Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Your production (site) workers are your eyes and ears

Did anyone see Domino Pizza ceo, Don Meij, on Undercover Boss, Australia? If not, it's worth re-capping. Meij demonstrated a highly effective, but not always used, management strategy. He understands that the role of management is to support people at the workface, the ONLY people in the company actually generating revenue and interacting with customers all the time. By empowering and supporting the people on the ground, he knows that the company will thrive through their commitment and skill.

Many of us think of management as a pyramid, with the ceo at the top, being supported by the workers. It's an easy trap to fall into from the top floor of head office. Good management is better seen as an inverted pyramid, with the ceo at the bottom, supporting production teams with systems and resources to do their job efficiently and effectively.
Construction workers (trades and labour) can be cast in a very one-dimensional role,  performing electrical, plumbing, tiling, carpentry etc. It is a risky view for a business. Your workers at site are your eyes and ears. They know exactly what is happening and where your money is going. Management can ignore the richest source of job intelligence and attempt to stay informed by other means that are costly and ineffective. Trickle-up information flows are too slow in modern contracting environments. You can lose a payment entitlement in a week.  The alternative is to support and empower site workers to gather and report site intelligence as it happens.
Production workers can be empowered by instructing them on, and giving them responsibility for, reporting on contract management issues as they arise. This includes delays, variations, defects, coordination, WH&S, deliveries and a host of other issues.
With onerous time frames imposed by modern subcontracts, subcontractors can not afford to lose half a day waiting for business information from site. Providing for production workers to deliver "task-ready" advice from site is simple, efficient and cost-effective using tools like thepowertool mobile Site Diary.

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