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The market bottom is clearly behind us, and this is validated by three very reliable indicators.  First, annualized home starts have more than doubled from the Spring of 2009.  Second, consumer confidence (and therefore builder confidence) continues an upward trend, and for regular readers, you know these are good predictors of sales activity for the next 6-9 months!  Third, and my favorite market turn around indicator, is that the Salesperson Auto Indicator (SAI) has turned positive.
The luxury housing market is back, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. Some of the properties mentioned in the WSJ report are off-the-charts expensive:  $88 million for a condo in New York City; a one-bedroom home in Los Angeles that sold for $20.1 million; a record $47 million sale in South Florida.
One of the world’s most influential architects, Barry Berkus, passed away at the end of November. While I didn’t know Barry well, I admired and respected him greatly.
The Six Sigma methodology DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) is used to improve an existing process.   Design for Six Sigma is used to design a new product or service. The methodology used is DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design and Verify). Define the goals and customer (internal & external) requirements. What is Critical to Quality. Measure customer needs and specifications this should include benchmarking competitors. Analyze the options.
“You Can Buy More Land in an Afternoon…   Than You Can Get Rid of in a Lifetime.”
There is no question that Lance Armstrong has one of the most unique comeback and sporting histories of all time.  He was a little known triathlete, cancer survivor, turned seven time Tour de France winner, and founder of an extremely successful non-profit foundation, before dramatically falling from public grace by virtue of the U.S Anti-Doping Association (USADA).  As a fellow cyclist and racer, I held Lance’s accomplishments in very high regard, adorning my office with Lance posters and a picture from our meeting after his 7th tour victory.The first lesson that I learn
My December column just came out on HousingZone.com and you can read it here: http://www.housingzone.com/scott-sedam-how-do-you-lead-leader or in the Professional Builder magazine.
It is critical to know what our customers think of living in the homes we build for them and what it was like to be involved in the design and construction process with us. In the case of survey results, this is a lagging indicator but still a track record of how we have done and it is powerful data. The more accurate the data and the faster we gather and act upon this data the more quickly we can listen, evaluate, correct anything that went wrong, prevent it happening again and seek further opportunities to improve.
A recent research study on quality in construction projects established the following Quality Problem Factors as the sources of quality defects. Quality Problem Factors Managerial/Stakeholder
It is clear that a housing recovery ground swell is underway. In 2013 we will be looking past survival and finally able to focus on business growth. That is why IBS 2013 is going to be phenomenal! The country’s best builders are already focusing on Lean as a platform to optimize their profits and maximize the marketability of their homes – here is your chance to do the same. There are two major programs being offered that will help you get started:
Come January 2013, we’re taking HousingZone’s already stellar coverage of residential design to a new level. Look for weekly blog posts from yours truly … a new monthly e-newsletter, “Design Innovation” … contributed articles from the best in the business … and much more.
In a recent study rework costs (including labor, materials, equipment and subcontractors) can run from 2% to 20% of a project's total contract amount according to the Construction Industry Institute. These costs are of course eventually passed on to the customer as profitability shrinks. The questions raised by this are: What is your cost of rework? and What quality tools are you using to reduce those costs?
Some things to consider when evaluating your trade partners and creating a scorecard include the following:

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