When it comes to construction, we all know that with every new job comes a new set of unpredictable challenges. Plan as you might, there will always be new problems you didn’t see coming, or difficult conditions that arise unexpectedly.
With adequate planning, you can help empower your team to predict and prepare for potential issues before they appear. By following a few of these tips here, you can hopefully keep your next project on track to be successful.
1. Plan a Detailed – and Realistic – Timeline
“Control the controllables,” is a favorite quote of L&W Supply RVP Jake Gress and is a good methodology for contractors, project managers, and anybody else involved in construction. Since so many things can go wrong during a job that are outside of your control – like poor weather, issues with drivers, or late deliveries – adequate preparation is especially important.
By establishing a realistic timeline early on, you can help ensure that you and your team is hitting key milestones along the way. Planning your timeline well in advance can also give you an advantage when working with vendors.
“Vendors are no different from any other stakeholder in the supply chain,” says Paul Dean, Branch Manager for L&W Supply at Houston. “They have a finite amount of resources, so communicating with them about the project timeline early on can help prevent some of the delays outside of your control.”
2. Have a Plan for When Things Go Wrong
A backup plan is important to help ensure that you and your team can recover quickly when issues arise. To start, review problems that have come up on previous jobs and how you’ve bounced back from past mistakes. Give your team another benchmark or modified deadline to take into account what went wrong. This will help you get back on track.
Another important point is to let your customer or client know right away about the mistake and the modified timeline. Mistakes are forgivable, but withholding information from a customer is not.
3. Schedule Review Sessions with Team Members
Before the start of each new phase of your project, schedule a meeting with all of the team members involved. These meetings are the perfect chance to double check that your original goals are still achievable, that all team members are aware of these goals, and to forecast potential problems.
Give your team the chance to voice their concerns and share feedback. It is better to identify these issues at this key step before they arise (like inventory issues or budget shortfalls), that way you still have the chance to plan accordingly.
4. Walk the Jobsite with Your Distributors
As you know, having a strong relationship with distributors is key to keeping your jobsite running smoothly. This is why we always advise to take the time to walk the construction site with your distributors before any work begins. Construction sites are constantly changing, and your distributors know better than anyone how these changes can affect the ultimate outcome of the project.
“From day-to-day, the smallest change on a jobsite; access points, construction schedule, or changes in weather all affect the way your distributor gets your material where you want it,” says Mark Sweeney at L&W Supply Merchandise, former Branch Manager at Roselle. “Just by spending a bit of time walking the jobsite with your distributor may result in a huge savings of time, and everyone knows the one truism in the construction industry, ‘time is money.’”
Our hope is that you take these tips in account before starting your next project and that they can help you and your team find success. As with any organization, strong communication is key, so be sure to talk with your team and see what their suggestions are for making your next job successful.