efficiency

Ep.132: LEAN Process Improvement in the Real World with Spencer Jacobson

We have discussed the concepts of LEAN process improvement in several past episodes.

In episode 47 we had our own Director of Consulting, Doug Howard, join us to introduce the LEAN System and we have referred to the various concepts of LEAN in others.

Over the past few years, Doug has worked with remodelers and builders on implementing LEAN into their production systems.

We wanted to look a little further into LEAN and how it is actually used in the “real world” of production and we brought in Spencer Jacobsen to talk about how his firm, R.J. Doerr Company, has implemented LEAN.

Spencer is a Site Foreman for R.J. Doerr Co., a general contractor in Easton, PA and solely focused on historical restoration. After almost four years with the company, Spencer has begun to integrate LEAN process improvement concepts on the job site and within the company.

Tim, Steve and Spencer talk more about:

  • Background on R.J. Doerr Co. (size, type of work, # of jobs, etc.)
  • Background on LEAN (concepts, vocabulary, etc.)
  • LEAN Concepts that Spencer has implemented in the field.
  • How using LEAN reduces stress within the production team
  • Training your team on LEAN
  • And more…

Books and Additional Resources:
Spencer’s Website
2 Second Lean by Paul Akers
Getting Things Done by David Allen
The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker
The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership by Jeffrey Liker and Gary Convis

Imagine being more profitable than your competition, without having to be more expensive.

Remodelers Advantage has taken the core principles of LEAN and developed the LEAN Remodeling System (LRS), which addresses the specific challenges facing remodeling businesses today. [Click Here to Learn More…]

Ep.129: Dealing with “The Runs” with Joe Betz

The Runs! Most of us think of two situations. There is an unfortunate personal issue, which is not good.

And then there are “the runs” from the job site to the store or lumberyard to pick up $10 worth of stuff.

Both scenarios are bad, but the latter will quickly eat away at your job costs and profit margin.

Lumberyard runs are notorious among production professionals; a necessary part of the project, but if not planned correctly, can throw things off track quickly. You are factoring in the time it takes to leave and return to the job site into your cost per hour for labor and then expanding that over the life of the project.

To look at this more closely, Tim and Steve welcome Joe Betz to the show. Joe was listening to our podcast and invited Tim for an on-site consulting gig with Buraski Builders Inc. in Springfield, IL – and the lumber yard run issue was one they were able to tackle.

Joe is currently the Production Manager for Buraski Builders and has been with the firm since 2009, working his way up from Carpenter, to Foreman, to Construction Manager and onto his current role with the award-winning remodeler and home builder.

Tim, Steve and Joe talk more about:

  • Background of Buraski Builders (the type of work, number of field staff, etc.)
  • Lumberyard run situation before the change and during the transition.
  • The process Buraski went through to implement change.
  • Getting buy-in and acceptance from the team.
  • The results of making changes to the lumberyard run process at Buraski.
  • And more…

Ep.92: Using RFIs Effectively with Jason Brookshire

We’ve discussed adapting commercial construction systems and applications for use in the residential world. Implementing them is often met with resistance — but there are definitely processes that work well and add value.

Requests for Information are standard in the commercial construction world, but aren’t widely used in residential remodeling.

In this episode, Jason Brookshire talks to Tim and Steve about why he finds RFIs to be important to his work in residential remodeling, and how to implement your own system.

Jason has been the production manager at McBride Remodeling in Petoskey, MI, for more than four years. He has more than 15 years of experience as a commercial development superintendent in markets around the country.

In his work in commercial construction, Jason used written RFIs when clarification was needed in the scope of work from architects, owners, or other parties. At McBride, RFIs are used by lead carpenters and those in the office, creating better information flow. It cuts down on phone calls and clarifies communication. RFIs go through their cloud-based project management system. Jason talks about the advantages of using RFIs, including:

  • Building in accountability
  • Getting the details you need — when you need them
  • The type of information typically clarified
  • Getting staff buy-in
  • The time it saves
  • Who gets involved
  • How to use them
  • Simplifying change orders
  • Training your trade partners
  • And more …

The accountability and speed built in to the process are vital to growing companies, to streamline jobs and protect profits. If you’ve got questions about implementing RFIs in your company, Jason says you can get in touch with him at Jason@mcbrideremodeling.com.

Ep.79: Syncing Estimating & Production with Ryan Beaber

It’s a common challenge Tim finds in his consulting work with remodelers — how difficult it is to accurately estimate your remodeling company’s own work, to bring jobs in on time and budget. The difference can cause friction between estimators and those in the field, and cost you money. 

In this episode, Ryan Beaber talks to Tim and Steve about his experience as an estimator, and why communication between the estimator and project managers is the key to accurate forecasting. This year, his company is coming in one percent under budget on their jobs. 

Ryan is an estimator with Forward Design Build Remodel in Ann Arbor, MI. Ryan joined the team in 2015 as a carpenter, and in January 2019 moved into the office to take over the estimating responsibilities. Forward Design Build Remodel has had year-over-year growth for several years, consistently out-pacing industry averages in customer satisfaction, and receiving peer recognition such as the 2018 ProRemodeler Gold Design Award, the 2018 NARI CotY Regional Award for residential interior, and the 2019 Fred Case Remodeling Entrepreneur of the Year runner up.

Ryan says experience in the field helped his transition to becoming the estimator. He understands how the field team works and knows the subcontractors, which helps him keep communications open, accurate and efficient. Ryan talks about how he and the field staff make this happen, including:

  • Using past jobs to predict future budgets
  • Handling discrepancies between budget and what actually happened
  • Accepting responsibility for mistakes
  • The importance of cataloging communications
  • Tracking all the data
  • Posting the red flags
  • Handling change orders quickly
  • The KPIs to look for
  • Taking care of clients’ emotions
  • Handling material cost increases
  • And more …

Ryan says both estimating and production want the company to be successful — use that to get everyone on the same page, and pulling in the same direction.

The Suggestion Box is Open

This episode was once again the result of a listener’s suggestion. If you have an idea for a topic or guest, drop Tim a line at tim@remodelersadvantage.com.

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