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.
The NHQA criteria may look simple at first glance, just 8 headings, but this is deceptive, it has depth and complexity. Think of the range of issues involved in running a successful homebuilding business, can all of those issues be related to an aspect of the NHQA Criteria?
Looking for a way to focus and coordinate improvement initiatives? A3, which is named after the size of paper it is meant to be printed on. The aim is to have a summary of your improvement project from background through resolution all communicated on one sheet of paper! A3 becomes a merger of a charter document and a DMAIC improvement process. BACKGROUND:
Whether you are planning to or currently use Energy Star, NAHB National Green Building Standards, DOE’s Builder Challenge or another program, the key is conducting a gap analysis on your existing materials and methods of construction; selecting a program; planning transition; implementation; and sustaining (improving your performance in) the program. Quality tools and techniques can help you do this and ensure that all aspects of design and construction processes are conducted effectively and continually improved.
Reinventing the wheel can take a lot of time. So why not consider benchmarking best practices. The 2011 National Housing Quality Award Winners featured in the October edition of Professional Builder give three wonderful examples. Wathen-Castanos Hybrid Homes, Charter Homes and Haseko Construction. The 2010 October edition of Professional Builder Magazine features the three winners of the National Housing Quality Award. Wathen Castanos
What REAL bottom-line impact can Quality have on my business! When we look at the cost of not having quality, quality quickly becomes an investment worth making. Consider the costs of poor quality that the industry suffered during the boom as described in this Business Week article. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_08/b4216020278215.htm
When builders apply for Professional Builder’s National Housing Quality Award they receive much more than the chance to win an award — they get a detailed feedback report from industry experts and consultants on their business operations and practices. To offer an idea of the value of the report, I’ve calculated the total time spent on its development.
Whether you like checklists or not, there’s no denying the impact they can have on ensuring things get done right the first time, every time.
The NHQA consists of a set of eight criteria but how does it actually function? The criteria does not consist of isolated standalone elements, they interact and support one another in a systems approach. The following model has been developed to articulate how the NHQA criteria functions and interacts. The model follows the logical flow already used in the order of the criteria.
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION While it has been long established that organizations with a quality foundation have better leverage to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction, one key way to attaining this goal comes from being particularly focused on employee satisfaction. (1) You might hear this cited but its believe it or not so often overlooked. Also you may have heard this before but never actually seen any data to prove it. Well here is some evidence for you.
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.