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Project Update: Inova Schar to Open Spring 2019

It seems like yesterday but actually, come spring next year, the fruits of our labor will open to be fully admired and utilized.

Luana Santos, CEO of LJM Glass Service, posing at the Schar Cancer Institute’s banner.

Our field superintendent for the Inova Schar project happily and proudly obliges to pose as well.

Glazing

How To Beat a Glazing Project Deadline

“Don’t fool yourself: having a strategy map is not the same as having a strategy”

Having a time schedule isn’t everything you need for a strategy. You need to have a strategy within that strategy. So let’s talk about beating a glazing project deadline to explain this:

Beating the deadline isn’t quite same as finishing right smack on time. Beating the deadline is getting ahead of it. But in glazing projects, especially in commercial building facade projects, there can be expected and unexpected delays of work.

The best way to work around these setbacks is to:

Strive to beat the glazing deadline.

Working in a pace that is set to just finish on time, most likely won’t work as intended, especially if the unexpected delays happen. At LJM, we found that that is the strategy to finishing ahead of the deadline (without delays caused by third parties) or still finish on time (despite the unexpected and third-party-caused delays) WITHOUT ever compromising quality of service and deliverables.

First, It pays to do honest work and spend every billable minutes for the glazing project.

For example, the remaining 20-30 minutes when you have crossed out everything that must be done for the day, can be used for:

  • Moving/preparing/stacking materials on to the next area of installation.
  • Decluttering the area of work you just finished and prepping the next area.
  • Checking inventory, confirming upcoming deliveries and checking weather reports. This is to ensure delays won’t happen because of lack of materials to work with and plan the job according to the weather advisories. We prep mullions when it is impossible to install glass due to sudden bad weather.
  • Conducting a meeting with the crew to discuss concerns, brainstorm and plan.

Always work to reduce the workload. While some crew may actually waste a remaining hour, this only happens when the supervision is slacking as well. It is important that Supervisors and Project Managers become particular with these remaining minutes to be spent in reducing workload or advancing the work progress even by just a fraction.

Foresee smooth operations. While expected delays become part of the planning, we must always foresee smooth operations by:

Expecting the unexpected. Never have a “come what may” attitude. Delays costs time and money.

Running down the next tasks virtually on your mind and foresee how it could go smoothly. Do you need to position certain tools or materials when you still have time to do it today so tomorrow you could go straight to work?

See? It’s also all about preparations.

It’s how you spend time that makes the difference. Nobody intentionally wastes an hour. But you could actually be wasting it by spending it on tasks that doesn’t help with the next tasks on schedule. At the end of the day, a good practice is to think about how to execute tomorrow’s tasks and beat the schedule.

Simply put, have the goal to beat your own record. We do that at LJM. We always think creatively on how we can beat our own daily work schedule. But the cheat is, as much as possible, we prepare for tomorrow’s grind, today.

What is True Collaboration in Construction and How to Foster it.

In a recent article by Kendall Jones, he said:

Achieving true collaboration can be tricky, it requires careful planning, coordination and buy-in from all parties involved on the project.

I felt obliged to research and analyze this because as a CEO of a small contracting business, just like the other CEOs of small businesses, I still have a clear birds eye view of everything that happens in my company. Jones’ article led me to mull over the matter and I realized how that statement above actually happens.

It really could happen that there’s no real or true collaboration even though one thinks there is. So, first of all…

WHAT IS TRUE COLLABORATION?

It’s not enough to say that everyone has to be on the same page; that description, for me, is lacking and isn’t accurate enough to explain true collaboration.

One thing I observed with true collaboration is when you see and feel there is SYNERGY while your individual workers, teams, divisions and third parties are all working together.

Each person takes responsibility for his/her designated tasks yet knows he/she is an integral part of a unit and takes pride in it. And then, each unit commits to perform optimally knowing they are among other units interdependent of each other. That’s not all, everybody must be conscious and motivated by the common standing goals and is genuinely concerned of the outcome.

