Standardization has become a bit of a buzzword in the business world, but there’s a good reason for the concept’s popularity. When many think about what standardization means, their first thoughts wander straight to Henry Ford’s assembly line in the early 1900s. His innovation changed the entire auto industry, reducing the staggering 12-hour build time of the Model T down to 2.5 hours. The benefits of such a drastic reduction in time can’t be overstated, but some can include:
- Increase in productivity from repeatability
- Reduction in mistakes
- Improvement in communication
- Less burden on IT
- Better availability and access to information
- Scalability as your organization grows
- Opportunities for continuous improvement
Standardizing on a software solution doesn’t have to be difficult. Our newest ebook, “5 Steps to Standardizing your Project on PlanGrid” walks through some of the key decisions to get the standardization process started. Below, we will also give you a closer look at exactly why teams should standardize their processes in the first place.
First Steps to Standardization in Construction?
When thinking about standardization in your organization, it’s important to start by focusing on the right areas to maximize productivity. Before standardizing anything it makes sense to ask a couple of sanity-checking questions, like:
- Why do I want this process standardized?
- What is the business benefit I will gain?
- What is the business benefit worth?
With those questions in mind, here are a few tips to get the standardization in construction process started.
Decide what is or should be repeatable
First, you need to determine what is actually repeatable. Standardized work can remove unnecessary risk in a process, including a reduction in injuries and stress. Determining what is repeatable allows you to place guidelines on the actions you’ve identified.
Figure out where you’re making mistakes
Take some time to ask your team where mistakes have arisen on recent projects. Make it clear that this exercise is not to assign blame, but has the intent of preventing the mistake from happening again in the future. If a process is standardized and a mistake still arises, it’s easier to step back and assess the problem without employees being fearful of punishment.
Define your communication lines
Spend some time deciding where communication on your team may have had some missteps in the past. Are your team members all communicating via email, via telephone or in person? Bolster your team’s communication by putting in place some guidelines, specifically around when certain scenarios arise on a project that requires documentation to justify your decisions. If there’s no process in place to capture this information, the risk of losing it increases.
Determine what information people need (and when)
Ask around and it’ll quickly become apparent that people in all industries struggle to find information. Missing and hard to find data can either be a simple nuisance or have substantial cost implications for a large project. It’s important to standardize the process of gathering and storing data in a repeatable fashion. This makes information easily and quickly accessible. If data storage is centralized, it should reduce the need to enter it in duplicate–saving time and allowing resources to be focused elsewhere.
Focus on continuous improvement
Lean methods have made the concept of continuous improvement a popular one in the modern construction world. Specifically, organizations that subscribe to this model focus on improving products, services or processes through incremental or breakthrough improvements. When an organization improves, they can save money, resources and time. This process can be implemented in a formal or informal fashion, so decide what makes the most sense for your organization and roll it out.
Standardizing your Project with Software
Achieving a higher level of success on your project is attainable when you standardize your project with construction software like PlanGrid. In this ebook we walk through finding your technology champions, building your roadmap, addressing the needs of your project team, integrations to consider and the best types of training that will secure a smooth rollout. Standardizing on the right construction software will:
- Improve communication
- Boost productivity
- Reduce training time and costs
- Lower support and maintenance costs
- Gain and retain data and insight for future projects
Higher Standards = Higher Profits
Setting up your team members with a scalable, standardized solution will empower your workforce with greater autonomy. Additionally, when your team has the clear expectations across the board for how they should be getting work done, accessing and sharing information becomes easier to manage. To help you get started, we’ve gone ahead and put pen to paper to share some of the best practices for standardization in construction.
If you’re short on time and want the quick and dirty guide to project standardization in construction, download our checklist.