Productivity . . . according to the definition it means “the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.”
Well, that clears it up, right? If the definition can be reduced to a simple formula, then why does productivity mean something a little different to everyone you talk to in the construction industry, especially in the trades? Is it output or throughput? What about installed work? It’s an interesting debate.
There are hurdles that everyone faces, one being the sheer number of people and skills involved in putting a building together. It’s no shocker that problems arise. Construction is an amazing industry that constantly has to deal with issues around weather, materials delivery sequencing, scheduling teams on the jobsite, and coping with changes in the scope of the job. With those four issues alone stacked against productivity, it is a miracle the trades are able to get anything done.
Yet advancements in technology promise to get us all on the same page with improved internal communication within teams and then collaboration among teams. Tracking installation of materials – or tracking just about anything – has been a huge challenge in the construction industry. Feedback of the data collected to the estimator can be valuable on subsequent jobs. Companies need to find the technology tools that address their issues and keep them competitive.
In episode 30 of the Bridging the Gap Podcast, I chatted with Rob McKinney, the ConApp Guru himself, about his productivity tips tied to modern technology and the need for companies to specialize rather than being generalists. He has his own suggestions for steps to improve efficiency and productivity. They revolve around managing a company’s personnel, managing the equipment and managing the schedule. One of the solutions that addresses these management challenges can be prefab.
Rob is a proponent of prefabrication and explains that one of its strongest features is the benefit of planning ahead. You can have materials delivered when you need them. You can avoid taking up space storing materials for long periods of time until they’re needed. Everyone involved in a project can benefit from more organization and tighter scheduling, whether it’s offsite or onsite construction. Tracking everything surrounding the project can be an eye-opening exercise. And that’s where openness, continual improvement and lifelong learning pay off in the long run.
Rob is on a mission to educate the construction industry about the uses of new apps and technologies on projects. He works with software apps every day to better understand how they can improve workflows in the construction industry. Through this experience, plus past duties as a safety director and numerous interviews with industry thought leaders about the changing influence of construction technology, he has amassed a background on what works.
Check out episode 30 of the Bridging the Gap Podcast, “The Holy Grail of the Industry…Productivity” for a deep dive into all things productivity with Rob McKinney.