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  • Writer's pictureYvonne Root

Upgrading Your Processes – Part 1

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

Getting the Fire Going

While knowing how to start a fire in the wilderness with only a few tools and a bit of wood can be a fun adventure, it isn’t a great way to keep your home warm or your cooking stove functioning. It is a process that does work, but you must agree that it is neither efficient nor sustainable.

In your construction contracting business, have you held on to outdated, slow, and inefficient processes that put you one step behind when trying to get the fire going?

Dealing With Problematic Processes

Your construction business has processes, whether you like it or not, and whether they’re good or not. Sometimes systems eventually work by sheer dent of perseverance even when they’re not formulated well, nor are they carried out adequately. But before you try to change a poorly functioning system, it is crucial to understand what you want to accomplish and how you can achieve those goals using new or altered processes.

Remember that well-defined business processes increase efficiency while decreasing the risk of error.

Start by Asking Key Questions

Choose one process that you know or suspect is not functioning well. Then ask critical questions that will help you understand where you are and what it will take to make the necessary improvements.

The initial questions might include the following:

  • How is this task presently being accomplished?

  • How many steps are involved in the process?

  • Who are the people taking part in the steps?

  • What other personnel are affected by this process?

  • Why are these the steps we take?

Ask these further questions:

  • What is the purpose of each step?

  • Is it a necessary part of the process?

  • Can it be improved?

  • Can some of the steps be eliminated?

  • Should there be additional steps?

  • What is causing the bottlenecks?

The third set of questions, leading to development and implementation, are:

  • How will an improved system make it better for my employees?

  • How will the new process make it better for our customers or clients?

Prioritize the needs of your customers as part of any process improvement project.

Building Excellent Processes

Following are suggestions for upgrading your processes and making your construction business more efficient, productive, and profitable.

Ponder Pain Points

Start with the most crucial aspect of your construction company’s need for systems – your clients. If a process creates pain for your customers, you should address it first. Your intent must be to improve the customer experience.

Secondly, consider the impact of creating systems that make them more efficient, less wasteful, and more accessible for your employees to complete their tasks and assignments.

Clearly Communicate Continually

Whether building new processes or improving those already in use, it is imperative to communicate the reasons for the change and how it will benefit everyone involved. Making sure that the employees affected by the upgrades to your processes have a voice and understand their part (including constantly looking for incremental improvements) will improve the outlook for success.

Leverage Leadership

The twofold advantage of determining which persons in your employ oversee any particular system is that they, as leaders, have a better sense of accomplishment and more pride in their work while you have less time involved in the application. In other words, determine who has responsibility for any given system, be sure they understand their role, then allow them to do their job.

Delete the Dross

Concentrate on deleting the waste. Think in terms of getting rid of any unproductive steps in the system. Duplicating the work of others is often the culprit that slows the process. For example, while we (in the accounting field) understand the importance of checks and balances, we also understand that entering data in one field and then entering the same data in another field is often a waste of time.

Consider Company Culture

This is the most critical aspect of upgrading your processes. Company culture is all about attitude. And yes, your attitude leaks down to even the lowest paid, least responsible person in your employ, even your subcontractors. Suppose your mission involves building wealth, company growth, sustainability, community responsibility, or other worthwhile business owner accomplishments. In that case, your attitude toward process building or improvement will be reflected in how your employees see and use them.

Here is an interesting fact to consider, most small to medium-sized construction contractors do not have functional, documented business processes. That does NOT mean that you need not bother. That means that you can set yourself apart from the crowd by upgrading your processes. And for added emphasis, let me put that another way, all enterprise-sized construction contracting businesses have systems and procedures in place; that is why they can function correctly.

Document Deliberately

Having your systems reside only in your head (or the heads of your employees) is a prescription for disaster. To use your collective wisdom and insight, each process must be accessible to others. That means your processes must be recorded. Another way to say “document it” is to say “write it.”

Now, don’t freak out. There are ways to accomplish the “write it” part that are rather easy, and there will be more information about that coming up.

What’s Next?

In the second part of this two-part essay, you’ll learn about some ways to make implementing systems easier. You can find it here.

Reflection: Which of your systems, processes, or procedures are already functioning well? Which of them can you improve? Which is not functioning at all?

Ambitious Construction Contractors look to The Profit Constructors to provide advocacy in dealing with:

  • Clients and customers

  • Employees and subcontractors

  • Vendors and service providers

  • Governmental entities

Working with The Profit Constructors gives Construction Contractors the means to organize their operations in ways that help them:

  • Remain informed

  • Avoid hassles

  • Reduce risks

  • Be future-ready

Ready for action? Or want to know more? Get in touch today to schedule a complimentary discovery call. 866-629-7735


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