Running a multi-focused pavement organization isn’t easy. Bob and Kathy, a husband and wife team who owns a pavement contracting business, work hard to keep their diverse company moving forward. In addition to their two paving crews, they have one seal-coating crew, a two-man crew for striping, a two-man crew for small sweeping jobs, and a three-man crew to handle new general landscaping business.
The crew leaders, Bob, and Kathy when necessary, work sixteen to twenty hour days, every day, to keep jobs lined out and all the equipment, tools, etc., organized and ready for the next day’s work. Bob and Kathy have no plan to split up all the little tasks that must be done every day to ensure that the next day’s performance goes off smoothly.
Like most contractors, Bob and Kathy are working hard, maybe too hard. They need to incorporate more of their hourly workers in the daily preparations and operations. A system that PDG continues to teach and coach in many pavement maintenance companies is the “Star Performance Model.”
Briefly, the “Star Performance Model” is a system of assigning employees to oversee the proper monitoring or execution of job functions. Since a star has five points, there are five different roles we create to support overall job performance. For example, on a crew, each worker is given a role to fulfill in addition to their own job duties. The five “star points” of performance that I recommend are presented below.
Star Point #1 – Equipment maintenance
This employee monitors all of the equipment to ensure that proper preventive maintenance is completed. For example, if the eight-ton truck is scheduled for an oil change within the week, this individual makes sure everyone knows about it so that the needed arrangements are made to service the truck and to get asphalt delivered if we needed another truck.
Star Point #2 – Job tools
This employee ensures that all of the necessary tools to complete paving jobs are identified, placed on the vehicles, are in working order, and returned to their original resting place after being used.
Star Point #3 – Signage & safety markers
This “star point” employee sees to it that barricades, safety tape, etc. are accessible and in working condition. At times, this individual will go to the job-site the evening before to block off entry lanes or parking lot areas, allowing us faster access the next morning. This individual always makes sure that there is enough tape and signage to make the work area safe.
Star Point #4 – Pre-job equipment checks
Making sure that trucks are gassed, water in the rollers, uni-loader is greased, etc., are all the responsibility of this fourth individual. In some cases the individual will fill-up the vehicles at the end of a workday before the next morning. This person will also inspect the tire pressure for each truck and the tracks on the paver.
Star Point #5 – Post-job quality checks
Our fifth individual performs a visual inspection of completed jobs to detect anything needing attention such as replacing concrete parking bumpers, picking up any forgotten hand tool or gas can, even picking up trash left behind by our crews.
The potential to adapt the Star Performance Model to your organization is endless. For example, you might choose to use the star points to represent different processes involved with completing a job, i.e. one site preparation person, one material person, one tool person, one equipment person, and one finish person. This use does not imply that the individual representing a star point is the only person to execute the task, instead, they are responsible to see that the task is correctly completed.
Why the Star Performance Model? There are three reasons. First, involving more employees in taking responsibility for different work needs lessons the load on one supervisor or owner. Second, involving employees helps to build morale, giving everyone an important role to fill in addition to the work they already are expected to complete. And third, employee involvement develops better team-oriented focus on job performance, improving quality and speed of completion.
Bob and Kathy found that by instituting a little organization, and delegation, that they could continue to successfully lead a growing business. Like Bob and Kathy, review your own organization to assess how smoothly each day goes. Determine what your workers are really doing that contributes to the company’s effectiveness and success. You may just find that you have limited the star performance your workers are capable of providing you.
Brad Humphrey is a consultant to the construction industry. His company, the Pinnacle Development Group, works with contractors across the U.S. and Canada. For more information about Brad and PDG, visit him out at www.pinnacledg.com.