Workloads are rising for many remodelers across the country, and though companies are struggling with the production side of the process, the fear of another drop in sales keeps them from hiring full-time installers. The need to produce more work means pushing jobs into a production pipeline that is already clogged. This push causes financial loss as well as stress on your employees. Here are a few ideas to help manage production flow.
  • Don’t accept all jobs. I worked with one company that decided that concentrating on efficient production of existing work would meet the company’s profit and overhead goals. In fact, it found that accepting every job resulted in a drain on profit because of inefficient production.
  • Use trade contractors for jobsite management. I wasn’t sure about this method until I learned about Rhode Island Kitchen and Bath’s successful lead installer system, which focuses on trades for labor and jobsite management. This allows for sales volume fluctuations because the company doesn’t have to accept jobs just to keep its in-house crew busy. More importantly, it can schedule jobs based on trade contractor availability.
  • Use a project manager model. With this model, a manager in the field communicates with the client and oversees the job, but trade contractors provide the labor. The difference between this and the previous method is that the manager provides a consistent point of contact for the client and job, while trade contractors only work when needed. In most cases, adding a job or two because a client is in a hurry won’t tax this system. However, take care not to overload the project manager.
  • Improve sales and marketing. A well-managed sales process is the prelude to all well-managed production systems. Having a consistent number of jobs scheduled throughout the year allows you to plan the best time to hire and train crews to produce the jobs.

—Tim Faller is president of Field Training Services and author of The Lead Carpenter Handbook. leadcarpenter.com

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Back to Work: Reasons to consider subcontracting your project manager position

Pass the Baton: This hand-off form helps smooth the transition from sales to production

Engineering the Customer Experience, Part 2: the Production Process