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Group having a contractor project management meeting going over blueprints and making a planContractors around the country are always trying to save money, improve their process and meet client demands. They need to meet tight deadlines while producing high quality results and maximizing worker productivity. These competing pressures make sound project management stressful and a challenge to achieve. However, a few tips will help contractors get the most out of their process so they can achieve their goals and stay profitable for the long term.

  1. Create a Road Map

Mark out all the steps from project origination to completion. The steps should include, among other things, every major project evaluation threshold, the standards that need to be achieved, the square feet covered and the teams involved. Each step along the way must also have an estimated completion date. There are project management software products that can help map out the entire process. Construction Pro Manager is one of these software products.

  1. Perform Constant Performance Review

Workers, subcontractors and other professionals on the project management team need constant performance review. While this is not meant to be overbearing, a review of work procedures, finishes and craftsmanship is a must.

Workers want a clear definition of success and appreciate guidance and feedback to help them achieve it. Negative criticism can generate resentment and actually reduce productivity. Placing the feedback in a constructive light helps them do a better job, work faster and improve overall performance.

You can help performance by creating smaller teams with leaders on each team. Those leaders are responsible for the feedback in their group and then pass the information up the chain. By getting continually updated information from the jobsite, you can aggregate the feedback and get a sense of how the overall project is going.

  1. Acquire the Latest Tools

Project managers without the latest tools and equipment are doomed to be slower, less productive and more costly than competitors. In addition to traditional hand tools and powered equipment like mixers and fork lifts, technological advances are rapidly advancing that can improve productivity. For example, DeWalt has a new job site WiFi system that allows instant communication across an entire job site, including real time video monitoring. SAM100, which stands for Semi-Automated Mason, is a bricklaying robot that can lay brick six times faster than a skilled mason with greater accuracy. Whether you opt for these new high-tech tools or not, you should be aware they’re out there so you can see if your competitors are winning work from you because they’re using them and you’re not.

To make sure that companies are keeping up with the latest tools, someone from the company should be attending the major conferences, reading content from trade publications, and doing periodic searches online for new trends, tools and technologies. Additionally, speaking with buyers and distributors about what they are seeing in the market can help you know where you are in relation to your competition.

  1. Require Competitive Bidding

Contractors themselves often have subcontractors and equipment purchases. Getting the friendliest subcontractor or the one that you have known the longest works to some extent since you trust them. On the other hand, they may not be the cheapest or most skilled option and can end up reducing your profitability. And equipment suppliers may be willing to give you better pricing or more favorable financing terms if you ask, but they’re unlikely to volunteer them.

To really get the best performance from your subs, it makes sense to always use a competitive bidding process. This includes RFPs or at least blind bids. Letting your subs know you expect them to keep their pencils sharp helps you make a much more informed decision on your subcontractor or equipment purchase.

  1. Provide Transparency

Although it may sometimes be uncomfortable, transparency with all members of your team is crucial. Workers, subcontractors, developers and skilled masons all want to know where they stand. They want to see the road map and the evaluation schedule. Creating an open and honest process leads to better performance and a better project.

One way to improve transparency is to write out all of a project’s milestones at the beginning of the project. Post them in a location where all the workers can see them every day. Make sure that all employees and subs are on board with the schedule, and require them to inform you immediately if they can’t meet the schedule. They will know they are being held to the timetable just as you are. This produces a better overall process and much better communication.

Mortar Net Solutions is an industry leader in moisture management for all types of masonry walls. To learn more, go to www.mortarnet.com. For free product samples, email samples@mortarnet.com or call 800-664-6638, Ext. 509.

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