November 26, 2010

By Bill Harrison

Wherever I go, everyone is on the cost reduction warpath.  Folks are looking at every possible way to reduce costs and expenses.  There are major efforts to reduce what is being spent – for materials, cell phone usage, insurance, salaries/wages, supplies, etc.  These efforts are worthwhile and I have encouraged such activities.

But are you focused like a laser on your major cost/expense – mediocre or poor production?

That is correct, your greatest hit to the bottom line comes from poor or mediocre production – nothing else comes near.  Don’t believe it?  Just visit a job site or your office operations and look carefully – loss of production will be very obvious.  Then calculate the salaries/wages involved, and the time, and total up the cost.  Or, calculate the total cost of your last production mistake; some are being covered up – guaranteed.  

We permitted lots of bad habits during “the good times”; now it is essential to change those habits.  We have no other alternatives.

Start with the plans; expect to find errors.  Make certain the foreman, superintendent, PM and any other plans whiz you can find knows the plans – cold!  Make the time to get the plans scrutinized and get your RFIs in early; before the job starts.

Don’t just get the schedule and put it in a drawer; know it and figure out how to meet it.  Of course it is difficult to do that, but it must be done.  You must know when a delay claim is appropriate and justified.

Get the right field supervision and office manage-ment on the job.  Most folks fail because they are in over their head and afraid to ask for help.  Get folks experienced with the work they are being asked to do or monitor them daily.

Forget about bodies to man the job; know what skill sets are essential.  Not every mechanic is equal in talent.  Most crew mixes are abysmal, just numbers of people.  Throwing more bodies at it doesn’t cut it.

Insist on “A or B player” performance from everyone – and I mean everyone!  If you are not getting it; let them know exactly what you need and when it needs to kick in.  Anyone not getting it becomes a free agent; even relatives.

Copyright 2010 by PLI, Inc.
The Phoenix Leadership Institute, Inc.
P. O. Box 1403, Centreville, VA 20122
Tel: 703-909-8230, Fax: 703-743-1644
e-mail: wiharrison@comcast.net

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