Create Everyday Productivity on the Job

Norb Slowikowski

July 2006

Improving productivity requires effective leadership and management by the general superintendent and other key players in the process. By implementing these success factors, the following will be enhanced:

• Pride of workmanship.
• Peak performance.
• Optimal job profitability.

Conduct Personal Pre-Job Planning

Once you get the job, the general superintendent should take the time to visit the job. He will identify the conditions under which the crew will be expected to work, and will take the time to check out things as the following:

• Nature of the work. What specifically will your crew have to do?
• Tools, equipment and material needed to produce quality for specified work.
• Control of manpower and labor. Develop a Staffing Chart and log it daily.
• Other trades you will be working with. How long will it take them to complete their work before your crew gets into the space? Build positive relationships with the other trades, and find out all you can to work together as a team.
• Customer requirements. What are the standards for quality, safety, security, codes, rules, etc.? Initiate customer contact, document what you and the customer representatives discuss so you can minimize any conflict that may arise at a later date. The rules may change as the job progresses.

Communicate Effectively

• Clarify expectations. Make sure your people are clear about their responsibilities and the results they will be held accountable for.
• Identify performance problems and discuss solutions with the individuals involved.
• Provide positive feedback when things are going well. People need to hear how they are doing.
• Provide coaching when things aren’t going well. Get your people on the right track through your knowledge and wisdom.

Implement Job Controls

• Apprise team of paperwork requirements (time sheets, labor coding, job logs, safety reports, inventory, checklists etc.).
• Conduct a pre-job planning meeting with all key players on the job.
• Conduct post job review to identify positive and negative results. Make it a preliminary experience.

Implement a Game Plan

• Involve your foreman in establishing plan for extra work requests. Get it in writing, and get someone to sign off on it.
• Collaborate on all goals. Discuss what needs to be done and set a time frame for completion as a team.
• Introduce the foreman to the customer and clarify expectations.
• Match the right people with the right skills so that they do a job they can master. (For example, Is the work to be performed high up in the air? In a cramped space? Is the work indoors or outside? Are the conditions hot or cold? Is it a solo job?)
• Before you leave the job site, let the foreman know the positive things you have observed. Identify the areas that need improvement.
• Track and measure foreman’s progress.
• Conduct weekly job review meetings.
• Keep the lines of communication open. Let the foreman know you want to know when he runs into a problem. Adopt a solutions-orientation.

Check, Measure & Correct

• Check foreman’s performance on labor control, safety, housekeeping, tool and equipment control, quality or workmanship, paperwork, customer relations and communication with the project manager.
• Listen to any and all suggestions for improving the process.
• Coach and take corrective action. Establish accountability. Celebrate success.

About the Author
Norb Slowikowski is president of Slowikowski & Associates, Inc., Darien, Ill.