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Letter from the President: Times, They Are A Changin’

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I have attended meeting after meeting over the last few years and the two things I hear most often are:

  1. How different all of our markets are
  2. How much effort employers spend making their office more efficient

Everyone’s market, no the matter location, is essentially the same. The real difference lies in the portion of the market that different companies choose to position and promote themselves in.

When was the last time you put the same amount of effort into examining and improving your field operations as you put into your office operations?

It seems when things go astray in the field we tend to blame people when, in reality, some of the problem may be in the process. Each one of us should spend a week in the field listing every little thing our crews do and the amount of time it takes for them to do it. This would include things we may think are insignificant.

“If you are willing to do more than you are paid to do, eventually you will be paid to do more than you do.” (anonymous)

Wall Forms:

Let’s take a look at setting wall forms. List out the time it takes to:

  1. Clean panel edges
  2. Build corners
  3. Walk the panels to where they are needed
  4. Put in pins and wedges
  5. Look for fillers
  6. Put in double fillers rather than one large filler
  7. Place the concrete (and consolidate to the required finish)
  8. Strip panels
  9. Walk panels and fillers again
  10. Etc., etc.

You may have useful realizations. For example, you may realize you already paid for a new set of panels with the time lost due to the inefficiency of utilizing old panels.

Now, let’s look at material handling procedures. If you reduce the size of panel cages, it will allow for an increase in reach with the same weight capacity boom. This will decrease the amount of time spent walking panels to and from the cages. The ability to load smaller cages on the outside of the foundation saves you from pulling panels over the top of the wall, and from the liabilities incurred with working on the top of the wall.

Consider, on larger jobs, putting a skid steer with forks on site to move forming materials around on the site.

 

Flatwork:

Does high range water reducer reduce the number of people required to place flatwork?

Does it reduce finish time?

Do you still finish edges by hand when power edgers are available?

 

Rebar:

It may be much more cost effective for one person to fabricate rebar in the shop rather than multiple people fabricating it in the field.

 

Crew Trucks:

Are all crew trucks organized differently? They should all be organized alike if they are being used for the same purpose. This will avoid “looking for spoons in the pots and pans cabinet.”

 

Shop/Warehouse:

Are these areas organized in an order where even a stranger could easily find an item for you with little instruction? Is everything always put back in the same place?

These are only a few examples of the areas and types of things you may want to look at. Perhaps you can come up with other ways to be more time- and cost-efficient.

When examining functions, you may say, β€œIt only takes a few seconds. But seconds turn into minutes and minutes cost money, too.” Look at every function with the attitude that believes there is a way to be more cost-effective. The task of finding a better way may include a CFA member hotline topic, or a phone conversation with another contractor or Associate member. One way I found effective was to visit another contractor or Associate member’s facility.

We often think that our existing procedures are the most efficient ones to use, and that it would cost too much to change our procedures or buy more efficient equipment. However, by increasing organization and utilizing more efficient equipment, it is possible to reduce labor that can never be recovered or turned into profit. Organization is the key to profit and success.

I hope that at least one of the experiences I have shared over the last two years of President’s Messages has been of some value to you. It has been an honor and a privilege to represent such a great organization and its membership β€” a privilege that I will always be thankful I had the opportunity to have. In July, Phil Marone will become your new president. I am looking forward to Phil’s leadership and wish him the best.

I would like to thank the CFA Staff, CFA Board, and all CFA Members for the support I have received over the last two years.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dennis Purinton
Purinton Builders, East Granby, CT

CFA President 2016-18

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us