Definition of Quality Service (Part 1)

Defining Quality Service, Company-wide and Customer-wide

Doug Bellamy / October 2017

Disclaimer: This info is protected intellectual property, provided in the interests of improving our industry, nevertheless not at the expense of the author’s ownership or organizations currently using the DOQS Program. Consequently, for the next few months we will be reviewing yesteryear’s residential version. We are not offering our current version, and the article is based on our residential division, knowing full well that most readers specialize in commercial drywall.
    
We are deliberately distancing and protecting ourselves just enough to be able share the idea without giving away proprietary specifics, and complete current content thereby diminishing our competitive edge and undermining nearly four decades of development as the program has evolved into today’s version. This info is forbidden to be used in any way, other than as a springboard for the development of your own personalized program. The verbiage, text, acronyms and the title are protected, owned and were originated, by the Author. Without the authors written consent, it is not to be copied or transmitted in any form, electronically or otherwise. Applicable laws will be exercised to the fullest extent, including author’s compensation and measures taken to punish those individuals and organizations who elect to infringe on such rights.

Business is business. Good and bad business practices apply generally, no matter the sector or industry. Solid concepts overlap businesses in general, from the hotdog stand to the construction of a high-rise.
    
The concept contained in this article is likely to be more valuable than the specific content. The concept is this: the creation of a single document providing a concise overview of your definition of quality service, a document that provides your organization a clear vision of how you intend to operate while simultaneously managing your customers’ expectations.
    
My intent here is to provide you an example based more on concept than content, a concept that was developed and defined over many years, which can be coupled with your own content based your own definition and vision of quality service. This exercise will prove itself valuable on several levels, both internally and externally, company-wide and customer-wide, to those who endeavor in it.
    
Documents such as this should be accompanied with a succinct purpose statement. This is our purpose:

“To further establish, enhance, and refine our customer relations and operations, through the mutual benefit of clearly communicated, well defined, written systems and procedures developed to provide clear guidance to participants and achieve superior quality service for our customers.”
    
The booklet opens to a table of contents, the purpose statement on the opposite page and the following note to our customer, the construction manager:
    
From time to time, we think it’s beneficial to provide you with a clear description of how we operate. This booklet carefully describes the entire drywall process and also includes an organizational chart, a scheduler and several forms. Once you are familiar with the content, I’m sure you will find it helpful. Reviewing the following information together gives us the opportunity to reconcile and discuss any differences before they develop. It also serves to smooth the transition as we constantly work toward improving our relationship. It is all about working together.
    
Let’s face it: It makes sense to take the time to review our plan and, if necessary, update/adjust it. The exercise will serve to better educate all of us and at the same time help us better understand your needs. We think the best environment to do that in is one of open discussion. Therefore, we like to take the opportunity to do so annually with each of our major customers and particularly as we add new customers.
    
This kind of honest evaluation helps us determine if our intentions and your expectations are aligned. We hope you see the value and recognize the tremendous effort we are making to meet your every need when it comes to metal stud framing, drywall installation and finishing.
    
Having said that, let me preface the remaining document by saying that we know perfectly well who we work for. You’re the boss. We are not telling you how it’s going to be. We are simply telling you, the customer, that we have a plan. It is a plan that has been carefully considered and based on many years of experience. We know we need a plan that meets our customers’ needs and leaves them fully satisfied. This is one among many steps needed in order to perfect that plan.
    
A “Quick Start” form is available in the forms section at the back of this booklet or electronic format. The quick start will provide with contact info for each department manager. Information in general throughout this publication is provided sequentially as the job would typically progress, and in two formats: written and checklists for quick and easy reference.
    
You will find it and many other forms developed to communicate and clarify information needed to take you as customers and ourselves organizationally through the entire process, start to finish. We also provide an organizational chart that outlines the chain of command and contact information for those listed, as well as simple checklists with regard to job readiness as your project progresses.
    
(Note: The forms are not included with this article due to the personal nature and/or intellectual property of the form itself.)

DOQS
The Definition of Quality Service “DOQS” program is an ambitious undertaking. When compared with the typical construction world, it requires a mid-course correction. It is a departure from, as well as an improvement to, the existing industry standards. It is based on a fundamental principle that states that all organizations need clear direction and goals. Those who aim at nothing, hit it. Those who aim for perfection fall just short of perfection. Our intention is to be among the latter.
    
The DOQS program is our vision of quality drywall service. It is our target. It has forced us to define what quality service is. It, along with our SOP and company-wide processes, holds us to the standard of that definition and provides us with a clear path organizationally toward the goal of quality service. DOQS is our aim to consistently achieve the standard it sets. We are committed to it to the extent that we not only use it for internal training but also publish and distribute it to our customers.
    
In some areas we achieve it with phenomenal consistency. In others, we find it more of a challenge. But in every case, we invite the customer to compare us to our competitors without hesitation. We are fully confident that they will find our service exceptional.
    
Nevertheless, the DOQS program has not yet been fully realized. Even though we continue to fund it, teach it to our employees and enforce it, it continues to challenge us. It is 100 percent goal and somewhere less than actual practice. In our view, achieving it would be the equivalent of perfect service. The program and this document have been 25-plus years in the making. Neither the program nor the document will ever truly be finished. It constantly evolves as change occurs and as new and better ways of doing business are discovered.
    
