Is everyone sitting around waiting because you ran out of nails? When employees leave the jobsite to pick up materials, you have a double loss with transport costs and time. Studies show that these costs can take up as much as 2-4% of the project’s profits for most small to medium construction companies. But with a better system and planning, you can vastly reduce lumberyard runs and improve your efficiency and your bottom line.
What it Costs
Work out how many trips to the lumber yard each job has taken, and how much time and money was wasted in doing so. Think about it this way – it takes 20 minutes to drive there, 20 minutes to order and pick up and another 20 minutes to drive back to the jobsite; that’s 1 hour multiplied by the number of people waiting. Then add in fuel, vehicle maintenance etc. Then you can accurately estimate what these trips cost over the course of a year.
Assign your lead carpenter the task of planning ahead. Each day they should spend a couple of minutes defining the goals for the next day and the next week. It’s best if your plan runs for two or three weeks in advance. The reason this needs to be reviewed each day is to account for changes and delays as well as weather. It also means that each worker knows what their tasks are for the next couple of weeks.
Planning should include:
- Tasks and responsibilities for each employee so that they are accountable for their time
- Ordering of all the materials that will be required
- Arrangement with trades and subs who may be needed to complete each task
- Any permissions or information required from the client
- Safety gear or procedures that need to be reviewed for specific tasks
Make a List, Check it Twice
When you head to the grocery store or out on a camping trip, you make a list of all those little things you are likely to forget. Each lead carpenter or site manager should start compiling a list of all the small components that are likely to require a run to the lumber yard.
Create a checklist with anything that has been forgotten in the past that you can quickly run through every time a trip to the lumber yard is coming up. Things like nails, screws, glue and tape should be on this list to ensure that your jobsite doesn’t grind to a halt.
Reward Good Planning
It may be difficult to implement the new planning regimen, especially if you aren’t onsite every day. You can encourage your teams to cooperate by keeping a tally of the runs made during jobs in the past. If lumber yard runs are reduced by a team, offer a bonus, to buy lunch or rewards for reducing costs and improving efficiency.
When your team gets into the habit of planning ahead, they are less likely to make mistakes or order the wrong thing and your overall efficiency will improve dramatically. Better planning makes for a better build and can cut down on paperwork too.