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Efficiency Starts with a Plan

| Topic:

Business Advice

by: Superman

Part of a new series of blog posts from the Super Heroes on the LMN Support Team.

Step One: The Design

Aside from dealing with people issues, the question facing most contractors is what causes the problems relating to production on job sites? Efficiency starts with a plan…. a roadmap if you will. The correct information must be available for your people the same way every time so they can produce work of consistent quality with as few questions and delays as possible.

Consider this scenario: If you had a designer spend an additional twenty hours to detail a construction process correctly, do you believe their time would translate into increased production on site?

Unfortunately, most of us focus on the cost of the additional 20 hrs paid to the designer but do not consider the benefit in terms of the time saved on the project. We have all heard the expression “hidden costs” in relation to project execution, but most of us seem to be unable or unwilling to pay in advance to reduce or eliminate these hidden costs. Many of us take pride in the fact that we can figure it out on site!

One good way to eliminate a lot of people problems and waste is to give our people the information they need to do the work in a timely manner. The cost of a crew standing around while the foreman tries to figure out what to do will quickly exceed the cost of the 20hrs spent on designing a good construction detail.

In addition, the crew will fall behind schedule thereby limiting their ability to take on other opportunities. In fact, the cost of not having a design, although not seen as an expenditure, can be more than quadruple the cost of just paying for the design service in the first place. Ironically, if the detail can be retrieved and used again in the future, the cost of the detail goes down substantially over time and in fact can be turned into a revenue source. The front end investment of producing a design will serve to eliminate one of the “nine types of waste”: WAITING. And waiting is oh so costly! [The “nine types of waste” document is in the LMN Systems Library but it is also attached to this article]

Here is one great idea that may help.

Give your crews access to all the top level job details so that you can eliminate some forms of waste like waiting and excess inventory. Run a “job planner” report in your estimate. This report shows how long tasks are estimated to take, how many materials should be purchased, and how long equipment is supposed to be on site, along with notes and other details. Upload this report to a cloud file like Dropbox or Google Drive. Then paste that file link in the corresponding job in LMN Time so that your foreman can access that job planner anytime they need to so that time is not wasted on site. You can find detailed instructions on this here: How do I link a file to a Job in LMN Time?

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