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I recently made the decision to relocate from Rochester, New York to Sarasota, Florida. Leaving annual accumulations of snow averaging 130 inches along with 80% of my days under grey clouds was my family’s motivation for the move. We couldn’t be happier. One of our new founded traditions is too be beach side every Sunday. Looking over the Gulf of Mexico is a certain fix for a hectic work week. I wanted to share with my readers that I have come to appreciate a phenomenon that exist on the beach that is strangely similar to what you as a leader face every day in the workplace.
In my blog two weeks ago, I launched into a tirade about how so many residential architects are not doing their job. Each week, I link this blog back to the LeanBuilding Group on www.linkedin.com. Many members posted responses with good points on how to remedy the problem. Here are some excerpts from them. I thought I’d let them do the talking this week. (Note: if you are not a member, go to www.linkedin.com and search “Lean Building.” The group will come up, and join! There are some excellent discussions going on.)
When it comes to trusses "Piggyback" is a four letter word. Piggyback trusses are little trusses that sit upon larger trusses to allow the roof configuration to reach a certain height/span. In general a piggyback system is very expensive and time consuming to put together. Piggyback systems can cost anywhere from $800 to $1500 per house depending upon the configuration, and in many cases this waste can be eliminated.
The Organizational Excellence Committee for the Quality Management Division of ASQ has launched a webpage with a series of papers to support and promote Business Excellence Models such as Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, the European Excellence Model and therefore, the National Housing Quality Award. So if you want to hear new perspectives and get new ideas on performance excellence, especially if you use the National Housing Quality Award Criteria this will be interesting reading. New papers will continue to be added.
In my travels, I have seen a lot of different places, both in the USA and outside.  When I travel, one of my favorite activities is finding great little spots to see and taste the local culture.  When traveling in New Orleans, I asked the concierge where to go to get great food.  He politely told me of several well-known spots near the hotel.  I then asked where he would eat and the answer was vastly different and exactly what I was looking for.
Diversity in the workplace is a key issue in Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. Diversity creates new perspectives, new viewpoints. Talking with colleague Michael Avramides recently reinforced this issue. Here is a thought from Michael on this important topic. Memo to Human Resources: It's about time!   Lessons from a Movie Producer for Quality- and HR Managers
Over the last few months, I've talked to a lot of remodelers that are opting to use the cloud to store their files and share them with subs and clients. The idea is that it gives companies an easy way to back-up files and move them without spending a lot of money on servers, extra hard drives, etc. It's a great idea - I do it myself, using Amazon's cloud service, as well as Dropbox.
Philadelphia, Oakland and six other U.S. cities will get free help this year from sustainable building and development experts with an eye toward the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED standard for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND). The others are Dearborn, Mich.; Eden Prairie, Minn.; Greensboro, N.C.; Lafayette, Ind.; Lakewood, Colo.; and Louisville, Ky.
We reached out to dozens of remodelers for this month’s cover story, asking them what they saw as their top challenges and opportunities for 2012. We also asked them to define their “key to a successful 2012.” And that’s where things got interesting.
A study published in ASQ’s Quality Management Journal this month (Jan 2012) found that ISO9001 Certification (Quality Management Systems Requirements) improved workmanship performance substantially in construction projects. It establishes a substantial correlation between ISO9001 certification and the improvement of workmanship performance. 
As many of you know by now Professional Builder is holding three days of plan reviews by some of the top designers and architects in the country during the International Builders Show. I am honored to be part of that group and very much look forward to the event. Here are some juicy insider tips to help you take advantage of the opportunity:
With the February edition of Professional Builder, I begin a series on the evolution of quality management. Here is a more detailed version of an excerpt from that article to come. Be sure to read that.
Walking in my home last evening, I was greeted with the usual excitement of children running around, the dog barking and my wife sharing the latest item in the home that needs my attention.  The kitchen faucet decided it was time to throw an aerator, spraying water on any unsuspecting user.  So, another trip to the hardware store for another “green” repair. 
Trade partners have used the National Housing Quality Award over the years as an application process to gain independent feedback on how they can improve their bottom-line and the criteria as a way to evaluate their own processes. Trades have used the NHQA to create fewer callbacks, lower cycle times and better overall quality.  Best practices include:
Remodeler winners of the National Housing Quality Award over the years cite a range of best practices that helped them to achieve this level of excellence. This includes the following as just a few.
For years the building industry has been focused on sealing the holes in our homes to prevent air infiltration. Initially our concerns focused on improving energy efficiency by containing all our conditioned air within the building envelope.  Builders at all levels are doing a much better job closing the gaps in walls than we were doing 10 years ago.  The question I am asked today centers not on then need to close the gaps, but “How tight is too tight?” 
Many people today still see quality as being about 'incremental improvement' rather than innovation and fast dynamic change and particularly those focusing on six sigma tend to see it as being about 'defect reduction/elimination' only. It is good to go back to the original source and for quality that means going back to Deming. Consider these points for how you run your business. Deming considered that quality starts in one place, top management and it cannot be delegated.
In the past year, during our LeanPlan Workout process, we had the dubious honor of “working on” plans from 3 of the biggest name, most expensive architectural firms in the country (among others.)
One of the benefits of working with builders and customers all over the country is that I get a real grasp of what is happening with design trends. For the longest time it seemed everyone wanted a second floor Laundry Room. The logic was that all if all of the bedrooms (including the Owner's) are upstairs then that is where the Laundry should be. Here are some of the supporting points to that logic:
This short video wonderfully highlights key quality issues that impact the Cost of Quality and avoid risk. It is ideal for introducing quality, risk management or for opening a discussion, presentation or training on quality. http://asq.org/audit/106287/web.html?shl=106287&WT.dcsvid=MjI0MzEyNzg1NQS2&WT.mc_id=EM117917

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