President

Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award.

Despite the current market and the recession these builders show how they have continued to improve, change and increase their bottom-line and create satisfied customers with high quality homes.  There are the four winners of the National Housing Quality Award this year, with awards in the Gold, Silver and Bronze categories, a great way to celebrate NHQA still going strong in its 20th year!

Charter Homes, Gold

Wayne Homes, Silver

DSLD Homes, Silver

Vintage Homes, Bronze

On a construction site a worker was grumbling to himself as he worked. “How is it going?” I asked. “What?........oh…..ah fine…..well…..do you know on how many jobs they keep doing this the same stupid way? I keep fixing this damn thing every week.

A roof can represent 10-25% of the cost of a building, 90% of improper installation procedures are covered from view upon completion of work and defects are not identified until leaks or other problems occur at a later date, which brings us to the fact that roof failures feature high in construction litigation. Bottom-line doing the job right the first time is the way to go!

The most common deficiencies found in metal roof inspection are:

(1) Fastener back out

(2) Panel damage

(3) Leaks

(4) Seam defects

(5) Missing or damaged fasteners

Sometimes it feels as though buildings are being designed without consideration of those that will occupy them. Thought always needs to be given to how the environment will be used. For example while visiting a business recently and having time before a meeting started I realized that despite the foyer, long corridors and areas to congregate there was no seating available anywhere including any benches along the walls. There was also no WiFi available, there was also very poor signage for restrooms and no water fountains existed.

A recent survey conducted by Deloitte entitled ‘Core Beliefs and Culture’ showed that culture creates strong business performance, it also showed a key disconnect between leaders and employees.

Both “executives 94% and employees 88% believe that a distinct workplace culture is important to business success and  83% of executives and 84% of employees ranked engaged and motivated employees as the top factor that substantially contributes to a company’s success.”

I have personally seen organizations that have used initiatives to drive service excellence and have created for example 98% customer satisfaction as a result. In each case it has been about creating a systematic approach.

$50k which was to be transferred from one business account to another was not actually completed.

A client was given completely different instructions by 3 different representatives from the same office.

A client was confidently informed, ‘not a problem just call us when you are ready and we can make that happen easily’. When the client returned the representative realized in fact that they couldn’t make the change at all.

While Quality tools and techniques have been around for a long time and proven their worth I still see and hear situations that amaze me. For example a trade embraced quality and created checklists, inspection points, tracked problems, eliminated root causes meaning that fewer defects and call backs were occurring. This resulted in cost savings and improved customer satisfaction for his business. With pride therefore he described his approach to a new contractor he was seeking work from.

'Of course I do', or so you say! But do you, would you really? I have been shocked over the years at the reaction to those who approach managers, bosses, leaders and owners with insights to what is happening in an organization, presenting them with gold, telling them what is wrong, how it can be improved.

In some cases these have been very significant issues, ethical, legal and financial, only to have been dismissed, not believed, told to stop doing what they are doing or worse that they are the problem. 

Do you listen? Have you listened?

5W2H stands for 5 Ws and 2Hs or Who, What, When, Where, Whey How and How much.

When working on improving a process this is a very simple tool to help you think thorough improvement opportunities.

Who does this? This can lead to, could we do it with less people?

What is done at this step? This can lead to, can we eliminate some of the steps?

When does this start and finish? This can lead to, can we shorten the time it takes?

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