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The use of Evenflow for construction scheduling can revolutionize a builders business.  Perhaps one of the biggest problems is that builders assume it can only be used if your building 300 homes per year minimum. That’s wrong. Its about using a disciplined scheduling system. The two links below discuss evenflow in detail for large, medium and small builders.
I recently talked to remodeler David Merrick, president of Merrick Design & Build, outside of Washington, D.C. He says the market is strong, and is keeping them much busier than many of his cohorts in other parts of the country. Even there, though, project sizes are smaller and competition is heating up. Take a look at what David had to say by clicking here.
Several of us at Professional Builder are traveling the country this spring, speaking at The Pro Expos presented by Pella. The events are being held in 30 cities. For us, it is an invaluable opportunity to connect with builders, architects, and developers and to hear their strategies and tactics for managing through the downturn.
There two key things needed to really help start on the quality journey or to become refreshed on your journey. A detailed example of how a home builder has successfully implemented quality management and sustained it for years. Specific metrics showing the impact of quality for home builders These provide the means of proving the impact of quality and giving guidance and support in driving forward. Here is a  link to a detailed case study of the award winning Veridian Homes
The April 2011 issue of Professional Builder features our latest report on the adoption of building information modeling (BIM) and 3D design tools in the home-building market. Beazer Homes, Oakwood Homes, and Winchester Homes are among the builders that have made the switch to BIM technology and never looked back. These firms are benefiting from BIM in a number of ways. Here are five key benefits:
Five major national energy home building programs, Energy Star, LEED for Homes, Environments for Living, Building Americas Builders Challenge and the National Green Building Standard all have as a core element of their programs the use of the Blower Door Test (ASTM Standard E1827). Due to this the simple blower door test has had a national impact in the building of millions of energy efficient homes.  For example by just focusing on the Energy Star program, its impact has meant that over one million new ENERGY STAR qualified homes have been built to date.
The title of a best selling business book 'Death by Meetings' says it all. No one likes meetings, however, they are a crucial part of a well functioning communication process in an organization. The point of the book was actually that it need not be death by meetings, if only they were conducted efficiently. Meetings are not held just for the sake of holding a meeting they need to have a purpose, to have an agenda to be addressed, for those in attendance coming prepared and for the meeting to conclude with issues resolved, new goals and work assigned and deadlines agreed.
  Whatever the issue.  Whatever the idea. The first response was, no. Not an adamant no, not an angry no, not even a thoughtful considered no. But a calm, clear, instant ‘no’.
I recently got to spend some time in Madison, Wis., for one of our PR Night educational and networking events. Madison is one of those markets that has been relatively healthy throughout the downturn, with a strong white collar economy, led by state government and the University of Wisconsin. Even now the unemployment rate is below 6 percent.
While running a Kaizen Blitz (a short term improvement effort focused on a specific issue) or having a systematic Six Sigma project can have dramatic impacts on improving performance, don’t forget about getting small ideas everyday. For example in 2008 Coca-Cola Stockholm saved 1.5 million Kronor by using Six Sigma but at the same time saved 9 million Kronor from using simple front line improvement ideas!
Mission, Vision and Values are commonly used together, but what do they mean? Mission is why you exist Vision is what your striving to do Values are how you do your work In this blog we will focus on Mission. A mission statement, describes the PURPOSE of an organization!
Last month, I had the pleasure of spending a day in Seattle speaking to local home builders and remodelers about the growing importance of social media in their overall marketing efforts.
Oh yes, and let’s not forget the fish. ITS BREEDING SEASON! For those of you that have inherited projects with regulatory agency permits, it is imperative that you respect the Breeding/Nesting season beginning March 15 through September 15th.
You may feel that by talking with customers on a regular basis and reviewing surveys, that you have you finger on the pulse of your customers thoughts and attitudes. But the key to Focus Groups is to that you get a specific group of people together to discuss indepth a specific issue. This gives you detail that you otherwise would not get.
For a real relationship with trade PARTNERS we need to practice what we preach. First of all do you have a good partnership and relationship between the departments in YOUR homebuilding organization to start with. If your departments work in an integrated way, understand that you are each your INTERNAL CUSTOMERS and work as true partners then you will be able to translate that to the relationship with your trade partners.
This is where so much time, effort and money is lost. Doing it right the first time, not having rework, call backs, defects and warranty issues, is obviously a huge cost saving!
Jersey City, NJ -- Writing from the NARI Spring Business Meeting here, and the news seems to be mostly positive. Most remodelers I've talked to are seeing business pick up, with much better first quarters than a year ago. It seems to be the case pretty much nationally, as I'm hearing it from remodelers from Washington, D.C., to Indianapolis to Dallas to Seattle and points between. I'll be shooting some videos with some of those remodelers later this week, so keep an eye on HousingZone for those next week.
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.

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