It’s hard to describe Synergy in words without seeing it with your own eyes but true enough, as what Jones said, it requires careful planningcoordination and buy-in from all parties involved.

HOW DO WE FOSTER TRUE COLLABORATION aka SYNERGY AT WORK

CAREFUL PLANNING, COORDINATION AND BUY-IN

It’s very essential to improve productivity. That is why we don’t take things lightly and we exert effort for everything that affects productivity. This includes careful planning on how to foster true collaboration. This is especially true for a medium to large sized contracting firms. Because of their evolved organizational structure, it does seem more challenging. How do we plan these things. Unlike employee satisfaction where we deal and offer satisfaction boosting compensations and activities to affect individual workers, true collaboration requires relationship building between workers and then between departments.

1) Examine the Organizational Relationship Flowchart and plan collaborative solutions with units/departments that in the actual job scenario, works closely and more often with each other.

For larger sized construction firms, instead of planning an organization-wide approach or even individual department approach, it would be more effective to group them according to actual interdependency as one cluster. Improve transport of data, communication and most of all, RELATIONSHIPS within each cluster of interdependent parties. Work on streamlining seamless interactions and workflow within. Work on establishing synergy within the cluster. As for collaborating work, it is now easily done using project management softwares and we can take it a step further by implementing some agile methodologies applicable to construction companies. But a good work relationship however is not built easily.

In smaller firms, it is sufficient to establish solid personal and work relationships between workers who assumes key responsibilities and are very crucial that they get along and support each other.

In between jobs, exercise drills can be done by those who work in tandem also do this with teams. Drills can also be created for teams to exercise in order to improve collaboration on the project.

2) Discourage and implement strict policy against alienation, politics and other divisive acts.

Factors that foster true collaboration are camaraderie, respect, inclusion/belongingness, empowerment and expert-mindedness. In korea, most companies have team get together activities and even write each other letters of praise and feedback during payday. Harboring feelings of being alienated, or feelings of hate are ambiguous factors leading to poor performance of a supposedly collaborative team.

3) How do we get 100% buy-in from all parties involved on a project?

Sometimes, important things can be accomplished by doing the smallest of acts. Be motivational. Ever wonder why all basketball teams both pro and amateur, have a battlecry? and they don’t need their coaches just for the strategies and gameplay too but for motivation as well. It’s to lift the spirits high.

Every project is everyone’s additional achievement and so to lead is definitely to motivate. A good leader must be equipped with motivational skills. Even when dealing with third parties involved, the sure way to get them to buy-in and be supportive of each other is when you approach the third parties and express your intent to be integrated with their efforts and them with yours. Your intentions and your collaborative mood affects others and motivate others to be in on the goal.

Collaboration is too important a factor that we are investing time and effort and developing or acquiring tools for it. That is why true collaboration is having good coordination and good working relationship. These two combined creates synergy in the workplace.

New Project: Kaiser Permanente’s New Carrollton Metro Facility

It’s another LJM Glass Service project venture under Clark Construction Group. After working on previous successful projects with Glass and Metals Inc as the full service glass contractor and Clark Construction Group as the General Contractor, most recently the Inova Dwight and Martha Schar Institute, our work with them continues on.

Kaiser Permanente

We at LJM Glass Service are very grateful for the opportunities given our way but we have been working diligently in being worthy of them. We are proud of what we have accomplished so far and are exhilarated about the newest project we have with them.

Kaiser Permanente signed the deal in April 2017 to become the first office tenant for the 2.7M SF mixed-use development New Carrollton Metro. Kaiser Permanente’s new Mid-Atlantic facility is ready to undergo glazing. The exterior facade will consist of precast panels and a combination of punched and strip glazing units.

