How Productive is Your Crew? How do you Know?
While the “production” on various construction jobs may be different, the objective in measuring production is the same—how much work/in what period of time/at what cost. While that seems like a pretty simple equation, there are so many variables at any given site that barriers to production can easily be overlooked. Here’s a quick checklist to help spark some thinking about how you can improve production on your jobsite.
Establish and communicate clear production targets for every shift.
One of the biggest challenges on jobsites is keeping the communication lines open between multiple operators and workers. If they don’t start the day with a clear idea of what they are to accomplish in what period of time, then there is increased risk of them wasting time or interfering with others on the job. The bigger problem is that if you don’t establish clear production targets, what will you use as a benchmark?
Review the jobsite layout for efficiency and observe how long it takes to complete tasks.
One of the first clues to inefficiency in the jobsite layout is when there is lag time in production tasks. Depending on what kind of job it is, you may need to clock actual cycle times or simply monitor the time elapsed between different steps in a job. Monitor and record several cycles to validate the time required. For example, you might note that every 60 minutes, Joe is gone for about 10 minutes to get more materials. You follow him and find that the panels that he needs have been stacked a good five-minute walk from where they are needed, 10 minutes round trip. For every 10-hour day that Joe works, more than 1.5 hours is spent walking back and forth. Production can be increased by moving the materials closer to the work.
The same principle might be applied to an underground utility job. The bedding materials, pipe and cover materials should be located so that the support machines can work at top safe speed along with the excavator digging the trench. If you notice that machines are losing time “waiting,” fewer feet of pipe are getting laid.
Train smooth operators.
If you’re running excavators digging, loading or bench loading, observe the motion and speed of the machine—the smoother the action, the faster the cycle times. Proper alignment of loaders and trucks will also increase cycle times and production.
Pass match loaders and haulers.
You will get the highest production levels by optimizing the pass match of loaders and trucks. It is also important to ensure that trucks are loaded accurately either through on board payload measurement technology or scales.
Overloading trucks can reduce production.
- Stress creates structural fatigue or failure.
- Maintenance and repair/replacement costs increase.
- Downtime (caused by overloading) results in loss of production.
Under-loading trucks can reduce production.
- Capacity paid for is not being utilized.
- Available resources are underutilized, which reduces efficiency and production.
- Any incremental increase in production directly affects profits; conversely, any decrease in production capacity reduces profits.
When you make changes be sure to observe and identify how much improvement has occurred. Combine your observations with any data you may have from machine systems, telematics or scales. The more you observe, measure and analyze, the more you can optimize your production levels.