All,

I thought I'd start a thread regarding productivity so we can discuss ideas for everybody to enjoy (and use). I would preferably like to keep it limited to new technologies, tools, methods of construction, office productivity, and employee motivation.

I've recently began listening to productivity/motivational podcasts and playing them for employees during monthly meetings; do you think this could be effective? My ultimate goal is to motivate employees to feel like they are truly a key part of the company (which they are), so they will contribute toward the success of the company, and feel good about it.

As far as a technology goes, we recently asked some supt's (superintendents) about tools that might make them more productive. One of the answers was a grout pump, for grouting hm door frames. Although we do not yet know if it will be more efficient, or worth the investment, it was encouraging to hear ideas from the employees. Okay, its open for discussion!

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Old 11-01-2007, 02:17 AM   #2
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Re: Productivity Ideas


Tools.

Buy whatever tools are necessary to do the jobs right.


Supplies.

Have the CORRECT supplies on site.


Lunch.

If you have a bunch of guys on a job and you are going to be stopping by, BRING LUNCH. You will get back WAY more than the money you spend at Taco Bell. If your guys drive to lunch they will most certainly spend more than the 1/2 hour they write down. 4 or 5 guys = how much per MINUTE in real costs?

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Old 11-06-2007, 02:14 PM   #3
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Re: Productivity Ideas


Thanks for the reply. I honestly thought that this thread would evoke more of a response from people, but I guess if we had all the answers we wouldn't be posting in this forum eh? I think that bringing lunch to the guys on the site is a huge productivity booster. To do it on a Friday seems to work the best. Pizza is pretty easy, especially to get it delivered with the instructions "If you're not going to be there at noon sharp, you might as well not even show up!" to the delivery guy.

Of course, the right combination of tools and supplies is huge for productivity and bottom line (equipment cost), but I was hoping to get more "out of the box" responses. For example (not that I do this), opening the books on a project to all employees motivates them to work more productively/efficiently because they can see real costs and how they affect the bottom line.

-MB
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Old 11-06-2007, 02:19 PM   #4
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Re: Productivity Ideas


Quote:
Originally Posted by mbenike View Post
For example (not that I do this), opening the books on a project to all employees motivates them to work more productively/efficiently because they can see real costs and how they affect the bottom line.

-MB
Ummmm....No.

Most of the time, all that will accomplish is making the employees THINK you are making a killing off of their labor and them wanting a raise after seeing that you charge $X for their time, and pay them $X.
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Old 11-06-2007, 02:57 PM   #5
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Re: Productivity Ideas


Quote:
Originally Posted by mbenike View Post

I would preferably like to keep it limited to new technologies, tools, methods of construction, office productivity, and employee motivation.

My ultimate goal is to motivate employees to feel like they are truly a key part of the company (which they are), so they will contribute toward the success of the company, and feel good about it.


M Benike
You had stated that you only meet once a month.....that is twelve times a year that you have their undivided attention. Twelve hours out of two thousand working hours, it is tough to project any image to anyone with only that amount of limited time.

What about being a little lower tech and spending more time with your staff discussing productivity solutions.
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Old 11-06-2007, 03:10 PM   #6
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Re: Productivity Ideas


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Originally Posted by mbenike View Post
opening the books on a project to all employees motivates them to work more productively/efficiently because they can see real costs and how they affect the bottom line.

-MB
I am not sure of the logic there, showing someone your margins or losses that really has not be trained to understand them would likely be counterproductive I would think.
They just need to know that when they step on the gas the job goes forward and when they spin their tires doing nothing but make smoke it still takes gas....
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Old 11-07-2007, 11:44 AM   #7
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Re: Productivity Ideas


The idea of being low-tech and spending time discussing productivity solutions is something that we also do on more of a daily, job to job basis. Of course, daily conversations with the workers lead to more efficient solutions and a more streamline construction process. This meeting, however, is more than enough time in a year for the undivided attention from all of our superintendents; any more time would be a waste of money (all of our best people in a meeting for an hour is expensive). We discuss safety issues For example, a few months ago we discussed the possibility of going to mandatory safety glasses while working. We also discuss training, and get an update from each sup as to their current workload/manpower.

I certainly do not want to have everyone listen to a 3 minute podcast every meeting. It is simply something that I was doing at home and I wanted to share with everyone what I've been listening to. A discussion regarding ways to do things cheaper and faster is really what I would like to get to. Let's face it, the guys that are out there doing the physical work are the ones with the best ideas on how to perform better, cheaper, faster.

