What happens when fabrication, project managers, VDC, manpower, and field experts in multiple trades get together on a committee?
We do things better.
“How can we improve what we do and how we do it?” This is the question at the heart of the Productivity Committee, created with communicating new ideas and solutions top-of-mind.
According to Vice President Paul Smith, the first meeting took place in 2011.
“Carey Minihan [senior project manager] first had the idea,” Paul said. “Because we are a complex company with such diverse offerings, we thought it would be beneficial to share ideas and innovation between teams.“
Today, the committee is headed by Project Manager Bo Wempe, and has expanded to include operations, manpower, fabrication, VDC, and project managers.
The committee itself meets monthly, providing a forum of representatives who aren’t afraid to dig in to the hard questions and provide suggestions for – or criticism of - what’s being done or proposed.
“We mostly discuss things such as new tools, new construction methods, and other items that either help of hinder productivity,” Bo said.
The ideas and information that come out of committee meetings have been shared with field foremen via Minutes Matter, the original field productivity training talk which was sent out monthly, and the results are currently shared in quarterly foreman meetings.
“As we determine cost savings/tools/processes that we need to share, we do it in our quarterly foreman’s meetings,” Paul said.
Many times, the discussions lead to implementation of solutions, or outcomes, that greatly improve efficiency.
For example, Bo notes the recent first-time use of cable hangers on plumbing pipe at Children’s Mercy Hospital (CMH).
“The cable hanger system for plumbing lines is relatively new to the industry, having only been around a couple of years,” Project Manager Nate Pierce explained. “At the time we were deciding to use this system at our CMH Research Tower project, we were only aware of one other contractor in town that had installed this type of system.”
Nate noted that, as with anything new, there was some hesitancy to try it.
“This project involved the remodel of an entire floor, and posed a good opportunity to give the system a try and determine the impact of the savings,” he said.
And the gamble paid off.
“We noticed a direct impact on productivity in the movement\ of materials to the construction space,” Nate said. “Typical hanger deliveries, fabricated and delivered, would require two people to move the cart off the truck at the loading dock and take it to the space through the facility.
“With these cable hangers, one worker can grab a box of 400 hanger cables and take it to the space without assistance. It would have taken two trips to the construction space to move 400 pre-fab hangers.”
At a recent January meeting, Pipe Shop Production Manager Jeremy Price introduced a new change that will allow greater communication between the field, VDC, and project managers when changes to deliveries occur.
“This year, we began using a new productivity and scheduling software which allows us to better plan our workflow through the piping/plumbing, electrical, and sheet metal fab shops using real-time updates,” Jeremy said.
“This schedule includes submittal durations, VDC, and shop production with the intent of streamlining the fabrication processes and warehouse deliveries in order to be more productive and thus more profitable.”
In 2020, the Productivity Committee celebrates nine years of innovative implementations and solutions that keep P1 Group working smarter.