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Spring is here, and work is picking up as the weather warms. The Home Depot is kicking off the spring season with its first quarterly Pro Appreciation Event of 2015, including seven days of exclusive savings on tools from well-known brands like DeWalt, Makita and Milwaukee. The event runs from March 23–29 and includes an in-store appreciation day in all U.S. stores on March 26 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
With warm weather approaching, upgrades and enhancements to outdoor spaces are top of mind, especially considering that 85 percent of single-family homes in the United States include a porch, deck or some kind of outdoor living area, according to USA Today. Whether working on a porch or deck – you’ll need lumber. It’s important to study up on the pros, cons, and latest options in wood versus composite lumber to help educate and guide your customers.  
We all know we do a great job, while we all can improve our business it’s just minor stuff, things are just great. But so often we are unaware of what is really going on and how much needs to be improved. Here is the 'gorilla video', when you play it tell everyone to hold comments until you are done. Ask them to count how many times the ball was passed between the players wearing white shirts, tell them you will have questions afterward. After you play the video ask a question such as, how many passes did they make, who was the best? DON’T ask about the gorilla.
Tools and technologies are introduced every day that can help you do your job more efficiently. From new inventions to subtle enhancements, here are several innovative products that will help you save time and money.   Upgrade
The key barriers to Implementing Lean Construction have been listed in a UK Construction Industry study. These provide great insights to ensure that your lean implementation is successful. All of the barriers in this report can be overcome; it is all about planning, laying the groundwork and having top leadership support. The study found the most significant barriers were……….. 1 Lack of adequate lean awareness and understanding 2 Lack of top management commitment 3 Cultural & human attitudinal issues You can download the paper at this link.
A new book out called ‘The Elements of Building: A Business Handbook for Residential Builders and Tradesmen’ by Mark Kerson is a valuable read. If you are thinking of starting up a homebuilding or trade business, have a relatively new business, want to develop your staff or just have a resource book on hand this is a great book to have.
  Many winterization jobs are simple enough to add into your scope without adding substantial time or cost to ongoing jobs, and a few simple upgrades to your toolbox can help you knock it out even more quickly and effectively.
Firefighting is a well-known management term for, well running around like a headless chicken doing work that is actually not productive or profit making. Some people take great pride in being the firefighter as it is also the role given to the person that is the best ‘get it done’ problem solver in the company. However, the fires themselves are nothing to be proud off. They are the result of problems in the system and management of the company and they never go away. They get knocked off one by one and another arises.
The NHQA Application is available for download at this link http://www.probuilder.com/NHQAapp For Questions on the application, please contact Serge Ogranovitch, NHQ Award Director at Serge@Potomack.net  or by cell phone at 703 980 6565
Engineered to provide strength and consistency, Weyerhaeuser’s Trus Joist® TJI® joists are one of the most fundamental components of a solid, high-performance floor system. And with their light weight and long lengths, TJI joists are faster and easier to install than traditional framing, which can save time and money.
This link is to a free presentation on the National Housing Quality Award. It provides an introduction to  how it functions, its implementation, management, impact, self-assessment and the application process. http://www.slideshare.net/DenisLeonardPhDCMQOE/nhqa-presentation
Looking for a New Year Resolution? How much more effective could your organization become if it were to take steps to enhance its culture of quality? Take this short ASQ self-assessment to receive a report card that gives you a clear view of your culture of quality across 10 essential themes, pinpoints areas of strengths and opportunities, and offers practical recommendations.
The National Housing Quality Award has a Linkedin Group https://www.linkedin.com/groups/National-Housing-Quality-Award-1469587/about And a Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Housing-Quality-Award/330308933842399 Join in the communities and share ideas, best practices and continue to drive improvement in your business!
Remodelers around the country cited increased demand among homeowners for kitchen upgrades in 2014, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). With so many homeowners wanting to transform their kitchens into contemporary spaces with simple lines, sufficient storage and space for electronics, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest kitchen design and remodeling trends to maintain a competitive edge.  
When designing a wood-framed floor system for residential projects, building to meet the applicable codes is only one step in the design process. Having met code requirements, there is an array of choices a designer must consider that impact the day-to-day use of the floor.
So often the thought for increasing profit is to build more homes. When in fact, the easiest way to increase profit is to reduce the Cost of Poor Quality. Cost of Quality (COQ) consists of: Prevention Costs Appraisal Costs Failure Costs Prevention and Appraisal Costs are the normal costs involved in a well-functioning business. However, Failure Costs are the Costs of Poor Quality! By reducing the Failure Costs, the profitability of each home is increased.  In most organizations the Failure Costs exceed the costs of Prevention and Appraisal.
Design trends come and go, but one change that’s likely permanent is homebuyers’ desire for more open floor plans that provide a better space for entertaining, encourage interaction, and open up interior rooms to more natural light. Old layouts that compartmentalize first-floor rooms into formalized spaces have given way to flowing great rooms combining kitchen, dining and living. Such floor plans also support the idea of “flex space,” with rooms able to shift roles as a family’s needs change.  
Technology in retail has greatly advanced over the past several years, not only for consumers, but for professional customers as well. Sometimes new technology can seem intimidating or like a hassle. It doesn’t have to be. Retailers are customizing products specifically for your business, and you may be surprised at the range of helpful technology out there designed specifically for Pros – trade professionals and contractors.
Black Friday marks the biggest day in retail – providing you with an opportunity to save money on the tools that help you do high-quality work faster and more efficiently.  

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