Organizing is the ability to systematically arrange all necessary pieces in the work process so that desired results can be achieved in a timely, efficient manner. Although itís easy to define how to organize, one of the chief concerns for contractors is how to do it effectively.
Without aligning all the pieces in the correct manner, the job suffers under the weight of a sprawling series of independent segments that donít cohere into a final procedure. This sprawl can lead to a "mission creepĒ of sorts that leaves the job over budget and off-schedule. By breaking down the nuts and bolts of what, how and why we must organize, we can assemble the pieces into a process that works for the company as a whole.
Organizing for the job requires dividing up work among crew members, assigning work and providing clear instructions for implementing the assigned activities, linking up the field with a support system, defining the project managerís role in supporting the job site foreman, and planning and anticipating ongoing needs for job site productivity.
To effectively execute the skill of organizing the foreman, superintendent and PM, one must clearly understand what organizing entails. There needs to be a unity of purpose, which means all players in the construction process must understand the key components such as the skill requirements for labor, the expected results of each person on the job, the level of authority and clearly defined reporting relationships, the feedback system and how support from office to the field will occur. Another key component is access to other necessary information, which includes the scope of work, budgets, blueprints and specs, procedures and paperwork requirements, jobsite meetings, access to office support staff, proper materials and correct amount, jobsite working conditions and the training of people (if skill deficiencies exist).
To complete the organizing process, it is essential that the following job controls be put in place to ensure that the job site work process flows smoothly from beginning to end.
Pre-job planning meeting/pre-job review. This is usually the responsibility of the project managers, and the size of the project usually dictates the amount of planning required. When considering such a meeting, you should consider who should attend. You should issue a policy statement, and also use a pre-job planning checklist with key items for job success. Prepare written meeting minutes and distribute them to appropriate personnel.
Post-job review. The purpose of the post-job review is to review how the job came out and to provide feedback to all key parties (project manager, general superintendent, foreman and estimator). This information will be used to avoid problems on similar jobs in the future.
Tool and equipment inventory/maintenance. Many times, tools and equipment are sent to jobs without a process for inventory control. Itís important to maintain an inventory control of tools and equipment and have a program in place to repair defective tools and equipment. To accomplish this end, you should consider implementing these three controls: A tool and equipment inventory checklist, a jobsite tagging procedures for defective tools and equipment, and a procedure for moving materials from the warehouse to the field and from the field to the warehouse and from job to job.
Jobsite safety program. Implementing and maintaining an effective jobsite safety program is a must. To ensure that safety becomes a way of life on the job site, the following controls need to be put in place: a safety rules checklist, a jobsite inspection checklist, a weekly tool box safety talk and a jobsite safety program that includes job site safety inspection report(s), your companyís safety policy and safety rules, the format for tool box safety meetings, and accident reporting procedures.
Jobsite paperwork. The reason for requiring the foreman to complete paperwork on the job site has a lot to do with tracking productivity for the overall project. The office needs information from the field to determine the profitability of the job as it progresses. If the foreman fails to maintain and report job site data to his project manager, then the company is really in the dark when it comes to determining how they did on a specific project.
An effective jobsite reporting system should include a daily log, the weekly job progress report, the daily job site report, an expense report for job site material purchases and a field work order for handling extra work requests.
Labor tracking process with key labor codes broken out by specific areas on job site. Start using these key job controls to improve overall productivity on the job site. Getting organized isnít easy, but itís a necessary skill for achieving desired results. Itís easy to move away from process when an obstacle presents itself, but this is exactly the time to adhere to the ideals of organization. Donít just give up on the correct procedures because it becomes difficult at certain points.
Norb Slowikowski is president of Slowikowski & Associates, Inc., Darien, Ill.