Shortage in Skilled Glaziers: Labor Subcontracting May Be More Cost-Effective

In the midst of a skilled labor shortage, some companies resort to different means to compensate. Some have been actively hiring, some have been cross-training and offering apprenticeship to non-skilled workers. Other companies are preparing for the worse by scouting in Colleges and Universities and promoting their respective companies and industry to attract more workforce in the future.

What about now? For example there is an increase in the infrastructure developments and more projects are under way. In the Glazing trade, with many projects to bid this 2018, there is a big opportunity to join in on as much and ride the growth.

There are actually two options:

  1. Staffing Agencies and
  2. Outsourcing labor from Glazing Labor Subcontractors

While Staffing up through Staffing Agencies may make sourcing the right candidates easier as Staffing agencies dedicates their full effort and resources in matching and pre-qualifying, it doesn’t really eliminate the time and cost associated with hiring.

So is Labor Subcontracting really a better alternative?

The Cost of Hiring Additional Skilled Workers As The Project Demands.

Even for bigger companies, sustaining a number of salaried workforce requires check and balance. Although staffing up for a bigger project is normally the way to go, keeping them deployed project after project becomes the challenge. The upkeep becomes higher and more challenging as the workforce is increased. Hiring additional crew members costs, training them Trade-Specific skills costs, keeping them after the project is done definitely have costs and laying them off when they are no longer required have significant costs as well.

Getting a Glazing Labor Subcontractor reduces administrative costs.

LJM Glass Service, for example, bids for the labor work of glass and glazing packages from full service Glazier companies. Compared to staffing up to meet the required number of crew to take on a project, letting LJM take on the project’s labor, eliminates sudden administrative costs associated with hiring and recruiting a construction workforce.

This relieves you from the strain of skilled labor shortage especially in the glass and glazing trade. You may avoid the costs associated with hiring and that includes skills training specific to Glazing. The glazing trade is highly specialized which requires skilled men who are knowledgeable on curtain wall and paneling systems. Finding candidates who are skilled and reliable can be tough. The training of newly hires as well as the build up of their expertise takes time.

That is why LJM Glass Service is the best option for when you are experiencing shortage of crew for your current undertakings, whether it is an on going project needing more men, or a project to bid requiring a large number of crew.

Payroll and Tax filings

In addition, our company, LJM Glass Service bids for labor work by submitting a lump sum cost estimate but relieves you from most of the responsibilities associated with payroll, including all employment-related tax filings, obtaining employee benefits, and ensuring compliance with a multitude of safety requirements and all human resource tasks for our crew thus you have the time to focus on the details of your construction plans and meeting your project deadlines.

The Factors Affecting The Team’s Efficiency

Camaraderie, Rapport, Trust, Brotherhood, Synergy. These are just some factors affecting a team’s efficiency. Additional newly hires from staffing agencies come from different past employers with different cultures and different core values. It would work well for when you are staffing up due to company expansion and not for when a project immediately demands it. There should be ample time for training and team building.

When a Glazier company needs to staff up because a project of a certain scale demands for it, signing with a Glazing Labor Subcontractor might be more efficient. Signing up with a glazing labor subcontractor means your are bringing in a crew members that are already efficient as a team. They are already specialized in the Glazing trade and has been working together for a long time already.

Service Expansion and Growth

After trying out the services of a glazing labor subcontractor and you have been pleased, affiliating with them gives you the ability bid for more projects in the future, knowing you can let them subcontract labor on any kind of glazing/fenestration work. You may also expand your service offers to include more services that fall under the Glazing NAICS code which you don’t currently offer.

There are glazing companies who have focused on interior fitouts, storefronts and windows but has not offered curtain wall systems yet. LJM Glass Service crew are knowledgeable with a variety of glass and glazing work as well as metal paneling work of any scale.

Confidence in your Labor work

Having a labor subcontractor like LJM Glass Service join your crew or letting us take on 100% of the labor work, we guarantee exceptional service that is supervised by our crew’s Field Superintendent that collaborates with your own. You will have more confidence that a specialized team is working on your project.

