In the last issue, I discussed some of the frustrations that sap the will of your employees to get the job done on time, or even ahead of time, so that your company can move on to the next one, leaving a highly satisfied customer in its wake.
Here are some other things that can drive even your best subs or employees crazy.
Manpower shortages. Are enough people scheduled? Are they the right people for this job? Is there a leader or a project manager? Who's in charge?
Materials issues. In order for the job to get done, your people have to have the materials they need, and they have to have them on time.
Incomplete or ambiguous specifications or instructions. The clearer you are about what you want done, the easier it is to do. The contract agreement, client expectations, and all instructions need to be written and clear.
Lack of employee training or authority. Who's who in the chain of command? Do employees have all the responsibility and none of the authority? Do you abdicate rather than delegate?
Nonmotivational company culture. Reward people for the good work they do. Even more important, recognize them for doing it. Talk about what went right, not what went wrong. And inspect what you expect.
Lack of role models for others to follow. Does your company operate like an island? Do you educate your people on new products and installation methods, as well as on industry best practices? Do you judge your company's performance against that of second-rate competitors, or industry leaders?
I suggest you call a meeting with your production people and ask what's frustrating them. Then, listen.
You'll find out exactly what's limiting your production. Ask them: “How can we plug these profit leaks? How can we resolve these frustrations?” You'll be amazed at the results. The people in the best position to improve production are field personnel, not managers. And guess what? Your production capacity will improve when responsible field personnel create their own plan for improving it. —Richard Kaller, a contractor for 30 years, is the founder and CEO of Certified Contractors Network, 610.642.9505, firstname.lastname@example.org,www.contractors.net.