Blogs



“Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish? I know it's tuna, but it says 'Chicken by the Sea.'" We can thank Jessica Simpson for addressing that puzzling situation. A bit trickier, however, is the mystery centered around Lean design. Let me help clear it up. Lean design is an optimization of materials and processes achieved by high-level trade/supplier collaboration. Lean design focuses on the elimination of waste and is viable at ANY price point. A $5 million home can be just as Lean as an $85,000 home.
Every builder wants to have outstanding customer satisfaction, right?  Our research shows that to accomplish the highest customer satisfaction builders must think outside the box, and I don’t mean the proverbial “creative box,” I mean literally outside the house box!In our role as the “Voice of the Customer” partner for many of the nation’s leading home builders, we read and analyze thousands of customer surveys.  This extensive multi-market, multi-builder research allows us to  pattern and identify the industry's most frequent customer
During an orientation recently with a room full of suppliers and trades for one of our “LeanPlan Workout” implementations, I was interrupted by a woman who clearly did not appreciate my message. Despite my saying it 6 different ways and illustrating with numerous pictures, she was not buying my story that Lean is not about “dumbing down” the houses.
The Lean Enterprise Institute surveys show that 36% of companies attempting lean give up the efforts. Customer Relationship Magazine cites 60% of six sigma programs fail to give desired results. The problem is not the tools it is the approach that has caused the problems and frankly the approach would cause any project to fail.
They say a writer never “makes it” until he gets hate mail. In at least four blog posts this year, I have expressed my frustrations with architects and engineers in this country and those posts have invited a few terse replies, one of which appears below. My rant is that either through lack of care, concern, understanding or education, these professionals rarely recognize the critical link between their work and a builder’s ability to produce a high quality house at any price point in the most efficient, cost-effective, value-producing manner. And that costs us all.
A key aspect of quality management is the importance we place on employees, valuing people. We spend a significant amount of time and money officially sending this message to our team, espousing this pillar of quality. Yet, while doing this, we often directly contradict this by sending a clearer and longer lasting message. Let me give you a few examples.
For the last couple of years I've been speaking to groups of remodelers about crafting a social media strategy for their firms and one of the things I always say to do is to create a social media policy for your employees. One thing I didn't know about until this last weekend was that you need to be careful your social media policy doesn't violate labor laws. (thanks to attorney Jeremy Lewin, who shared this info at the NARI House of Delegates meeting Saturday.)
Home building is an extremely complicated business and as such requires very intelligent people and systems.  Think about it for a second.  To build a home, over 400,000 pieces/parts and 2,000 people must be precisely coordinated to bring these pieces, parts, and labor all together at the right time in the right sequence – and often at a remote address that may not have even existed 2 months earlier, WOW!  It takes very dedicated, intelligent people and solid, well planned, processes to pull that off!While the home building industry is blessed with people of abov
With Costco, Sam's Club and all the other "buy in bulk" stores out there today pantries are becoming larger and larger. Builders are finding it tough to compete if they are offering standard cabinet pantries (even in smaller homes). The answer to this is to provide a corner pantry. It takes up relatively little real estate and eliminates a blind corner.
The 100 Best Kitchens & Dining Rooms This new book from Beta-Plus is a nice collection of design ideas, but definitely more of the coffee table variety than for the pro. That said, it could definitely be a source of inspiration for you or your clients. There's a nice mix of contemporary and traditional designs, but to be clear this is a book of European homes. Not surprising, as it is from a European publisher, although the book is being marketed here in the U.S.
Being creative and innovative is something that is widely touted, but how do we actually do it? This may be needed for a particular issue during land development, most certainly necessary during design and of course during construction.  In todays economy cutting costs is a constant factor and to do this whether you are using lean, value engineering etc etc at the core is being creative and innovative. While there are a range of issues that go into making a company or team creative including culture, here is one structured approach to creativity, PISA.
Excuse me if you've heard this before ... In what we can't exactly call a surprise, another government program aimed at helping underwater homeowners is falling well short of it's goal. This time it's the Obama administration's "Hardest Hit" program, which was announced in 2010 that targeted states and communities most affected by the housing crisis. In a report issued today by the Special Inspector General for TARP, the program was found to have spent only $217 million of its $7.6 billion budget and helped only 30,600 homeowners.
Today, a sharp young guy named Ryan wrote to me after seeing a Keynote Presentation I did at the recent BuilderExchange meeting in Las Vegas. Two-hundred fifty people attended from 60 suppliers and a like number of builders.
My Aunt Janice (rest her soul) gave amazing Christmas gifts when I was a kid. One of my favorites was “Hugo the man with a thousand faces.” It was basically a bald plastic head with a case full of disguise equipment. Hugo had mustaches, glasses, eyebrows and wigs galore. Cool gift, wish they still made ‘em. This week we will look at a Lean-designed, 2,400-square-foot home designed for a growing family. This home picks up on many current trends in housing and, like Hugo, it has the ability to morph into countless facades. Let’s take a closer look:
A Risk Management Benchmarking Survey in 2010 showed that 65% of businesses conduct no form of risk analysis prior to making major corporate decisions. While on 42% have any form of risk management audits or procedures. However, a study in the Accenture Global Risk Management Study in 2011 showed that for 98% risk was now seen as a higher priority than just two years ago.
A builder would never build, merchandise, and maintain a model without staffing it, would they?  Of course not - this would be abuse of an asset!  The return on this asset (ROA) would be zero, zilch, nada.  No competent manager would ever allow an asset to exist without some expected return on that asset, right?Most builders expect their model, community, and marketing to return at least one sale per month and cover the bulk of the costs.  Two sales per month break even, and three sales per month make it a profitable community.  The numbers may va
When you look at your trade contractors, your suppliers, product distributors, what do you see? Are they a line item, an expense, a necessary evil or are they true partners? It’s easy to look at your drywall guy, your lumber yard or your window supplier as someone with which you simply do business with, but finding new ways to partner can be an important way to succeed.
Last fall the president of one of America’s “Top 10” builders who I have known for years corralled me at a conference. Because I travel this industry about as much as anyone, he likes to pump me for intelligence – as I do him. He wondered, what did I see out there? Who was making it? Who wasn’t? Which cities were ready to emerge and which were not?  I gave him my take on things and then he asked a series of bombshell questions, “Who really impresses you? Who truly has the best practices?
Construction projects are complex in nature and prone to cost and schedule overruns. A significant factor that often contributes to such overruns is rework. 

Pages

Email Subscriptions