Our men has undergone screening and has been carefully background checked. They are disciplined, focused, dedicated, passionate and trustworthy. It is our core principle to treat all our projects as if they are our own and so we train them to carefully handle materials, tools and machines provided by the Glazing company.

We meticulously unload and verify conditions and specifications of glass and metal materials. LJM Glass Service has also been commended for maintaining the most clean and organized site area. Unlike staffing agencies, wherein skilled labor gets recruited and deployed, our men are our own in-house trained skilled experts who have been with us a long time and has been trained on our principles.

Service Quality

Signing up with a glazing labor subcontractor, you are dealing with men who has collected a portfolio of work wherein they all worked together. Our portfolio highlights major glazing projects wherein we have successfully delivered superb installation of Curtain Wall and Paneling Systems as well as Storefronts and DHIVE systems. The LJM Glass Service crew members are OSHA certified and among them are certified aerial lift operators. We prioritize Safety and Quality as the two cornerstone of our Service.

Feeling Valued: The No. 1 in Skilled Worker Motivation

Nothing beats the feeling of being valued. The Skilled worker and the white collared employee alike tend to positively react towards it. It solves quite a few workforce related challenges.

General Statistics

American workers may be feeling better about contemplating on potential career directions, but most of them aren’t thrilled with their actual jobs.

Gallup, a polling and management consulting firm, created a study on the American workplace. According to their study, two-thirds are disengaged at work, or worse.

There are approximately 100 million full-time employees, and 51 percent aren’t engaged at work. Meaning they feel no real connection to their jobs, and thus they tend to do the bare minimum.

Another 16 percent are “actively or intentionally disengaged”. They are unhappy and they resent their jobs. They tend to gripe to co-workers. This drags down office morale as a result. They may be dissatisfied about the direction of their companies. Sometimes they feel their needs aren’t being met at work. Others don’t fully understand what’s expected of them.

Feeling valued = Motivation = Increased office morale

Feeling valued is still the undisputed number 1 in skilled worker motivation.

The equation above, leading to increased office morale sets the rhythm of any business’ growth. High office morale is crucial for both small and big companies. Chief scientist for workplace management at Gallup, James Harter, said,

They feel negative about work and the workplace, and are doing more harm than good when they come to work.

According to another article I read about Motivation, Dale Carnegie Training and MSW Research evaluated 1,500 employees for engagement in the workplace. They found that feeling valued is the basic emotion that leads an employee to be engaged. That is why any company who wishes to resolve the issue of turnover rate or reinvigorate its workforce’s performance, should find ways to get employees to feel more valued.

They noted that engaged employees exhibit these traits:

  • Enthusiasm about work

  • Inspired and motivated by their leaders

  • Empowered to do their work their way

  • Confident they can achieve excellence

Skilled Worker Motivation

Feeling valued is important to anyone’s self esteem. This is very true for skilled workers who put in more physical work. They very much depend on this one thing in order to feel validated and content about having acquired a strenuous work position.

Feeling valued is a catalyst for personal changes and that applies to everyone. The only true and tested way to grow a business with everyone being “all in” to the company’s goals is having the majority, if not everyone, feel valued. No matter the company direction, no matter how small or big the company is, if a skilled worker feels less valued he or she would feel more daunted by his work. Here are some more specific ideas on how to induce the traits that describes how employees feel when they are valued:

Enthusiasm about work

  • Promoting Camaraderie at Work

Team huddles or those small sessions of team-building after working hours is a good way to promote camaraderie at work. Most employees feel good about working their jobs because of the people that they work closely with.

  • Eliminate Negative Politics

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics states that more than 2 million Americans are voluntarily leaving their jobs every month. Meanwhile, a recent study by Accenture attributes 35% of “Quits” to Internal Politics. Indeed bad internal politics take over some companies and cause pain and frustration among the workforce. Actually, managers have the power to abolish an individual’s or cliques counterculture such as negative agendas, attitudes and behaviors that pit against other workers.

