Measuring productivity seems simple: how much work/in what period of time/at what cost. But there are so many variables on any given jobsite that it’s easy to overlook barriers to production. Here are four suggestions to help your crew improve productivity.
1. Communicate clear production targets.
One of the biggest challenges on the jobsite is keeping communication lines open between multiple operators and workers. If your team doesn’t start the day with a clear idea of what to accomplish in what period of time, then there’s increased risk of people wasting time or interfering with others on the job. Plus, there’s an even bigger problem: If you don’t establish clear production targets, what will you use as a benchmark for success?
2. Review jobsite layout for efficiency.
One of the first clues to inefficiency on the jobsite is lag time in production tasks. Depending on the type of job, you may need to clock actual cycle times or monitor the time elapsed between different job tasks. Record several cycles to validate the time required.
Here’s an example: You might note that every 60 minutes, Joe is gone for about 10 minutes to get more materials. You follow him and find that the panels that he needs are stacked a good five-minute walk away, taking him 10 minutes round trip. That means for every 10-hour day Joe works, he spends more than 1.5 hours simply walking back and forth. Moving materials closer to the work should increase production.
The same principle applies to an underground utility job. Locate bedding materials, pipe and cover materials where support machines can work at top safe speed while an excavator digs the trench. If you notice machines losing time “waiting,” fewer feet of pipe are getting laid.
3. Train smooth operators.
If your excavators are digging, loading or bench loading, observe the motion and speed of the machines—the smoother the action, the faster the cycle times. Proper alignment of loaders and trucks also increases cycle times and production.
4. Pass match loaders and haulers.
You get the highest production levels when you optimize the pass match of loaders and trucks. You also want to make sure trucks are loaded accurately—either through on-board payload measurement technology or scales. Both overloading and under-loading can reduce productivity:
When you make changes, observe and identify how much improvement occurs. Combine your observations with any data you have from machine systems, telematics or scales. The more you observe, measure and analyze, the more you can optimize your production levels.