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.
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.
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.
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.