Time For a Physical?

Kevin Biddle

December 2007

As we prepare for the holidays, this is a good time to reflect on the past year and how to fine-tune your operations. Maybe you will get that estimating software you have been thinking about, or that new tool you have been wanting.

At our company, Mader Construction, we are in the midst of changing the accounting and project management software program. Along those lines I am happy to report that AWCI is setting up a new committee that will focus on the latest IT-type systems and how they affect our industry. If you are interested in becoming a part of that committee, please contact Don Smith at AWCI (smith@awci.org).

This is a good time of year to put your company through a health physical—much like the check-up you might get annually. Are all systems running efficiently? Are you doing so much volume that you can’t keep up with the demands? Sometimes doing less is the smarter move.

The paperwork side of the business, too, can be overwhelming. Remember to plan your work and work your plan. In your company’s physical, include the tasks you excel at and those you don’t. Here’s an example: A while back our company decided to get into VCT/carpet. After a few years we realized we weren’t very productive, and the money wasn’t coming in. Figuring it was 5 percent of our volume and 60 percent of our headaches, we stopped the operation. It was a smart move because it freed time for our project managers and estimators to concentrate on the 95 percent of our work that was profitable.

I urge you all to give your company a physical. You will be glad that you did.

As a past chairman of AWCI’s Education Committee, I have to remind you to take a close look at the brochure you received for AWCI’s Academy, or go to www.awci.org/academy.shtml. AWCI’s Academy is a two-day, in-depth educational program designed for estimators, safety specialists, senior management, field superintendents, project managers, architects, specifiers and emerging construction executives—anyone else who is critical to the operation of your business. The 2008 Academy will focus on productivity and management skills on the job site, and blueprint reading, which will be taught in Spanish.

If you can, send one or more of your key people to Denver Feb. 1–2, 2008. Educating your employees is yet another way of passing your company physical.

Happy Holidays!