Improving Performance Through Technology
Demand for new home starts may be down, but now is the perfect time to investigate how performance can be measured and improved upon with respect to building homes and company operations. When demand does increase, builders will be better positioned to manage how homes are built, reduce their cycle-time, and increase profitability.
Through the use of a scheduling and supply chain tool like BuildPro, superintendents and construction managers are better equipped to stay on-time and on-budget when building a home. Builders use scheduling tools to plan all of the tasks, resources and time necessary to build a home and work against a planned schedule to keep within their budgeted timeframes. Many builders know approximately how much time it takes to build a home, but having an actual scheduling tool like BuildPro helps the builder pinpoint exactly how much time, material and resources are needed.
In addition to managing an overall building schedule, BuildPro also helps operations determine the overall health and performance of its superintendents and construction managers that are distributed throughout the field. The ability to compare supers against one another to determine if any major variances occur based on cycle-times allows builders to identify who is better at managing their schedules and resources. For instance, you may have two superintendents that build the same style of home and the same number of homes, but one super‘s average cycle time is ten days longer than his peers. As performance is gauged, operations can begin to look more closely at why one super is doing better than another and apply those same principles across their entire organization, resulting in better performance overall.
By employing an online scheduling tool, builders can load a job into the system and establish a baseline for their estimated time frame until the home is completed. If a schedule change occurs due to inclement weather or resource constraints on labor or materials, the super can make necessary adjustments to the schedule, but the original baseline will remain. Once the project is complete, the super will be able to determine the original estimate versus the actual and determine where improvements can be made with the next project if necessary.
In addition to building an online schedule to manage building efforts, BuildPro is presently configured to communicate all tasks and orders to trades and subcontractors via an Internet webpage. Trades are then able to view the builder’s schedule and determine when they will be needed on a job site, as well as any necessary materials. By having this measure of connectivity between the builder and their trades, both organizations are better able to manage how they respond and work with one another. For instance, the issue of miscommunication is greatly reduced due in part to information now being available via a website. Both builders and their trades can go to either their BuildPro or SupplyPro webpage and view all necessary information related to an order or task. With the information now contained online, both parties can be more effective at viewing performance, such as when products are delivered or when services are rendered. In the long term, builders are able to view the overall performance of their trades and determine effectiveness of how that trade is benefiting the builder. If there are any issues, the builder then has an audit trail that can be used to either correct the situation or terminate the relationship if necessary. In turn, suppliers are also now equipped to determine certain performance measures regarding their builder. For instance, trades can now track when payments are made. If the builder is consistently late in payment, the trade can then determine how best to manage the situation going forward.
Through the use of BuildPro or any other online scheduling tool, a builder can be equipped to measure performance as it relates to how long it takes to build a home. There is obviously money tied up in the amount of time it takes to close a home, and with a scheduling tool, builders now have immediate visibility to determine the status of the home, the time it is taking to build the home, and any variances that may occur between building crews and superintendents. In addition, builders can also gauge the performance of their trades and determine how best to reward them, leverage them throughout the organization or make any necessary adjustments.