The foreman must communicate to his crew the results that are expected, and then establish an Action Plan for achieving those results.
The foreman needs to survey the job site and put the following pieces in place:
Productivity. Know the quality of work to be done in a specified time frame. Set production goals with your crew. Do it right the first time according to the quality specs is essential. Review the customer’s expectations with your crew.
Safety. Aim for an "accident free” job site. Implement safe work practices. Watch out for unsafe work conditions. Make sure everyone has the proper safety equipment and personal protective equipment. Enforce the safety rules.
Housekeeping. Eliminate clutter. Make sure your crew puts away all tools and equipment. Have your crew clean up their areas before going home.
Effective utilization of manpower, tools, equipment and material. Train your crew to utilize their tools effectively and to operate equipment properly and safely. Make sure they know what it takes to install material correctly. Tag all defective equipment.
Leadership. Maintain a positive work climate and build morale by utilizing the following key practices:
Involve people in decision-making. Ask for their input and solve problems together.
Treat people with respect.
Provide positive feedback when people do good work and encourage feedback.
Be visible and accessible.
Support your people when they face adversity. Provide coaching when people have difficulty meeting standards.
Communicate consequences for continued poor performance. Hold people accountable.
Look ahead, plan and forecast future activities and the resources you’ll need to accomplish desired results.
Developing the Action Plan: The Seven-Step Planning Process
1. Weekly planning. Prepare a task list. What tasks do you have to do next week?
2. What are your material requirements? Know the quantity and type of materials needed and when they are needed (delivery date and time). Also, think about storage, location, protection and security.
3. What are your equipment requirements? What type of equipment do you need, and how many of each type? When is the equipment needed? How long do you need it for? Make sure your crew knows how to safely operate this equipment.
4. Labor budget. Man-hours for each task; coding, tracking, feedback.
5. Crew size and needs. What skills do you want people to have (be specific)? How many people do you need, and when do you need them? Set production goals and collaborate with your crew.
6. Assigning work. Identify strengths. Assign work that people can do. Tell them to ask for help if they don’t know how to do something. Provide feedback as to how they’re doing.
7. Crew commitment. Get them to buy into the game plan for the job. Have your crew keep track of actual production, and have them report it to you. Listen to the crew members. They may have ideas for being more effective/efficient. Provide feedback on their progress.
About the Author
Norb Slowikowski is president of Slowikowski & Associates, Inc., Darien, Ill.