Creating an Environment of Continuous Improvement in Construction
How can you create an environment of continuous improvement within your construction company? The answer is relatively simple however the process is quite complex.
“Learn Today, Succeed Tomorrow” is a core value here at Colony. How do we achieve this? We schedule painstakingly thorough Lessons Learned meetings at the completion of each and every project. We bring everyone together: the Lead Estimator, the Project Manager, the Contracts Administrator as well as the entire management team and President. In fact, we invite all employees to attend so they can witness firsthand the day-to-day challenges we faced on executing the project and we encourage everyone’s input on finding solutions to mitigate any hurdles encountered to improve all aspects of future projects down the road.
For example, during our Lessons Learned meetings, we undertake a detailed review of the project budget. What was over budget, what was under budget, and most importantly, why? This review gives our Estimating team scope of work clarifications, scope gap information, current pricing feedback, and real-time delivery information that we face on the operations side. This in turn allows them to provide more competitive and accurate future budgets and allows them to create more realistic schedules for future proposals.
We also review the performance of our key vendors on the project during our Lessons Learned meeting. Vendors are recorded on Safety, Quality, Schedule, Commercial and Communications categories. We score each category so we can assist our key vendors to help them improve their performance for future jobs and, in doing so, strengthens our relationships with each of them.
Colony uses a set of Procedures for every project from the proposal stage to final completion and these documents are constantly being upgraded based on feedback from our Lessons Learned meetings. We have created a series of checklists that are required for completion and sign-off before a project can be advanced to subsequent phases.
Safety is at the forefront at Colony and every Lessons Learned meeting includes a thorough review of the project’s safety logs with the goal to consistently learn from past experiences and better ourselves at everything we undertake and, most importantly as one of our core values states, to “Go Home Healthy”.
The main takeaway from this process is that one simply cannot be satisfied with the status quo. Garry Kasparov, world-renowned chess champion once said, “Question the status quo at all times, especially when things are going well”. There is always room to improve and at Colony, our Lessons Learned procedures are one way we “Learn Today, Succeed Tomorrow”.