50% improvement in productivity
Kurt, Foreman for a professional, full mechanical company including plumbing, hydronics, HHVAC and based in Vancouver, WA told Session 3B of the Leadership Development Lab™:
“I started the job I’m currently on about a year ago. It’s a six-story apartment building in Hillsboro. This job had a tower crane set up. I hadn’t had much experience working under a tower crane, so I took a rigging class along with one of our apprentices.
“When I talked with the crane operator about how to rig up our fiberglass tubs he said they normally rig two tubs back to back and run the sling around them and he mentioned that he is always nervous when they are flying. Well, if he was nervous, I would be even more nervous!
“I decided to design a basket to haul the tubs up to the sixth story. First, we had to have the basket engineered and then build it in our shop. The basket hauls three tubs at a time and works great. We also used the basket to haul all our fitting up to the upper floors. Now we don’t have to carry the fittings on our backs up six flights of stairs. The basket worked so well that the other subcontractors on the job asked to either borrow or rent it. This basket saved us a lot of time because we didn’t have to rig each set of tubs that we flew, and we could haul three units instead of just two at a time, a 50%+ improvement in productivity!
“The lesson I learned from this experience is I will never improve performance if I keep doing things the way things have always been done. To beat the bid, I must continuously look for ways to improve our processes.
“The action I call you to take is push the edges. Keep asking, ‘How could we do this faster? How could we do this safer?
“The benefit you will gain is more fun in your work. You may find ways to improve your productivity by 50% and proudly ‘beat the bid.”
It would have been quite easy for Kurt to just continue doing the “flys” the way they had been done. To make this 50%+ improvement in productivity, he first had to ask himself, “In what ways can we fly the tubs easier, faster, safer?” Then listen for that inner voice of his subconscious mind to start suggesting ideas. Then, he had to have the courage to ask, “Could we build a basket?” Then push to sell his idea to the powers that be. This takes, as we say, the “courage of your convictions.”
“If you always do what you always did,
you will always get what you always got.”