As a foreman, there are always parts of a project you can control. There more control you have over your labor, materials, schedule, and equipment the more successful you will be. The idea here is not to get caught up on the tasks that you have no control over. You should always be looking to make progress in the areas you can control. Let’s take a look at four specific areas (Labor, Material, Schedule, & Equipment) where the foreman has significant control on a project:
Manage Your Labor:
Setting goals, measuring, and tracking progress are going to allow you to maximize your efforts while managing your labor. For most trades, labor is the part that either makes or breaks a project. Therefore, labor becomes one of the most important areas to manage on your project. Improving your management skills can drastically improve the success of your project. The big area of focus when it comes to managing your labor is the difference between Ineffective and Effective Labor. Ineffective labor is all the time spent on that tasks that do not directly produce the final product (Examples: walking around, looking for materials, rework, bathroom breaks, etc…). Effective labor includes all the tasks that directly produce the final product (Example: Wiring lights, hanging drywall, final painting, laying tile, etc…). The more time spent on Effective Labor the more successfully you will be as a foreman. You should be analyzing the productivity and quality of tasks (ineffective vs. effective tasks) to improve the labor on your project.
Manage your Material:
Your team needs the right resources to be successful. One of those resources is having the right materials for the task at hand. The right materials are the ones approved in the submittal process, meet the specifications, are onsite at the right time, and in good condition. As a foreman, you should have a system set up to manage the materials as they come onsite, while they sit onsite, and as they exit the site. Your success here is really dependent on how you reduce incorrect materials being installed and time spent looking for material. Managing your materials is an effort and you should always perform quality checks on your project to make sure the right materials are being used.
Manage Your Schedule:
Controlling the schedule on your site is a sign of a strong foreman. The schedule on your site is going to dictate the pace of the job, the work sequence, and how you load the labor for the project. Managing your schedule is going to help you manage your labor, material, and equipment. The first step is to create a schedule for every project. This schedule is going to show the customer your expectations, force you to break down your work, and give you something to measure off of (A Baseline). After you have completed your schedule, you should use your schedule as a tool and create goals off that schedule. Continue to coordinate with other trades and hold your team accountable for their work.
Manage Your Equipment:
Equipment can get quite costly if you do not schedule or use it properly. As a foreman, it takes a conscious, focused effort to plan accordingly. Equipment should always be mapped out plan by coordinating with others onsite to make sure your work with that piece of equipment can take place. Another major point to discuss is your team’s ability to use the equipment. You need to make sure the person using the machine knows how to do their job both safely and effectively. You should take the time to demonstrate and get them the necessary training if need be.
** Getting certified to use a piece of equipment may be a requirement on certain sites. Make sure that you and your team have all the necessary certifications to use the equipment on your site. Save those certificates in a folder and electronically so you can these as you move from site to site.
You can relieve some stress when you realize that you cannot control absolutely everything that happens on your site. You do however have several important areas that you can control. Make sure you take the time to focus on those specific areas and do the very best you possible can.
If you want to learn more about controlling your labor, materials, tools, equipment, information, and budget check out our Successful Foreman Mastery Program here.