Increasing Labor Productivity

March 20, 2003

How much thought do you put into field labor productivity?

  • A portable toilet on every floor of a large, multi-story project will help prevent the walking time that creates half hour bathroom breaks.

  • During summer months, have a shaded rest area stocked with water close to the area where work is being done to prevent convenience store trips.

  • Use a proper crew mix for the project. A $60-$80/hour master plumber should never have to take a walk to get a part or a tool. A $10/hour helper should be doing such tasks.

  • Moving a crew from project to project reduces productivity more than you might think. Whenever possible, let a crew finish what they are doing before moving them to something else.
Try to convince the general contractor to accomodate these suggestions and to provide the amenities like water stations, as they will help to save money on the total project. If necessary, provide them yourself and monitor your own productivity rates. You should see that these expenses quickly pay for themselves and continue to benefit you with increased productivity and ultimately, increased profits.

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