Bench knowledge matters! Developing and formalizing an ongoing qualification program can lead to a competitive edge. Use the risk management process (identification, analysis, control, financing, and monitoring) to formalize your qualification program. It starts with identifying and analyzing common risk areas risk that accompany subcontracting work to others. Keep this information up to date to ensure you can properly control, finance, and monitor subcontractors’ performance when you need them in the game. Gather and maintain the following.
• General company information (management experience, licenses, reputation)
• Financial (financial ratios, insurance limits, bonding capacity)
• Health and safety (EMR, safety manuals, OSHA citations, documented processes)
• Capacity (territorial considerations, current projects, ability to meet schedule)
• Completed projects (similar size and scale, scope of work, references)
• Litigation information (former and ongoing suits)
It’s time to put together your team of subcontractors. First, select those critical for your success, you know who they are – the MVPs. Next, develop the plan and criteria for choosing the remaining players. Based on your risk analysis, determine who will be the best fit. Look for key information obtained from your qualification program to make the best decisions for your project.
Now that your team is in place, it’s game time. A good manager develops contingency plans to adapt to different game situations. It’s about controlling and monitoring risk, always a solid game plan. And not to worry, you don’t have to start from scratch. Borrow best practices, such as financing the transfer of known risk through additional insurance limits, or performance/or supply bonds. Other control practices include joint checks for suppliers, supplemental labor, limiting a player’s scope, and additional supervisorial oversight. Determine the plan that works best for your project team, then document and share it. Get everyone on the same page. Surprises will occur, but no one should be surprised about the game plan.
The key to a winning team is everyone working together towards a common goal. It starts with the GC’s project team – the coaching staff for the subcontractor team. Each has disciplined knowledge that enables in-game coaching and execution of the game plan. Like a pitching coach, they know when to make a change, or push to get more out of a pitcher. Together they follow the game plan and the risk management process. And they communicate. That cannot be stressed enough – communicate, communicate, communicate! Through regular and clear communication, teams can identify risk areas and adjust their game to work through challenges. Communication is ongoing and doesn’t just occur on the field.
The team is playing well. Your project is progressing. How do you determine if you will win today and tomorrow? In baseball, statistics and monitoring individual performance show where a team can improve – runs scored, fielding efficiency, and strikeouts. In construction, we can do the same thing. Determine the metrics that best track the performance of subcontractors on all projects – things like health and safety incidents, schedule adherence, missed scope, rework, material or supplier delay, geographic performance trends, subcontractor meeting attendance, etc.
Once you’ve identified success metrics, it’s time to implement a control system. Set the standards and thresholds for each metric. Meeting these standards increases the likelihood of successful projects or winning games. If players aren’t meeting these standards, adjust, improve processes, or change the lineup. Keep measuring and do it consistently. This data can be combined in aggregate across projects – providing a subcontractor performance scorecard to help you decide who should be selected for the next game. Be sure your players know their results. It’s a great coaching tool for improved performance.
Game plans, measurement, and adjustments – these are all important. Other vital components include flexibility and perspective. Each team, each project is unique. There are always nuances to consider. Risk management must pivot and look at the big picture. That’s an ongoing responsibility of the general contractor.
Baseball is a long season. Like construction, there are twists and turns along the way. Not everyone works out, some will be released. Managers make tough calls to do what’s best for the team while considering the long-term and short-term impacts. This is risk management at its heart. It’s about making the best decisions to help the ball club. Know your risk appetite. Focus on the fundamentals. Gather the best team. Measure, analyze, and adjust. There’s no guarantee of success but putting on the risk management ballcap is the first step to a winning team.
ABOUT LANDSOUTH CONSTRUCTION…Building Ideas
LandSouth Construction, the Southeast’s premier general contractor, specializing in multifamily, senior living, and mixed–use development, was named one of Engineering News Record’s Top 400. Since 1998 LandSouth has transformed ideas into best–in–class communities. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla. LandSouth has completed more than 25,000 multifamily units. For more information, call LandSouth Marketing Manager, Erica Zumstein, (904) 760-3182 or visit www.landsouth.com