Be keen to identify the issues and spot early formations of negative politics and then act boldly to declare it unacceptable. Confront it order a cease and desist to any untoward politics taking place at work. Make it crystal clear to the entire workforce that the company is establishing a culture without disruptive politics and that this norm is non-negotiable.

Inspired and motivated by their leaders

  • Performance-based Recognition

Employee of the Week or Month is an old strategy that motivates employees to perform even better. The idea is giving it a brand new twist is by awarding tokens such as a printed version of the post or an object to represent the award. A manager can choose any material to represent the award (button pins/ sticker/ ref magnet or any inexpensive material to symbolize the recognition) and then handing it out to the awardee.

In the construction industry, men go to work and at the end of the day go home to their families physically exhausted. So a great way to boost their motivation to go to work the next day is to have a board at home pinned with their achievements or collection of recognition achieved at work.

  • Work Portfolio

Upon completion, share the project photos to the men who worked on it.This is equivalent to giving them something to beef up their portfolios serving as personal inspiration. Give your men something to brag about with his friends. Contrary to the notion that portfolios are only to used to increase employability, they also can solely for the purpose of making one feel happy, content and accomplished working for you.

Feeling validated and recognized is one of humanity’s vanity which can be sparked for a good purpose. Collecting proof of a job well done justifies the hard work and the empathy towards the companies goals. Strategies like this is a simple and inexpensive compensation already.

  • The Mandatory “Good Job” Generosity

Being generous in giving praises to your front end employees can be a good company culture. For this to be implemented, supervisors must be thoroughly oriented on employee motivation as they are the ones who can extend the inspiration directly to front-liners. Mostly this is solely the digression of supervisors whether they want to frequently praise their employees or not but making it mandatory is the best way to elicit employee motivation.

Supervisors are not all the same. Some are perceived as great leaders, but lets face it, some are viewed as the reason why our employees are feeling low on morality and opt to leave our companies. That’s why it doesn’t matter if we CEO’s are good guys if our supervisors are jerks to our employees, we will keep on having a high turnover and low performance rate.

  • Coaching

Coaching is quite trendy these days. A skilled worker may regard career coaching as a fancy privilege meant for the white collared employees and businessmen that’s why carrying out coaching sessions for your group of skilled tradesmen can motivate them. It is quite easy with all the resources on the internet regarding personal developments and can be done by the supervisors monthly to a few times in a year.

Empowered to do their work their way

  • Ability to Author Strategies/Ideas

Allowing our men to figure out strategies that they are most comfortable with is empowering. Welcoming their opinions, testing their suggestions and changing the procedures in accordance to what was determined to be more effectively done by our men would instill a certain pride in their ability to contribute more than just what’s stated on their job descriptions.

One example is Wholefood’s culture of giving power to their people. Their employees are encouraged to submit their ideas and it’s not just lip service – they actually use them. For example, one of their best-selling products, Seeduction bread, was a recipe that a Santa Fe employee created.

Confident they can achieve excellence

  • Work Skills upgrade

Before raising pay grade, before promoting to a higher level of position, there are skills upgrades that can elicit the same feeling as promotions do. Such skills upgrade can follow tools upgrade or machinery upgrade and allowing or helping our skilled men be up to date with both technical and non technical skills is very rewarding. A company who allows their employees to grow with them is worth working for. Keeping them skilled with the latest technologies gives them a certain pride in being a part of the company.

