When we started BuildIT, we knew that companies with strong underlying systems were successful (think: franchise companies). We saw the opportunity to provide systems for small to mid-sized contractors and specialty trades to help them get control of their job tracking, scheduling and general organization. We heard loud and clear that scheduling was a nightmare... and the company that could provide solutions for better scheduling would find no shortage of customers.
It stands to reason that if your jobsites are a mess, if your scheduling tools are outdated (or non-existent), and if you end up with piles of waste materials at the end of the job (which completed days if not weeks after your projected completion date), then you're hemorrhaging profit. While you may not be this extreme, you wouldn't be reading this if there wasn't some opportunity for you to make gains in your scheduling and bottom line dollars.
Which brings us to our title... the best builders are the best schedulers.
Go to any jobsite that is well run, talk to any builder that is swimming in profits... and you'll find a "lean" builder, one who has mastered the art of scheduling, collaborating with trades, and "conducting the orchestra" of different moving parts on jobsites. They have systems in place, processes and procedures, and well trained staff who have bought into the vision of the company. They manage change, not react to it. They predict crises/weather events/holidays and seasonal realities... and have built in cushions for such disruptions. Successful builders have trades that WANT to work with them, because it is a privilege to work on their jobsites. The have tight schedules with dates that the trades can rely on... and they equip their trades, staff and clients with the right information well in advance so specifications can be nailed down, documentation is clear and accessible, and products with longer lead times are on order and arrive at just the right time.
Much has been written about the return on investment with scheduling systems like BuildIT. And there are great resources online to help you accelerate your scheduling success as we start a new year. One such resource that I've referenced before is True North Development, whose president Scott Sedam is a prolific writer and industry expert. We highly recommend his "Gospel of Schedule" article, in which he outlines his "25 Essential Scheduling Practices for Home Builders" (and while addressed specifically to home builders, other construction professionals will find some takeaways here). Below is a summary to whet your appetite for the full article (and seminars that he conducts):
- Simplify (the product, process, paperwork, etc.)
- Pre-construction checklist is a must.
- Schedule customer input pre-build and during.
- Get buy in from trades and suppliers up front in the importance of scheduling of their work and deliveries.
- Establish clear scopes of work, expectations on what 100% complete looks like.
- Develop a realistic schedule with input from trades and suppliers.
- Create a predicable schedule, whereby specific tasks start on specific days.
- Find trades that can adapt crew sizes to meet scheduled durations.
- Establish a system for weather events and other contingencies.
- Value engineer your plans to help eliminate waste at the end.
- Choose manufactured components to reduce production time.
- Keep your plans list current; omit plans that seldom get chosen.
- Limit options to those most customers will pay for.
- Provide unit pricing and upgrades up front.
- Provide firm cut-off dates, hold staff, trades and clients to those.
- Space out/phase your starts to help with trade conflicts.
- Provide superintendents with everything they need to build... at the start.
- Establish quality control guidelines, deliveries, daily logs.
- Keep building site clean with site plan/placement for deliveries of building materials.
- Superintendents to be in each unit daily.
- Endeavor to shoot for shorter cycle times ("turns").
- Broom sweep each unit at end of day.
- Have a schedule (like BuildIT displaying ALL JOBS) that shows where ALL units are at in production.
- Pay on time all work that is 100% complete according to the schedule.
- Pay for the best crews/suppliers.
I'm sure some of our BuildIT veterans out there could add to this list. Feel free to send BuildIT your success stories on how you used BuildIT to reduce cycle times, increase profit, or secure a new client.
The best builders are the best schedulers... and in our humble opinion... the best schedulers that we know use BuildIT !!
To your scheduling success,
1 866 585 5050 ext 1