Regardless of the season, decks have become an extension of the home. Many homeowners want to expand the footprint of their entertainment space by allowing the home to flow out onto the deck. This opens new opportunities for contractors to provide more amenities than they would otherwise consider when creating a deck project.
“Breakthrough means change, a dynamic, decisive movement to new, higher levels of performance……..Breakthrough is, then, the creation of good (or at least, necessary) changes, whereas control is the prevention of bad changes. Each is necessary for survival and health of the company. Through lack of control, the company heads for its doom slowly, in an atmosphere of constant turmoil, irritation and abrasion. Through lack of breakthrough, though all may be serene internally, the company is headed for some swift, mortal shocks.”   Juran, Managerial Breakthrough, 1964, p 2 & 4
Since 2006, the North American Deck & Railing Association has annually promoted “Deck Safety Month” each spring. The program raises awareness among consumers about the need to inspect their deck and can help them prepare for the outdoor entertaining season. Homeowners and/or past clients who are assessing the safety of their decks may ask a contractor to provide a more thorough inspection.
“Of the primary goals of Quality, Cost and Delivery, Quality should always have the highest priority. No matter how attractive the price and delivery terms offered to the customer, the company will not be able to compete if the product or service lacks quality.  Practicing a Quality First credo requires management commitment because managers often face the temptation to make compromises in meeting delivery requirements or cutting costs. In doing so, they risk sacrificing not only quality, but the life of the business as well.”     Masaaki Imai, Gemba Kaizen, 1997, p6
This link will take you to the Pence & Freese 2010 Baldrige Application (They earned the Baldrige Award for Performance Excellence for the small business category)  The application at the below link is 50 pages of amazing insights to how this company applies quality management.
Deck projects can expand to include a wide range of applications, such as light-commercial projects at restaurants or hotels as well as a variety of marina and dock projects near waterways. The possibilities can be seen in a recent dock project completed by Innovative Marine Solutions Inc. of Breiningsville, Pa. The project involved a dock system for a facility in North Wildwood, N.J. IMS crews installed a custom dock, gangway and aluminum substrate by combining the panelized fastening system from TimberStrong with deck boards from NyloDeck in its “Desert Spice” color.
Expanding homeowners’ outdoor living spaces has become one of the top remodeling projects. The projects often involve upgrades to better-quality materials, which usually means considering the variety of composite and alternative-material deck boards on the market. Composites can provide low maintenance and longer life. But they’re not all created equal. Here are key tips to consider when helping homeowners decide on the best choice for their project.
Outdoor living spaces are expanding, with larger decks and more attention to the entire yard. This trend gives homeowners ways to extend their entertaining spaces. As projects expand their scope, contractors can suggest amenities that add value while making their proposal more attractive.
May has been declared “Deck Safety Month” by the North American of Deck & Railing Association, a program the group started in 2006. Today, homeowners are more aware of the need to keep their deck safe, but they often don’t know what that entails. Knowing what they can do to be safe can help create a closer bond with customers—and bring in more business.
Perhaps two of the most famous quotes related to strategic planning are: ‘In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.’ Dwight D. Eisenhower and ‘No strategy survives first contact with the enemy.’  Moltke the Elder.
A lot has been written recently on the industry problem of getting good trades and rightly so. However, there is another problem you should not overlook, losing your current employees! A number of studies in 2013 including articles in Forbes Magazine predicted that in 2014 employee retention and engagement would be a top issue facing leadership. They were right, a study in 2014 by shows that 87.2% of respondents said that they wanted to leave their current jobs. A Gallup poll found that 52% of workers were not engaged in their work.
ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover challenged Veridian Homes (of Madison WI) in 2008 to build a home for a family in need.  The home builder’s quality management practices and innovation culture were the foundation of the project’s success, as the team used modified approaches and creative solutions to race against the clock. The TV show ended in 2013 and as I reflected on the impact of the experience with my colleague and co-author Gary Zajicek, regarding how critical Quality Management had been in the success of the project a paper was created for ASQs Quality Progress Magazine.
During the last 50 years, the rate of growth of households has outpaced that of population growth in the U.S. The total number of households more than doubled during that period, increasing from 53 million in 1960 to 115 million in 2010 and 117 million in 2012. By contrast, the total population of the U.S., which increased from 181 million in 1960 to 314 million in 2012, grew by about 75 percent.
St. Patrick was a man who very early in life was made aware of his strengths and weaknesses. He was empathic, persuasive and had a strong vision of what he wanted to achieve, he regularly used conceptualization (his use of the shamrock is his most famous) and he had strategic foresight in laying out his mission.
While analysts continue to argue about whether or not the dip in housing sales in the first two months of 2014 is weather-related or not, it might be helpful to step back and take a look at the last few years to gain some perspective about where the market may be heading.
The Wells Fargo/NAHB Builder Confidence survey, for February, reported a historic drop in Builder Confidence. The report was hyped and in some cases further embellished on many television stations and in print sources. The apparent source of this drastic decline in Home Builder confidence was the 9% drop in February’s prospect traffic. Come on, give me a break!  
  This is a case study by ASQ and its a great example of how quality tools can be applied to the construction industry.
The boom and bust cycle of the first decade of the 21st century had an enormous effect on U.S. homeownership rates.
“Two approaches to improvement to avoid: systems without passion and passion without systems” Tom Peters, Thriving on Chaos, 1987  This is a powerful quote to ponder, as is the need for constantly “Going back to the Basics” the hallmark of Vince Lombardi. Whether a huge company or a small one the basics are the basics, leadership and culture are what quality are based on.  Via the following link are 4 short interview videos with Bennie Fowler, Group Vice President of Quality and new model launch at Ford Motor Company, that underline these basics.
Studies show the industry has historically rejected change and adopted hard-handed negotiating techniques with respect to its suppliers.


Email Subscriptions