  • Life Skills upgrade

Yes, skills are something we can boast about, or take pride in, however, not all companies realize that work skills aren’t the only skills their employees can appreciate or need. In fact, work skills fall under employability skills and is just one of the many life skills all of us needs to hone. Bigger corporations have understood this bit that if you want to be a fast growing company you need to capitalize on your people to be able to have them on board on your company’s growth plan. Some life skills you can distribute a brochure about or hold a seminar for are the following:

      1. Stress Management Skills

      2. Negotiation Skills

      3. Leadership Skills

      4. Presentation Skills

      5. Time Management Skills

      6. Organizing Skills

      7. Conflict Resolution Skills

      8. Problem Solving Skills

      9. Interpersonal Communication Skills

      10. Personal Development and more…

Read more at: https://www.skillsyouneed.com/general/life-skills.html

As you can see there are many inexpensive ways to foster the feeling of being valued, motivate skilled workers and get them engaged in the company’s goals. CEOs, Managers and Supervisors shouldn’t feel burdened by the extra efforts: he or she may pick one at a time. The motivational strategy/ies that you decide should interest your employees or you may get creative and figure out some more ideas of your own.

Glazier Company: Turning the Business From Afloat to Scalable

Glazier… From Afloat to Scalable

As the CEO of a Glazier contractor or a Project Manager or simply having a administrative position, we have been constantly evaluating business processes on both the Micro and Macro level. Yes, these are the the 2 M’s I am shifting my perspective to and fro. I wanted to write about this because I run a small business and therefore as any CEO would have it, my top concern is GROWTH.

No, not micromanagement

And so as I was beefing up my business skills I became conscious about my micro and macro perspectives about steering the business to success. I am not referring to the term micromanagement in leadership and I would like to make it clear I am pertaining to decision making, establishing company culture, and all thoughts related to making organization-wide decisions that would better the company and micromanagement is not on the list. Since my business sells the competency/expertise of my men, they are then my most valuable assets.

On the the Micro level I figured I was always thinking about I could effectively leverage my team’s skills and capabilities and then how can I improve their performance, upgrade their skills, increase their job satisfaction, and make them grateful for being a part of my company. It is interesting to note that efforts in fine-tuning the business operations on the micro  level, brings us to think about the progress it could result on a macro level. It makes sense when it’s done that way. That is why, It is best to  make it a conscious strategy to balance time and effort for both.

MICRO

So these are present concerns. For example, in the construction industry which I am in, assessments and then later on coming to decisions are influenced greatly by what’s at hand. They are the nitty-gritty of working a project from start to completion. They are also the challenges that arises mid-project. Basically it is also the overall execution of my expert team. It can also be client feedback or complaints that needs to be resolved. My attention, as their CEO, would most likely be consumed by addressing questions like:

  1. Are we ahead of time?
  2. Are we making swift progress? Can my PMs gauge their team’s progress?
  3. How do the clients regard our team’s work?
  4. What can we do to ingrain the kind of value we wish to give our clients to every member of the team?
  5. Are the crew members happy? Are they safe? Do they have what they need in the jobsite?
  6. Are the tools enough? Are they in mint condition?

These are just a few MICRO level focal points which I bet keeps any manager’s mind busy. They are obligatory especially because these concerns show up as we dive into projects. See, it basically concerns all that is necessary to carry on with the current operations smoothly and rewarding or satisfying for all.  That includes the management, the clients and the workers. A job well done that is done with ease and no lasting negative impact on the worker’s morale. Excellent work is that which is worthy of the client’s praises and referrals. A job well done is that which has a  positive ROI for the business.

MACRO

On the Macro level, thoughts are concentrated on reports. Macro perspective involves ideas which are influenced by the desire to level up. IF you choose to spare time to take note of the micros you should easily come up with great ideas and innovations that would serve the company well. It requires analysis of what the micros actually mean and warrant.

This is when I and my Project Managers discuss about:

  1. What developments can be made to position our crew as experts in what they do?
  2. Who among our crew deserves a promotion? who among them are seen to be fit for an expert training?
  3. What would our workforce appreciate such that it will increase their satisfaction?
  4. How can my mechanics become better problem solvers? Better communicators?
  5. What are the newest technology and trends in the industry that our crew should get their hands on?
  6. What new set of tools can we use to double efficiency? Promote accuracy?

