I recently got to spend some time in Madison, Wis., for one of our PR Night educational and networking events. Madison is one of those markets that has been relatively healthy throughout the downturn, with a strong white collar economy, led by state government and the University of Wisconsin. Even now the unemployment rate is below 6 percent.
While running a Kaizen Blitz (a short term improvement effort focused on a specific issue) or having a systematic Six Sigma project can have dramatic impacts on improving performance, don’t forget about getting small ideas everyday. For example in 2008 Coca-Cola Stockholm saved 1.5 million Kronor by using Six Sigma but at the same time saved 9 million Kronor from using simple front line improvement ideas!
Mission, Vision and Values are commonly used together, but what do they mean? Mission is why you exist Vision is what your striving to do Values are how you do your work In this blog we will focus on Mission. A mission statement, describes the PURPOSE of an organization!
Last month, I had the pleasure of spending a day in Seattle speaking to local home builders and remodelers about the growing importance of social media in their overall marketing efforts.
Oh yes, and let’s not forget the fish. ITS BREEDING SEASON! For those of you that have inherited projects with regulatory agency permits, it is imperative that you respect the Breeding/Nesting season beginning March 15 through September 15th.
You may feel that by talking with customers on a regular basis and reviewing surveys, that you have you finger on the pulse of your customers thoughts and attitudes. But the key to Focus Groups is to that you get a specific group of people together to discuss indepth a specific issue. This gives you detail that you otherwise would not get.
For a real relationship with trade PARTNERS we need to practice what we preach. First of all do you have a good partnership and relationship between the departments in YOUR homebuilding organization to start with. If your departments work in an integrated way, understand that you are each your INTERNAL CUSTOMERS and work as true partners then you will be able to translate that to the relationship with your trade partners.
This is where so much time, effort and money is lost. Doing it right the first time, not having rework, call backs, defects and warranty issues, is obviously a huge cost saving!
Jersey City, NJ -- Writing from the NARI Spring Business Meeting here, and the news seems to be mostly positive. Most remodelers I've talked to are seeing business pick up, with much better first quarters than a year ago. It seems to be the case pretty much nationally, as I'm hearing it from remodelers from Washington, D.C., to Indianapolis to Dallas to Seattle and points between. I'll be shooting some videos with some of those remodelers later this week, so keep an eye on HousingZone for those next week.
A critical danger in any business is tunnel vision. The focus on just one thing at the expense of others! We can be the best at one particular area while others suffer and pull us down overall . The key is to be aware organization wide of the range of issues we need to balance to create excellence. The National Housing Quality Award is a powerful tool to allow us to view an organization in its entirety.
Now if your thinking, ‘in this economy I can ONLY see one week ahead, maybe a month at most, so what good is strategic planning?’ Well you STILL have a strategic plan, you are STILL following some framework you have established for your business, some agreed approach you are having your team follow. For example you are building ONLY certain types of home plans in a certain price range. Why that price range, why that home plan range? Because that is the strategy you have decided upon. So you DO have one! But the question is are you communicating it to your whole team?
It’s a cliché but everything starts with and ends with Leadership. It’s from leadership that the vision comes, the inspiration for the formation, direction, energy and culture of the organization all originate. This is especially true in regard to quality. In a survey of Baldrige winning companies they cited that leadership support was a key issue to successful quality implementation and success.
The NHQA criteria may look simple at first glance, just 8 headings, but this is deceptive, it has depth and complexity. Think of the range of issues involved in running a successful homebuilding business, can all of those issues be related to an aspect of the NHQA Criteria?
Looking for a way to focus and coordinate improvement initiatives? A3, which is named after the size of paper it is meant to be printed on. The aim is to have a summary of your improvement project from background through resolution all communicated on one sheet of paper! A3 becomes a merger of a charter document and a DMAIC improvement process. BACKGROUND:
Whether you are planning to or currently use Energy Star, NAHB National Green Building Standards, DOE’s Builder Challenge or another program, the key is conducting a gap analysis on your existing materials and methods of construction; selecting a program; planning transition; implementation; and sustaining (improving your performance in) the program. Quality tools and techniques can help you do this and ensure that all aspects of design and construction processes are conducted effectively and continually improved.
Reinventing the wheel can take a lot of time. So why not consider benchmarking best practices. The 2011 National Housing Quality Award Winners featured in the October edition of Professional Builder give three wonderful examples. Wathen-Castanos Hybrid Homes, Charter Homes and Haseko Construction. The 2010 October edition of Professional Builder Magazine features the three winners of the National Housing Quality Award. Wathen Castanos
What REAL bottom-line impact can Quality have on my business! When we look at the cost of not having quality, quality quickly becomes an investment worth making. Consider the costs of poor quality that the industry suffered during the boom as described in this Business Week article. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_08/b4216020278215.htm
When builders apply for Professional Builder’s National Housing Quality Award they receive much more than the chance to win an award — they get a detailed feedback report from industry experts and consultants on their business operations and practices. To offer an idea of the value of the report, I’ve calculated the total time spent on its development.
Whether you like checklists or not, there’s no denying the impact they can have on ensuring things get done right the first time, every time.
The NHQA consists of a set of eight criteria but how does it actually function? The criteria does not consist of isolated standalone elements, they interact and support one another in a systems approach. The following model has been developed to articulate how the NHQA criteria functions and interacts. The model follows the logical flow already used in the order of the criteria.