By Ed Hauck
Senior Consultant, Shinn Builder Partnerships
In the September issue of Monthly Briefing, we discussed the value of becoming a Builder of Choice™ to address labor shortages and what owners and upper management must do to develop the Builder of Choice™ culture in their company. This month, we will look at specific steps your production team can take to put culture into action.
The path to becoming a Builder of Choice™ starts at the top and requires commitment and clear direction from senior leadership. From there, it is up to your production team to execute the Builder of Choice™ culture. These on-site managers set the tone of the jobsite and are the primary contact between trade contractors and your company. Their execution of your strategy can make all the difference in your company’s success in controlling field costs, implementing efficient construction techniques, and creating strong, lasting relationships with your suppliers and trade contractors.
Here are 10 steps to becoming a Builder of Choice™. All of these steps require buy-in and input from your production team to achieve maximum results.
1. Eliminate dry runs. These are a big issue for trades and suppliers. Always have your site clean and ready on the scheduled date. Every day on your site should be money in the bank to a trade or supplier.
2. Have the best plans. Provide accurate, consistent plans across all product lines and leave no details to the imagination. Plan errors cost everyone money. Invite the trades to meet with you and your architects on new product.
3. Have the best process. Help trades do their jobs right the first time. Start orders, purchase orders, take offs, and selections need to be complete, accurate, and easy to understand. Orders should be sent out with plenty of lead time.
4. Have a scope of work for all trades. Include all the details you expect to be completed in a home. Ask manufacturers to help with scopes; it’s their products. Include site expectations and time expectations for each phase.
5. Provide clear contracts. Include the scope of work for trades to understand their responsibility and share it with all team members. Develop and post job site rules. Detail the pay process and cycle.
6. Pay on a timely basis. Have a clear, detailed process on payment procedures. Invite trades to the office and teach them your process. Introduce trades to your team.
7. Build your trade base. Always have more trades than you need. Don’t wait for a trade to fail; have somebody who wants more work ready in the operation. Always be looking for trades. Be active in your local HBAs.
8. Provide master schedules. Master schedules help trades manage crews to meet your schedules. Make sure you allow them the proper lead time and the correct duration to complete the task. Hold meetings to discuss upcoming work.
9. Implement a trade portal. All the information trades need should be available on your portal. Host a meeting and teach trades how to use it. Ensure the right people in their operation have the appropriate access.
10. Initiate a trade council. A trade council is a great way to get trades to share issues and improve your process.
You achieve Builder of Choice™ status when suppliers and trades want to work with you over all the other builders in your market. They will send you their best crews and give you their best price. This can be worth 5 to 10 percent in lower costs compared to your competition. It also contributes to more accurate scheduling, shorter cycle times, and higher customer satisfaction.
Contact us today for information on how your company can become a Builder of Choice™.