Obviously, your company’s success in producing the job has a huge impact on the entire company. Yes, the jobs have to be sold, designed, estimated – but if they aren’t produced on time and on budget with a delighted client, all of your previous efforts are for naught.
During my 20-plus years in this business, I’ve seen hundreds of thousands of dollars slip away from a company because of disorganization or lack of overview in the production department. Members of the Remodelers Advantage community know that we tolerate slippage of up to 2%. Any more than that and we expect the member to take action to improve.
One of the most important tools to help your production employees succeed is regular production meetings. While there are a variety of formats for these meetings, creating the opportunity to review projects, solve problems, brainstorm solutions, and create action plans is a must.
While I prefer weekly production meetings, some remodelers are successful with a bi-weekly schedule. One remodeler holds his production meeting each Friday at 2:00 pm. This allows his field employees to clean up the site for the weekend and leave the job at the end of the day.
One of the best formats for the weekly meeting is to include all of the Lead Carpenters in the meeting at the same time. A pro to this approach is that all of the leads can learn from one another as the jobs are being discussed. In some companies, the Production Manager will meet with each Lead independently to review only the job(s) for which the particular lead is responsible. (I prefer method 1.)
During these meetings, the goal is to review each individual job to make sure it is on target to meet profitability, schedule and customer satisfaction goals. This means that up-to-date job cost reports are essential! The office manager should produce the current job cost reports each week and provide them to the lead carpenters 1-2 days in advance of the Production Meeting. This allows them to review the details, correct mistakes, and be prepared for ideas on improving results.
The Lead should be the person to present the detail of the job because this is a major learning opportunity. He/she might not catch all of the important details the first few times so the Production Manager should be ready to ask questions to pull out the particulars.
During these meetings, it’s usually apparent if a project is going over schedule, had unexpected costs or is leaving the client less than happy. If this is the case, now is the time to create an action plan to fix the problems – not the time to shrug your shoulders and say, “Oh well.”
The reason you are holding these production meetings is to learn about the issues early, while there is still time to pull the project back on track. It makes no sense to learn about a problem and not take action. Nor does it make sense to skip the weekly or bi-weekly meetings altogether, learning at the end of the project that you lost money, at a time when you can’t do a darned thing about it.
If you’ve lost money due to slippage, learn how to eliminate the problem and grow your profits, here are some ideas:
- Invest in our Roundtables™ Peer Group for Production Managers. Your PM will join a group of peers from non-competing companies to drill down into the inner workings of a production department. Led by production expert, Tim Faller.
- Join Remodelers Advantage University for access to dozens of forms, checklists, procedures that will help you harness your team for dramatically increased production efficiency.
- Work with a Remodelers Advantage Business Coach for one-on-one insights that will help you quickly identify production problems and create action plans for quick results.