Standardized processes are a major part of your construction company’s operations. So, how well your company executes and implements these processes affects the effectiveness of your business. For instance, operational performance impacts all parts of your business, from service delivery to your clients, managing construction projects, and controlling project costs. In turn, it also influences your client’s experience, leading to either repeat business and leads or clients ranting on social media experienced a terrible ordeal.
So to improve the former and prevent the latter, your construction business should have a systematic, efficient, and standardized approach that can reduce costs, minimize errors, and accomplish a benchmark standard of quality and productivity.
This blog will teach you how you can best implement process improvements – an important action to be taken since it can significantly impact your company’s bottom line.
What is Process Improvement in Construction?
When your construction company encounters complaints from clients, operational challenges, or wants to optimize current workflows, it is the right time to deploy process improvements. So what does this term exactly mean?
Process improvement in construction is about determining areas of the organization where current business processes are somewhat lacking in terms of capacity. This can be defined in terms of service and products quality, meeting main business metrics such as customer satisfaction and quota.
Once the issues are identified, it is about time to implement changes and task management programs that optimize the current processes to meet and exceed the required standards.
Six Common Process Improvement Methodologies
Process improvement is crucial to your business success that a good number of methodologies have developed over time to address the critical concept. Here are six typical process improvement methods used in construction that you should know.
1. Six Sigma
Six sigma is probably one of the most popular process improvement frameworks in construction. It is a set of techniques and steps designed to improve quality by reducing errors and defects from a certain workflow. Six Sigma strategies are being applied constantly to the construction process until some variations are eradicated and the process can then deliver consistent and predictable results.
Kaizen is a process improvement methodology that embraces the idea that business improvements should be constant and never-ending. It aims to diminish all waste from process flows to achieve higher productivity and efficiency.
Kaizen in construction is known for its team approach, where everybody in the company shares ideas and works to keep improving all business areas. If mishaps and mistakes occur, the main goal is to learn from them because they are part of continuous improvement.
Plan-Do-Check-Act outlines and specifies a four-step scientific approach being spelled out in its name. You start by determining the areas that require improvement. Next, you begin implementing some changes then collect data to analyze further those changes that had the desired impact.
Lastly, you take actions based on your data analysis.
Business processes re-inventing BPR is a basic framework covering process improvement at a certain scale. Rather than addressing some minor components of the overall workflow, BPR attempts to address some issues and further eliminate unnecessary steps by redesigning the entire process from end to end.
These changes can be so extensive that a change management plan accompanies the use of BPR.
5. Gap Analysis
One flexible system to deploy when a process is failing or when you elevate your construction business to the next level is defined as a gap analysis. This certain approach involves a deeper examination of where your construction business is at today, where you want it to be, and how you can close this particular gap.
It is not limited to operational improvements either. You can choose to implement this method to face and confront gaps in the quality of your services, improve profitability, and address manpower shortages.
6. Process Mapping
A very useful approach that applies thorough and careful analysis and visualization tools to address process issues and create new workflows from scratch is called process mapping. In this method, you usually create a document outlining some steps in the procedure, typically captured in the flowchart.
The document allows you to see the process and determine areas to change. It then serves as a reference tool for process changes.
Best Practices for Process Improvements for Your Business
As a major part of improving processes within your business, always look forward to integrating the following best practices into your plans.
1. Set quantifiable goals
Even before process improvement steps are taken, you should first define quantifiable goals. Ensure to set deliverables that you are aiming for as well. Once you have determined that one area of your business requires some changes, you have to determine next the set of metrics you will be using to measure if those changes are working. From there, you have to know when you have reached your objectives.
When examining client data, it is ideal for keeping all information and extracting it simultaneously from your construction scheduling software. This cloud-based software tool can store every piece of detail in all aspects of your business, from your crew, inventory, client, etc. On top of all, when you deploy construction techs to your operations, it will be easier for you and your team to analyze the process improvements that need to be done.
2. Identify the improvement opportunities
Before you dive into process improvement planning for your business, you should determine first the improvement opportunities. Once you define these opportunities as well as your business objectives, it is time to reexamine the existing workflows linked to your goal achievement.
This approach’s main purpose is to fully understand the existing processes and at what points these processes fail to add value in accomplishing the objectives. Apply the following suggestions so that you understand much better.
- Find pain points – to discover where improvement is most needed, look for signs where the present process is failing. Determine the location of bottlenecks and where several steps are required to complete a certain portion of the procedure.
- Layout the processes – Catching the points where the process is failing becomes easier if you can picture out the visual representation. The process map detailing the whole workflow from start to finish helps spot the issues.
Take your construction inventory as an example. It can be an improvement opportunity. Your goal is to accelerate product delivery times so that your crew will not experience material shortages again. So to make some alterations to your construction warehouses is one of the opportunity areas to improve.
Strategic placement of your construction warehouses incorporated with the best inventory management software is the best solution yet for this circumstance.
3. Incorporate modern technologies
Many manual procedures and methodologies can be streamlined by incorporating construction techs. Realistically, technologies can minimize costs while improving quality. So today, most project managers ultimately enjoy a wide range of technical software solutions capable of addressing any process improvement need. Several modern tools exist nowadays, from project scheduling software to streamline project lapses to deploying CRM for business development.
These tools are proven to transform bulky steps by integrating automated workflows, reducing human errors, and minimizing the amount of time required to complete the work. Always keep in your mind that replacing all your manual processes with technologies is beneficial to your plans. Injecting technology into your processes and operations provide significant improvements.
Overall, these techs deliver substantial gains to make your investments in real-time and money worthwhile.
4. Prioritize your clients
Incorporate and prioritize your clients’ needs as part of the process improvement project. From figuring out and deciding what procedures to improve first, consider its impact on your clients. Any process creating pain for your clients and even your crew members must be addressed first. When outlining the solutions, always think that these changes will improve the overall customer experience.
To identify those factors, do the following:
- Perform customer interviews
- Dig into your company’s client data
- Analyzing how often your clients avail your construction services
- Determine customer churn rate
Incorporate Process Improvements with Construction Scheduling Software
We already referred to the importance of choosing and deploying the right software solution for all aspects of your business – especially in the processes you use. The selection of the right modern tool plays an imperative role in enhancing the techniques and methods of your company.
And despite the growing complexities of your procedures and processes used within your business, the advancement of technologies today has also grown significantly, and just in time!
Standardizing your operations and deploying a reliable digital solution like Pro Crew Schedule will get you far with your process improvements. Not only does it improve overall processes, but it will also help your construction team to exchange real-time updates and info across multiple projects.
Try Pro Crew Schedule now and get started with a 30-day FREE trial!
A final piece of advice to improve overall processes – the reality is that you should revisit these areas in the future. Market forces, business goals, and new construction techs will upgrade and evolve, making your company’s established procedures insufficient and obsolete. So rather than having to execute massive projects whenever changes are required, adopt an approach of iterative, small improvements that happen regularly over time.