In most cases, it is not easy to quantify productivity in the realm of construction. The construction sector is one of those fields that experience an ever fluctuating environment. Whether it be weather, employee related issues or countless other unforeseen points of concern, managing productivity is an arduous and ever challenging endeavour.
There was a study done by Intergraph that illustrated EPCs suffer billions of dollars nationally as a by product of construction claims involving labor related issues alone. That is huge, to say the least. Even though there are many organizations collecting data on construction productivity (US Department of Labor, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Contractors Associations, independent contractors, universities, to name a few), this data is various and lacks consistency. Yet, one aspect that remains a constant through most research is the consequential impact of labor productivity.
So, what are some things that can be done to improve overall productivity, improve your bottomline, reduce workplace incidents and decrease the negative impact on the environment? Let us take a look at three simple hacks that can boost productivity.
1. Improve Project Planning
Planning is integral to anything we do. The lack thereof can prove disastrous and a nuisance at the very least. In the world of construction, we all know that planning is a very important ingredient in the mixture of project completion on schedule and within budget.
In order to become better at planning, data should be collected on previous construction projects in order to establish where the bulk of the issues reside. Is it poor timing in ordering materials? On who does this responsibility lie? Were there equipment failures or work related injuries that held things back? How can these issues be addressed? Collecting this data enables any of these issues to be addressed before the next project and find ways to formulate preemptive solutions.
2. Introduce Productivity Training
It should be a known fact that your supervisors can make or break any project. Are they knowledgeable enough to face the growing concerns of a modern EPC world? Do they have sufficient training to keep them up to date with new technologies and environmental regulations? Are they up to speed with local and federal regulations? All three of these aspects are ever evolving. What may have been the case last month could very well not be the case next month.
Most contractors see training employees only as far as making sure they know how to operate new pieces of equipment, as one example. How many implement training in productivity? And it is supervisors who are in the greatest need of this type of training. They need to start seeing outside the box and quit looking at things from a day-to-day view, always looking into the foreseeable future and trying to increase the likelihood that the project remains on schedule and within budget.
Furthermore, the construction industry as a whole should consider the merits of inviting design students to complete their internships on site. This will decrease conflicts between the designers and the contractors, not to mention bring a fresh mind to the design process.
3. Keep On Top of New Construction Technologies
There is a reason for technological development: to make our lives easier. Usually, technological advances come from a direct need from an industry. One of the biggest disruptions being caused by technology as a whole is the construction sector. Whether it is renewable energy disruption, better, longer lasting materials or innovative methods in the construction process, staying abreast of new technology is vital to sustainability.
One technology is 3D printing, which is changing the landscape, so to speak, on many fronts. From facial reconstruction to manmade coral reefs, 3D printing is paving the way for many new cool advances in technology. No other sector is being influenced greater by this disruptive technology than the EPC industry. In an article by Forbes entitled Printing The Future: The Last Bastion Of Blue Collar Labor Is About To Fall, it accounts for $9 trillion in revenues and six percent of the global GDP. Not only this, but 3D printing is making the entire construction process more time and cost efficient by reducing everything down to precise measurements. This means designers can create structures not thought possible before.
With fast evolving technology in the construction industry changing the way we design, plan, manage and build, becoming a more productive company is even easier than before. The three hacks above are not the complete picture by far, but they are a great place to start.
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Research shows that eight out of every 10 businesses fail due to poor leadership, communication and product differentiation. Only the best organizations will overcome issues like rising costs, selective customers, sluggish economies, challenging markets and aggressive competitors. An ISO certification is one of the best long-term investments a company can make for their future stability and profitability.
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Almost all B2B partners want to do business with companies that are ISO certified because it verifies they maintain higher standards. ISO certification reduces the need for lengthy debates and investigations to determine if the target company understands the principles of quality, communication, process improvements and management oversight. Similarly, ISO certifications build trust and inspire confidence in customers and the public.
Companies that maintain a loyal customer base will be more sustainable and successful. An ISO certification is a full-time commitment, but is a powerful tool for industries that have to deal with watchful critics, such as energy, manufacturing, agriculture and engineering companies. The best marketing and public relations weapon for a lumber production or a natural gas company is an ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management Systems (EMS) certification.
A Commitment to Environmental Sustainability
The ISO 14001:2015 refers to the prestigious Environmental Management System (EMS) that provides a comprehensive framework for planning, implementing and improving eco-friendly policies and practices. An EMS program may be applied to any type of organization, regardless of their specific sector because the ultimate goal is to enhance environmental performance and corporate responsibility. EMS thinking can be integrated into all levels of stewardship, from manual labor employees to top executives.
EMS programs help management to monitor the company’s interactions with the environment, exceed mandatory compliance obligations and resolve risks from various sources. The 14001:2015 program identifies environmental aspects (anything that interacts with the surroundings) in order to minimize negative impacts and maximize position outcomes. The ISO 14001:2015 is the second most popular standard after the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System program.
Better Product Quality
The continual sale of any product comes down to quality, durability, performance and customer satisfaction. The ISO 9001:2015 depends on proactive participation from leadership who are tasked with continually improving operations, quality control, effective communication and production planning activities. The QMS program is the universal standard around the world for a superior level of quality and product safety. This is especially important for global companies who have B2B clients in unfamiliar countries.
The ISO 9001:2015 program requires leadership involvement, quality objectives, evolving policies and specific requirements. Standard Qualify Procedures (SQP) are detailed job descriptions that outline what task will be done, who will be responsible, when it will be completed and how the results will be evaluated. QMS, along with EMS programs, are the best investments for legal compliance and protection. The American Society for Quality (ASQ), which is a global leader in quality control activities, endorses ISO 9001 programs here.
ISO programs assist employees and management to develop new skills, proactive attitudes and problem solving tools. For example, hazard identification and risk management are important to both the EMS and QMS programs. Staff are actively encouraged and empowered to adopt risk-based thinking in order to uncover previously hidden or avoided problems. Some companies punish employees who report serious quality issues that could impact safety, but ISO programs actually reprimand shareholders and require them to resolve nonconformities through corrective action plans.
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The most scientific way to increase product excellence and production values is to aggregately analyse quality control data through statistical process control tools and spreadsheets. ISO program credentials are maintained through global certifying organizations that provide audits, support and direction.
We at Sustainable pride ourselves helping our customers improve their bottom line, reduce workplace injury and environmental impact.