Do It Right the First Time, Part 1

March 17, 2009

Operation “Do It Right the First Time”
By Bill Harrison

That is the sound of dollars being sucked out of your bottom line or even worse. The number one cause of that happening is not doing it right the first time. I have spent over three decades coaching in this industry and it has become crystal clear why companies do not optimize their profits or even have serious losses. Someone did not do something right the first time.

It could happen in any area of the company; and often happens in more than one. You have heard me say this many times: “Construction is not rocket science.” We will examine some areas that need immediate attention.

First is our hiring function. Many of my clients are growing and need more “bodies”. No, what they need are qualified team members. Shockingly, every applicant who walks through the door claims to be “qualified.” Being in the trade for eight years does not guarantee eight years experience. Devise a test – hands-on or written. Just walk them through your shop and ask about materials. Many “qualified” applicants do not even know basic material.

Let the field supervisor know who is hired, their supposed skill level, and their rate of pay. Failing to do that is not smart; despite what most companies do. A field supervisor can’t rate the new team member if they don’t know what they are earning. 

Second is our training program. For most companies training is a joke. We send someone out to the field and hope it works out OK. 99% of the companies in this industry have no formal training program. Can you imagine if the Armed Services operated that way? It would be a disaster; just as it is for your company. And please, do not try the lame excuse that you have an “on-the-job” training program. Unless it is a formal, written program you don’t have squat. You cannot go over to the local operating room and hang out there and learn to be a brain surgeon.

I have heard all the excuses for not having a sound training program. They are all lame.You must have a solid training program so we do it right the first time more consistently.

Next are our systems. It is difficult to be consistent if you have not created written procedures, checklists, etc. that guide team members through the process of doing it right the first time.

Every time there has been a major issue by not doing it right the first time, someone knew how to do it right; they just didn’t. Doing it right the first time normally takes a few extra minutes; at the most maybe an hour. When we don’t do it right the first time how much time does it take to do it over? Enough said. Let’s get whatever it takes to do it right the first time on paper. If it isn’t on paper you don’t have a system.   

Article Continued in Part 2

Copyright 2006 by PLI, Inc.
The Phoenix Leadership Institute, Inc.
P. O. Box 1403, Centreville, VA 20122
Tel: 703-909-8230, Fax: 703-743-1644


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