Meanwhile, it continues to guide us toward what we currently believe to be the very best business practices. We hope you agree. If there is something in the following pages that you disagree with, we welcome your input. We listen to our customers and our employees, and we oftentimes learn from them.

Production Systems & Procedures
Our DOQS booklet also consists of production systems and procedures such as the ones that follow.
    
Stocking (Material Delivery). We recommend that you meet with our stocking representative during the framing stage of your project. Once you schedule stocking with our office, we will notify our material supplier, who, in turn, will schedule a brief meeting with you prior to stocking. You will want to meet on-site and discuss such issues as access, scheduling and coordinating overlapping trades and operations.
    
Access and scheduling: Your stocking representative will be able to determine if you have any access problems. Be sure to discuss trenching or pouring curbs in areas where it could interfere with stocking. Our stockers are able to schedule effectively with one week advance notice.
    
Stocking is normally done after roofs are sheeted and papered, prior to installation of windows, and before scaffold is set for plastering. Once you have the stocking process underway, the stocking representative will monitor the job closely enough to maintain your schedule.
    
If you are dissatisfied at any time with progress or service, and if problems are not being resolved, please let us know. We will see that such complaints are handled immediately.
    
Shoring will be done when stacks exceed 11 inches as per truss joist manufacturer’s recommendations. (See letter and diagram in the back of this publication.)
    
A copy of our SOP for stocking or any department is available upon request for your review.
    
Scheduling: Once stocking is underway, two days’ advanced notice is sufficient lead-time for the remainder of the drywall process. Please allow at least two days’ advance notice for all work other than stocking. We will always do our best to accommodate our customers, however, we cannot guarantee scheduling on requests with less than two days’ advance notice.
    
Stocking Checklist. First, meet with the stocking representative to discuss the site and schedule. Then, with no less than one week’s notice prior to stocking, notify Alta Drywall’s office of your stock date. In times of material shortage, two weeks’ prior notification is suggested.
    
Stock Date:
    A. Units dried in.
    B. Roofs are sheeted and papered.
    C. Windows are not installed.
    D. Adequate access is available (i.e., no trenching in areas designated for delivery, temps pulled, units and landscaping are clean).
    
Job Problem Courtesy Notice. Prior to job start and after all trades prior to drywall installation are believed to be 100 percent ready, each unit will receive a quality control walk. The purpose of this walk is to identify obvious problems and avoid covering them. A “job problem courtesy notice” will be provided for each unit. The job super will be requested to sign the notice and will be provided with a copy for his company and the responsible trades.
    
If it is apparent that a unit is not ready, the walk will be discontinued and rescheduled. We realize that time is of the essence and will return promptly and re-walk the unit when the corrections have been made.
    
Here is the JPCN Checklist:
    
Scheduling—please allow at least two days’ advance notice for all work other than stocking.
    
2 Days Prior:
    A. Call to schedule JPCN.
    B. All trades are complete.
    C. JPCN will be completed, issues marked with paint where practical, provided to CM.
    D. Trades with issues notified by CM and corrections made as needed.
    
Just prior to drywall install, electrical outlets, etc. will be marked on floor throughout (with exception of garage) and any necessary masking will be completed.
    
Drywall Installation. Prior to installation, the hanging foreman will introduce himself. During the first meeting, we have instructed the foreman to discuss the nailing inspections with you and to commit to a date for nailing inspection on the number of units being started. He will provide you a copy of the agreement. The form we use is called a “Hanger’s Completion Date Worksheet.” It includes the start date, scrap date, inspection date and a place for your signature.
    
Our foreman will forward the signed HCDW to the appropriate parties, and the tasks involved will be scheduled and completed accordingly. Staying  on the same page has proven beneficial to everyone involved. Future units will be handled in the same way as the job progresses. Our foremen are also required to check the job site on a daily basis for any trash generated by Alta that was not properly disposed of.
    
Tacking: The definition of tacking, especially in cases where the contract calls for screws to be used as fasteners, is the process of using nails to first tack the board in place. Tacking consists of nailing the perimeter and placing a few nails in the field to hold the sheet in place. The board is then fastened into position with screws. This is a common practice when screws are used as drywall fasteners.
    
Nailing Inspection: We depend on each individual builder’s superintendent to call for drywall nailing inspections. Please do not schedule an inspection without our knowledge. It is the job foreman’s responsibility to initiate the inspections process. Inspections scheduled without his involvement tend to be problematic, causing failures. If you feel your job foreman is not keeping you well informed about any part of the drywall process, never hesitate to contact the hanging superintendent. See organizational chart for various management phone numbers. We have asked our foreman to walk with the inspector whenever possible.

More to Come
This takes us through to the job start. The project as well as the process is now underway.
    
The information in our company DOQS booklet provides both more/less versions—more by way of a detailed description of the process, less is in a checklist format for quick reference. Hopefully, the concept and its value is becoming increasingly apparent to you.
    
We will take things forward from here next month.

Doug Bellamy is former president of Innovative Drywall Systems Inc. dba Alta Drywall, Escondido, Calif. He is known for his original thought, innovative approach and the personal development of unique processes, systems and procedures. He is available for consultation, business management seminars and training. Visit him on LinkedIn or contact him at doug@altadrywall.com.