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5 Keys to Effective Trade Management

Trouble finding quality trades? Keeping them? Here’s how scheduling & process can improve your collaboration with trades and suppliers.

Working with trades and suppliers can be challenging. Across the country, trade shortages are making it difficult to find and retain good people. From lack of communication in the field all the way to scheduling issues, we consistently hear that builders find it difficult to integrate trades into their business process.  Here are 5 keys to effective trade management.

People & Culture Matter – Think about your trade base as an extension to your builder family. it’s important to compare the cost of labor from your contractors – it’s just as important to nurture those relationships by committing with them over the span of several project. This establishes trust with contractors and lets them know they can depend on you for a fair working standard. Building trust and controlling your trade base could mean a better negotiation stance when contracting trades that could also save you money.

Strengthen Your Company Framework – Establish a strong supply chain for building resources, this is a defining factor that determines how desirable you are as a partner to work with. News travels fast, trade commitment goes hand in hand with a builders’ internal structure and how steady their operations are. Making sure you have a steady supply chain makes you an attractive employer for trades as they can count on you for future work. Since trade professionals are a scarcity, so is their time. You can bet your trades base is constantly checking on whether their investment in time to the revenue generated for the work complete is even worth it.

Establish a Standardized Scheduling Process – High volume production builders implement a co-dependent scheduling process with a “payment upon completion” system with their trades. A walk-through process upon each task should be incorporated into the build schedule, once all issues are resolved, the contractor receives their exact payment 2 days later. With co-dependent tasks accounted for in your work flows with fast payment implemented, you are ensuring a home is built in a logical order and that your trades complete the job on time with quality. For example, if your frame is set to go up by vendor A, then the schedule for vendor B, who oversees roofing should be dependent on vendor A’s schedule. At the end of it all, automated payments incentivize your trade base for collaboration with you and with each other while respecting your set schedule.

Technology and company goals should be complimentary – Give your trades enough trust and the right process to get the job done on time but ensure an efficient work load for each partner by delegating tasks they excel in. Always maintain control over the schedule. It is a common issue where trades do not commit to the established plan and other trade tasks get pushed back, this can cost you as late-extras occur when tasks are not completed in a defined order. We recommend a fixed scheduling software solution that works by “leader tasks”. This ensures that during the rare times of schedule shifts co-dependent trade tasks shift accordingly. Having technology in place that sets clear measurable goals from your trades means you are in control of your production standards.

Collaboration Through Enhanced Communication – Knowing your trades on a personal level means they are more likely to keep you updated on all tasks. Implement company-wide trades meetings to boost morale, while in the field, schedule timely check-ins with trades that don’t interfere into their work but enhance their incentive for quality work. It’s truly a balancing act. Having something simple like a mobile application for your trade partner to use will translate into effective communication. Constellation HomeBuilder Systems’ vendor application is the VendorGo App, the app combines the trade and builder data into a single account and functions freely from any job site.

The Verdict 

Healthy trade relations will strengthen your building backbone. From higher quality craftsmanship to lower labor costs, a builder needs treat trade partners as part of the company. Set up technology that enforces company expectations and nurtures the right culture to attract committed trades. To keep that relationship strong for future projects, collaboration should be encouraged by having the right scheduling work flow that is supported by effective technology from the heart of the job-site. During times of labor shortages, a lack of order and collaboration amongst your trade base could mean the next builder in town will land your contractors for their projects.

See how national production builder, DSLD Homes enhances trade collaboration with the right scheduling technology http://bit.ly/2Je5Ygk

Sources:

http://www.builderonline.com/money/two-builders-strive-for-greatness_o

http://www.builderonline.com/money/how-to-offset-increases-in-your-biggest-costs_o

 

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