Construction productivity has always been a hot topic among statisticians. How can the productivity of the entire economy be increasing by about 3% a year (there was an article on Yahoo this morning stating a 4.9% increase over the July-Sept quarter), while the construction industry only posts modest productivity increases near 0.8%? Some even argue that construction productivity has been decreasing for the last 40 years.

How do we stay ahead of the industry-wide trend toward low productivity increases? The only real way to do it is either pay lower wages (less $ per unit output), find better technologies and methods (more output per $), or to allocate resources in a more efficient way. To me, lowering wages is not a viable option for unionized shops, which only leaves us with our minds to come up with ways to increase productivity. Damn.
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Old 11-07-2007, 12:03 PM   #8
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Re: Productivity Ideas


Quote:
Originally Posted by mbenike View Post
A discussion regarding ways to do things cheaper and faster is really what I would like to get to.
My methods I try to use involve 3 parts

#1 Always on the look out for new materials offering labor savings over old materials. (Example for you: Tile industry - went from skim coating mud walls in a shower to cement based products (CBU) to Gypsum based (DensShield)) By evaluating the latest materials and using new technology labor can be reduced and quality maintained in prepping a shower for tile.

#2 Training: Which is multi-part. You have to train on a system that is repeatable and systematic. (So first you have to create the systems) Create a method for installation that follows the same steps every time. There is two part gain not only in productivity but in quality. When there is a quantified system with identifiable steps there can be a measurement then applied to guaranteed quality.

#3 Incentivised Labor : Simply paying employees an hourly rate is the least effective method. Try Developing an incentivised pay plan that accomplishes your goals by rewarding the traits you want to promote in your company. If it's productivity reward based upon completion of measurable tasks, if it's quality, reward for low call backs and reward for measureable quality bench marks.

In my opinion anything that doesn't involve pieces of all 3 above will not result in long term productivity gains. As there is a dollar cost to employee dissatisfaction, haphazrd quality and loss of reputation. You can't just go out and yell everyday at guys and say you need to work faster. Ultimately all you will do is promote short-cutting.
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Old 11-07-2007, 03:25 PM   #9
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Re: Productivity Ideas


ps to above rewards.

reward those that learn to function autonomously.

ray
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:16 PM   #10
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Re: Productivity Ideas


Quote:
Originally Posted by send_it_all View Post
Ummmm....No.

Most of the time, all that will accomplish is making the employees THINK you are making a killing off of their labor and them wanting a raise after seeing that you charge $X for their time, and pay them $X.
This is easily the most intelligent post of 2007. There is no upside to discussing profits with employees.
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:19 PM   #11
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Re: Productivity Ideas


Piecework. Unfortunately most of you guys do custom, handcrafted work that requires a large set of skills to do. But if you do work that is predictable and repetitious, piecework is great.
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:58 PM   #12
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Re: Productivity Ideas


Quote:
Originally Posted by send_it_all View Post
Ummmm....No.

Most of the time, all that will accomplish is making the employees THINK you are making a killing off of their labor and them wanting a raise after seeing that you charge $X for their time, and pay them $X.

Quote:
Originally Posted by L. B. Condulet View Post
This is easily the most intelligent post of 2007. There is no upside to discussing profits with employees.
It WOULD be....if you were NOT paying the workers the same as you charge for them : you charge $X for their time, and pay them $X.
X=X

...you charge $X for their time, and pay them $X/Y would be more accurate.

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Old 11-30-2007, 05:15 PM   #13
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Re: Productivity Ideas


OK, I've posted on this before I think

About the job lunches listed above. Do it.

I provide lunches for all, on the job, every day. Lunch with coke or whatever drink. If it is provided on the jobsite for a legitimate business purpose it is fully (not just 50%) tax deductible.

You don't pick up and put away tools so they don't get stolen at lunch
You don't unpack and set up a second time after lunch
No-one comes back late
No-one comes back drunk
No-one fails to come back.
The entire crew is there at rest so that's the time to talk about anything and everything.
The crew feels they are getting something for free, they like that.

The money you save in lost time and productivity is paid back many times over.
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Old 11-30-2007, 08:05 PM   #14
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Re: Productivity Ideas


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I provide lunches for all, on the job, every day. Lunch with coke or whatever drink. If it is provided on the jobsite for a legitimate business purpose it is fully (not just 50%) tax deductible.

You don't pick up and put away tools so they don't get stolen at lunch
You don't unpack and set up a second time after lunch
No-one comes back late
No-one comes back drunk
No-one fails to come back.
The entire crew is there at rest so that's the time to talk about anything and everything.
The crew feels they are getting something for free, they like that.