For small glazier companies, it’s easy to get caught in the web of things and just remember to think on a macro level when consistent challenges already prompts you to. But as I said, I think the conscious marriage of both micro and macro perspectives promotes growth, thus macro decisions should become a mainstay in your play.

Both MICRO and MACRO perspectives serves to achieve goals.

They need to be carried out from the top to lowest level of management. Meaning, this is something that needs to be discussed with every management leaders. In order to concisely convey my point to my leaders, I chose a simple distinction between Micro and Macro analysis:

Since MICRO is being attentive to what needs to be ensured at present… It spells PROGRESS both forward and upward because it ensures better execution of your company’s services.

Result: Sales + Customer Satisfaction , Client Retention + Referrals

MACRO is being analytical about how we can sprint towards GROWTH.  This spans all aspects and directions. This includes employee benefits that would better their performance, training the crew on exciting upgrades to their skills. This also may lead to embracing new technologies and process enhancement to impress clientele. Perhaps automation of some crucial business processes can be one of the decisions, and you can come up with many more.

Result: ⬆️⬆️Employee Satisfaction and Performance , ⬇️ Employee Turnover, Innovation,

In short, attention to the MICRO = PROGRESS and decisions made on a MACRO level = GROWTH, both are needed to propel the business to greater heights.

It’s easy to miss crucial factors

We all strive for customer satisfaction, and increase in revenue. The business steadily progresses and we are happy. But we also strive for excellence and look for means to set us apart from the competition in all aspects. We wish to grow our empire in size and value and have a company culture enjoyed by our employees. A glazier company may seem easy to scale as it focuses only on glass packages for the project scope but it is easy to miss important factors that on a hindsight could have been made avoidable by spreading your attention to cover both micro and macro levels. Because these missed factors spell trouble and could hinder growth.

The Balancing Act

So MICRO level perspective is for what requires attention and MACRO level is for what most often requires investment. Each supports the other. Both are needed to be interdependent in order to grow a business into an empire (Which is by the way we are ALL IN for right?).

In order to expand and upscale a glazier business you need to balance your time to do both as a conscious strategy.

GOAL and STRATEGY ALIGNMENT

Imbue the leaders in our company with the same entrepreneurial spirit as we have in running the business. As top of the organization, I look for ways to solicit the kind of cooperation and empathy crucial in having each leader come up with both MICRO and MACRO perspectives which is their own. It is kind of like giving them the voice to speak their minds about what the company needs on both level.

Seasoned executives and successful Glazier company owners know this. I have been running my business for a few years now and I have been actively learning. Topics like this don’t stop with the CEO knowing it and applying it. In setting and aligning goals across my company, we need to train our leaders to have a CEO mindset. Hopefully this encourages them to have a proactive approach and share balanced micro and macro analysis and planning in the discussions.

The Point When Your Busines Become Scalable

The result that may come out of this balance is scalability, stability and stream-lined operation.  All of which are signals that the company is ready for the actual expansion or growth. In which case, you must read on the measures needed to be done before you take the plunge to scale your glass and glazing company.

Getting Ready To Scale A Glass and Glazing Business

Getting Ready To Scale A Glass and Glazing Business

A glass and glazing company, just like any construction firm, may look like a big venture to start, with investments including equipment and technical personnel but initially a Glass contractor may start small with an organizational chart comprising of 5 or less key personnel, leased equipment and without multiple management departments.  But when a glass and glazing company gain traction in their metrics: Client retention, referrals, good feedback, it is when it’s timely to think of growth because those metrics show that the business is indeed scalable. However easy to just decide on expanding, it isn’t that simple.  In fact there are a lot of SME categorized construction companies looking to scale and finding ways to do it properly. So we researched the best insights on the topic and whipped this article for Glass Contractors who are looking to scale their operations.

