We often hear from builders who are trying to create a consistent quality approach. They have employees with different levels of experience in the company, and they’re all trying to achieve quality in their own ways. If this sounds familiar to you, you’re probably looking for a way to capture the best quality management methods and share them with everyone. This is a common challenge for organizations that operate in multiple locations and have several projects going on at the same time, but it can happen in companies of all sizes. The solution is to build a company-wide quality management process.
Every superintendent and project manager develops their own methods for construction quality management, and even though the methods might work, they are all different. This can cause a lot of problems for you. For example, company personnel that work with different superintendents will have to learn new quality management processes for every job. At a higher level, measuring quality across projects is more difficult and possibly too labor-intensive to undertake. If you have ever tried to gather and analyze data from multiple systems, you’ll understand why this is so challenging and sometimes impossible. There is only so much you can do with spreadsheets.
While it’s great that everybody is fully engaged in quality management, not having a consistent approach could be hindering your ability to achieve first-time quality.
Benefits of a Consistent Approach to Construction Quality Management
Introducing any new system or approach can be daunting, but developing a company-wide quality management program that everybody follows is worth the effort. Shifting to a consistent approach toward quality management offers many benefits, such as the ability to:
- Move people seamlessly between projects
- Measure results across multiple projects
- Provide consistent training to personnel and subcontractors
- Track performance of subcontractors across multiple projects
- Use your quality program as a selling point to new clients
- Apply best practices across the entire organization
If just one of these benefits is attractive to you, it’s probably worth exploring how to be more consistent with quality management.
How to Implement a Consistent Approach to Quality Management
One of the reasons you might be struggling to find a consistent approach to quality management is that there are countless ways to do it. However, that doesn’t mean every method is a good one. Use these tips to achieve better consistency within your company:
Get On the Same Page About Goals
Your company might already be there, but it’s always a good idea to reinforce the organizational goals with respect to quality. If you are always striving for first-time quality, make it part of the company’s language and keep the conversation going. First-time quality is not a one-time achievement; it requires an ongoing process that must always be improved.
Be Collaborative, Not Controlling
It’s important to work together as a team to develop a consistent approach. Superintendents will be much more receptive to change if they are involved in the process from the beginning. Give people the opportunity to share their own best practices and incorporate those practices into the new system. This is an excellent opportunity for superintendents and project managers to learn from each other as they share their expertise.
Choose a Single Construction Quality Management System
Take an inventory of all the systems you are currently using. This includes any software systems, spreadsheets, and paper forms that every superintendent and project manager uses. This exercise will likely demonstrate that it’s time to change to a more consistent system. Decide whether any of these existing systems can handle all of your quality management needs. If you don’t already have one, consider adopting an integrated construction quality management software solution to keep all of your data and functions in one place.
Roll Out a Consistent Program Incrementally
When people feel overwhelmed, it’s difficult for them to adopt new behaviors, and they will revert to the comfort of old habits. Give them the space to embrace a consistent system by rolling it out in bite-sized chunks. Start with a simple concept like inspection checklists and build on other concepts as your team gets more comfortable.
You will eventually need to address all of the following questions in your construction quality management system:
- Which inspections must be completed and at what frequency?
- Who is going to perform them?
- How will deficiencies be handled?
- Whose performance will you measure?
- How are you going to measure performance?
These are big questions that you might not be able to answer right away. If you need guidance in your efforts to take a consistent approach to construction quality management, FTQ360 is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.