The money you save in lost time and productivity is paid back many times over.
Verrrrrrrrrrrrrry intereskkkking... especially the tool packing and unpacking issue

Definitely some food for thought there.

Thom where do these lunches come from?
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Old 12-03-2007, 04:10 PM   #15
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Verrrrrrrrrrrrrry intereskkkking... especially the tool packing and unpacking issue

Definitely some food for thought there.

Thom where do these lunches come from?
In my case, I have my wife pick them up and bring them to the jobsite. Generally some type of fast food. Could be McD's, Subway, Carls Jr, Taco Bell, etc. My wife doesn't work except she is available to help me as needed. If she weren't available, I would send one guy, the bottom rung guy, to get lunch.
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Old 12-03-2007, 06:47 PM   #16
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Re: Productivity Ideas


Since we are subs and not builders, we rarely have more than one guy on a job, and in my case I may be on a job 3 hours a day. One of the things that I have found with my guys is don't bug them. Don't stop by everyday to see the progress, don't ask them when they are going to be done, don't tell them they need to do something faster, or finish by a certain day. They all know what is expected of them, and from my standpoint I would rather they did it once right, than have to do it twice. My boss pays for their parking if they can't park for free, on personal vehicles not just company trucks, he pays all parking tickets, we will go out of our way to get them the material they need, and we don't hesitate to provide them with whatever tools they need to get the job done. Since we are union, there are no paid holidays or vacations, but my boss gives every plumber on the payroll a thousand dollar bonus at Christmas and the week between Christmas and New Years day off.
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Old 12-03-2007, 07:43 PM   #17
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Re: Productivity Ideas


Quote:
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In my case, I have my wife pick them up and bring them to the jobsite. Generally some type of fast food. Could be McD's, Subway, Carls Jr, Taco Bell, etc. My wife doesn't work except she is available to help me as needed. If she weren't available, I would send one guy, the bottom rung guy, to get lunch.


hahaha, man, my wife would tell me to go **** myself. she's busy herself.

That is an interesting way to put lunchtime. I don't know many people who pack their tools up for lunch, though I work mostly country type stuff, not much happening there. I do agree that they will come back late if they leave, or smoke a bowl, drink a pint...
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Old 12-03-2007, 08:39 PM   #18
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Re: Productivity Ideas


That is an interesting way to put lunchtime. I don't know many people who pack their tools up for lunch, though I work mostly country type stuff, not much happening there. I do agree that they will come back late if they leave, or smoke a bowl, drink a pint...[/quote]


I don't think that's going to help productivity!
I was on a crew where the boss would bring drinks and snacks for breaks.Usually he would light up a bowl for the guys too.
I wasn't smoking then.so I'd have a blast watching that bunch keep going around in circles,taking measurements over 3 times before they make a wrong cut.
As far as rolling up tools,you'd roll out on their time and roll up on your own time.
Treating employees with the same respect you would give your own family helps.Working for guys that scream at you is counter productive.Massaging their ego helps.

Mike seems to have a good method going there.



AS far as this goes:

Construction productivity has always been a hot topic among statisticians. How can the productivity of the entire economy be increasing by about 3% a year (there was an article on Yahoo this morning stating a 4.9% increase over the July-Sept quarter), while the construction industry only posts modest productivity increases near 0.8%? Some even argue that construction productivity has been decreasing for the last 40 years.

I wonder how they get their figures.Is this the over all industry,commercial included?Union jobs? Could it be all the safety regulations and the increased complexity of construction that has kept these figures low?
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Old 07-25-2012, 01:22 AM   #19
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Re: Productivity Ideas


-"As far as rolling up tools,you'd roll out on their time and roll up on your own time."




for real?
the first time I worked for a guy that made me setup and put up tools for his job on my own time- I realized I was making a big mistake, and quit. When I was a contractor I would never ask someone to work for free. If he is setting up tools to work for me on my job- he is already working, what does it matter if its setting up a saw, or making a cut? it all work, and its for my profit? Do you make someone stop the clock when the go the bathroom? get real! where did this nonsense come from?
The best and I think easiest incentive program for employees is this-
1- hourly wage
2- profit ceiling + 15%. This means that you pay them an acceptable wage, then set a monthly ceiling for profit- lets say, $9000. You provide an open book to show them company earnings. If the company akes over $9000, then every dollar over that they get 15% of added profits.
Its a win win. They will work harder. You will still make more money. It worked for us till the company started getting greedy, and without notice dropped the program while I was awaiting a $700 monthly bonus for my incentive...
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:59 PM   #20
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When I was a contractor I would never ask someone to work for free.
What are you now?

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