Project Management Improvement

Before jumping into a hasty decision a Glass contractor must evaluate its own project management. An organizational chart we found makes sense and in a way could be used to explain a proper way of expanding by ensuring the improvement of Project Management first. It is actually proposed by Le Hoai Viet in a thesis with the suggestion to use the matrix organizational chart below:

Photo: Professional Project Management Education

It is true what was said in that article that most SMEs are usually run/owned by an engineer or foreman, which by the way are very good in their job but lack knowledge about handling the business expecially when it comes down to multiple larger projects at a time. It’ll be easy to lose your control over the operations when a firm project management isn’t in place. As what the case study found out about SME construction companies:

They do the project base on their experience and learn from their fault. They have no project management process or the process is not useful. After one project, there are no people collecting data for the improvement of the next project. Some of management concepts like quality concept are not documented and analyzed.

The figure above shows how to remedy this lack of proper project management by hiring key personnel and departmentalizing management using the matrix setup. For glaziers it could be Takeoff Estimator, Field Superintendent, Finance officer or Accountant and the Project Manager. Why we chose this illustration in covering the scaling of a Glass contracting company is because expansion meant bigger and more projects. Typically, it requires one crew unit headed by the Project Manager per project. However, this matrix setup is not applicable to all construction companies but as we figured, it is a good template for setting up a better project management process.

Employing More Skilled Tradesmen

Glaziers are specialized tradesmen. Hiring skilled labor specifically for handling glass and with competent knowledge of glass materials and systems like Curtain Walls, Storefronts, Dhives and more, is a tough pursuit. We are at a time when the shortage of skilled labor is worsening and that makes producing skilled tradesmen a costly investment as most companies are devising apprentice programs just to fill in their own requirement, investing on certifications required for new hires and etc.

However, a Glass Contractor who is planning to expand its activities
may opt to hire a team from a skilled labor service contractor that is specific to its trade.

It is very cost-effective for a company looking to grow, to maximize its resources. This is done by prudently watching the allocations of their expansion budget. And one example is by not going all in on recruiting more staff than they can sustain.

Another reason why it is beneficial to outsource additional crew members from a provider is because bigger projects meant its a whole new league of clients to satisfy and retain. While you could bet on your company’s strengths, you can never be too sure especially if you are yet testing the waters. Hiring the required number of skilled workforce for your first huge transaction may seem to be a no-brainer. But dwell on it a little deeper and expect the unexpected.

Scenarios like clients dropping you after the first transaction is not uncommon. So it creates an even bigger problem when you suddenly have too many on board and not enough projects to send your men to. We will not cover the cost of laying off those hires but we all know the costs of severance and benefits continuance, and other indirect and direct costs. Instead you can read all about it in Inc.com’s article: The Real Cost of Layoffs

Funding for Expansion

Financially, an expansion can be exhaustive if not done carefully.  Taking on bigger or more projects seems to be both the goal and at the same time, the major challenge.  Fund an expansion by not relying on the company’s resources alone. You may have to apply for:

  • Line of credit

  • Overdraft protection

  • Bonding or bank loans

Seek these external resources in order to expand your business and grow it steadily. This could be inevitable and unless you have fixed the company’s management process to have achieved an attractive profit margin, these resources may not be available to you. Moreover, the risks attached to these funding resources ultimately means you need to secure a solid plan for your expansion and both the steps mentioned above are critical before you proceed to gathering your funds.  Construction bonds, labor costs including benefits, material costs, transportation, insurance, taxes: they all need to be carefully allotted for. A glass and glazing contractor may be taking just one piece of the entire project scope: the building envelope package, storefront or interior glass systems but the project cost can soar high depending on the scale.

These are just some important factors to address before a Glass and Glazing Contractor should decide on scaling up which are some major adjustments and milestones that would ensure steady growth.

Project Update: Inova Schar to Open Spring 2019
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