Successful production management has three core segments. First is developing a system for each step. The system must have a goal and consist of repeatable actions that lead to a predictable result for every job. Systems can be as simple as a checklist at job completion or as complex as a detailed computerized estimating system.
The second segment is training. Every company has a different method for even the most basic tasks. When I’m on site, I don’t like to hear “We don’t do it that way.” Telling an employee after they have completed a task that they’ve done it incorrectly is too late. Regardless of whether a person has been in the remodeling business for two days or for 20 years, every company needs to train employees and subs to complete tasks to its standards.
The third segment is feedback. Most employees are not self-starters or truly independent workers. As a company grows, there is a myth that the owner can hand over responsibility for specific tasks to an employee and remove himself from that process, but that won’t work. All staff need supervision. Sometimes you use it to correct a mistake, sometimes to highlight and encourage good behavior. But be mindful that supervising doesn’t turn into micromanaging, which could prevent staff from taking responsibility for tasks.
—Tim Faller is president of Field Training Services and author of The Lead Carpenter Handbook. leadcarpenter.com.