The key benefits of lean and six sigma include providing structured methods of improvement to reduce waste, shorten production time, reducing cost, reducing lead times, promoting concurrent work, accelerating activities, improving planning and control and ultimately high levels of customer satisfaction.
Creating change is not easy, neither is coming up with fresh ideas and perspectives to prompt those changes in the first place! Below I provide a model for change management and a list of change/improvement idea prompts. First of all here is an eight stage process for implementing change referred to as Kotters Model.
Here is a list of some of the best books on quality and performance improvement. A book that can help make the penny drop regarding the importance of change and improvement isWho Moved My Cheese by Johnson & Blanchard A great detailed book on quality tools is The Quality Toolbox by Nancy Tague An indepth look at the Deming Cycle PDCA is The Improvement Guide by Langley, Moen, Nolen, Nolan, Norman & Provost
There are a wide range of quality improvement tools and techniques, below are a list of some of them. We will be touching on all of these in this blog. At the end of this blog are links that will take you to free downloadable excel templates for many of these tools.
PDCA and DMAIC.  One of the most basic things to understand about process performance improvement is the Deming Cycle or Plan, Do, Check and Act (PDCA) This is also referred to as the earlier Shewhart Cycle which is Plan, Do, Study and Act. The plan–do–check–act cycle is a four-step model for carrying out change. Just as a circle has no end, the PDCA cycle should be repeated again and again for the foundation of continuous improvement.
SELF-ASSESSMENT Self-assessment is in itself an important process which should be conducted at least annually to monitor the performance of your business. This can be done using the National Housing Quality Award Criteria for Performance Excellence. NHQA Criteria has been an important tool for hundreds of home builders and trade contractors to assess and improve performance on critical factors to business success.
Metrics are all about the effectiveness of your processes. There are four key types of performance that we can focus on in this blog.
THE MARKET Surely the most important issue facing everyone in the homebuilding industry, indeed every industry today is improving performance. Reducing costs and leveraging resources to improve profitability.
In case you weren't able to catch it live, we've archived our webinar with Mark Richardson. As usual, Mark had some great insight into where the market is headed and how remodelers can take advantage of it. Just go to to view the full webinar.
If there’s one housing sector that is poised for a strong recovery in the next 12 to 18 months, it’s the rental housing market, namely apartment buildings. If you’re not evaluating the apartment sector, it may be worth consideration for your local markets because it appears that conventional funding sources may soon become more-readily available for these projects.
More good news this week for remodeling. The market keeps growing, even while new construction continues to get battered. The latest is a report from BuildFax, which tracks monthly permit information and shows that remodeling activity increased in January for the 15th straight month and was up 22 percent over a year ago.
On a snowy Washington morning last December, a group of us from Professional Builder had the privilege of spending a couple of hours with NAHB chief lobbyist Joe Stanton and key members of his staff. The purpose was to conduct an interview, which appeared in PB in February. Our aim was to simply get an update on upcoming issues facing builders.
By Jonathan Sweet, Editor in Chief Posted 3/7/11 The battle to repeal the new 1099 requirements continues to move at a glacial pace. (In case you missed it, you're going to have to start issuing a bunch more 1099s in 2012 if nothing changes. The requirement was included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed last year. You can read more in our earlier coverage.)
We’ve all heard the mantra, “Now is the time to buy!” Well, that also holds true for land acquisition. Distressed properties in the hands of lenders and court-appointed receiverships that have either partial or full land entitlements can be purchased at very low prices today. However, as the housing market recovers, the land prices will also increase. 
The Obama administration outlined three options to change the way home loans are financed, calling for the shutdown of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the next five years and reducing or eliminating the role of government in helping borrowers secure mortgages When implemented, the proposals will make it more expensive for borrowers to buy a home and thus restrict the availability of mortgages. It also marks a significant departure from past government policies, which entitled homeownership as a virtual right.
In my last blog, I discussed whether to comply or not to comply, and the bottom line is that you don’t have a choice but to comply under the Federal Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act provides for civil and criminal penalties. Levied by the U.S. EPA and the individual states, the penalties for non-compliance are very stiff and vary state to state.  In reviewing the state penalties for non-compliance, they generally fall under three categories:
My clients’ (successors in interest to distressed properties) most frequently asked question is: “Do we have to comply with the NPDES regulations if the project is dormant?”  Despite the fact that NPDES has been in effect since 1972 and the U.S. EPA Final Regulations Established stormwater permit application requirements for specified categories of industries on Nov. 16, 1990(1). there still exists some confusion for the people left holding the bag with distressed properties. 
By Jonathan Sweet, Editor in Chief Posted 2/16/11 In a report sure to cause some controversy, real estate research firm CoreLogic says that the National Association of Realtors is overestimating existing home sales by 15 to 20 percent. The firm says that NAR is not taking into account the higher share of sales going through MLS systems or the decrease in for sale by owner home sales in making their projections.
One of the big barriers to a housing industry recovery is the perception that there are a large number of vacant homes out there that are going to flood the market any day now. That perception may be wrong, though, according to respected housing economist Tom Lawler. Lawler analyzed some of the preliminary data being released from the 2010 Census and says the numbers don't jive with those the Census Bureau was releasing for 2009 vacancy estimates.
A preview of our February issue: