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Productivity Edge II: Simple Ingredients That Fuel Productivity Success

At Faith Technologies, we’re confident our productivity program is something that can benefit all the construction trades. While we alone cannot pull the construction industry out of its current productivity slump, we are willing to share a successful program that can have a major impact on overall construction productivity.

The ultimate success of a project is highly dependent on the general contractor and how quickly they form the various trades into a collaborative team; however, significant impact can be made by the individual trades performing work.

Our program is focused on utilization (how much time our crew spends on value-added work the customer pays us to do), recognizing there are many variables among projects that preclude developing perfectly consistent efficiency measures. However, high efficiency coupled with low utilization does not contribute to success. When we get our crew focused on value-added work, efficiency follows.

Jobsite time studies are completed to determine the amount of time our crews spend on the following categorized tasks: primary time (value-added work); secondary time (necessary non-value-added work such as handling, climbing, planning); and waste time (unnecessary non-value added activities such as walking long distances, waiting, handling beyond 30 feet/30 seconds).

Along with time studies, we’ve developed 20 key elements (project expectations) that we recognize as contributors or detractors to project success. We audit them to determine if the results are effective or ineffective for the project, with ineffective results noted for corrective action. Our goal is 100% effectivity for these project expectations, which verify not only on-site activities, but also the support of every key function at Faith.

Here are some examples of Faith’s key productivity expectations:

  • Internal preconstruction support
  • Material handling/logistics planning and execution
  • Purchasing support and frequency of orders
  • Faith’s “30/30 Rule” (maintaining tools, information and materials within 30 feet/30 seconds of the task area)
  • Crew goals established and communicated
  • Use of prefabricated assemblies from our Excellerate division
  • Use of production support equipment, such as tool belts and pouches
  • Ability to finish what we start

We continually evaluate our key expectations to ensure our best practices are noted on each project site and shared with all active projects. These program elements have been incorporated into Faith’s operations and have become accepted as our way of performing work. New employees come into this system and are immediately trained on these practices that fuel our productivity. Reports are generated and shared showing positive results, as well as concerns and needs for improvement. Ineffective results are noted with the expectation they will be corrected prior to follow-up productivity reviews.

Faith’s program is adaptable for use by general contractors, as well as trades engaged in construction projects. Each can customize the expectations to fit the needs of their specific trade and support functions within their businesses.

Our productivity efforts over an eight-year period have resulted in improvement from 39% to 63% value-added primary time, while the construction industry average is 42%. We did not leap from 39% to 63%, but have experienced steady, continual improvement every year as our project expectations have become habits and are incorporated into the way we do business. These efforts have resulted in recognition from our customer base that Faith leads the way in productivity.

There is no quick fix to productivity. It takes the development of key measures with a relentless effort to incorporate these expectations on a daily basis until they become ingrained habits that improve and maintain an organization’s productivity. Faith will gladly share our results and assist other trades in developing a consistent program that positively impacts productivity in the construction industry.

(This is the second of two Productivity articles by Larry Baker. You can see the first installment here.)