Waste costs your company profits, and sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint where that waste is happening. It’s fairly easy to see when materials are being wasted. But it takes closer scrutiny to locate when and where time is being wasted. You might find it, for example, in repetitive tasks like placing hangers, spooling or revising designs.
Efficiency is one key to decreasing wasted time, and that is closely linked to consistency. One thing many companies can agree upon, if you can be consistent in your processes, you can avoid waste.
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To increase your company’s efficiency, you need to increase the amount of work that can be accomplished in the same amount of time. When you do that, you can take on more work, while improving your bottom line. Although increasing efficiency is a process, it’s easier to do when you use tools that are designed to improve consistency.
Following are 3 ways to avoid waste in your MEP fabrication:
- Follow a plan: You need to develop a plan for higher efficiency and make sure it is followed consistently. Sharing the plan with your team helps them cut down on material waste and use time more judiciously. Each team member needs to understand the project and their part in it. Having real-time access to plans for the project is important. Putting an effective plan into place, for example, will help you order materials to arrive at the optimal time they are needed, helping eliminate material waste.
- Check your work: As we’ve all found out the hard way, not checking work is trouble brewing. Double checking work gives you the best chance of preventing errors. It also cuts down on the need for rework in the field – a waste of both time and materials. Choose a software tool that will enable you to automatically check calculations for accuracy and ensure consistency in your data.
- Use the right tools: On the shop floor, skilled workers insist on using the right tool for the job. A cabinet maker once told me, “If your job is too hard, you’re using the wrong tool.” MEP professionals know the right tool will make a job easier. It will also reduce accidents caused by workarounds trying to adapt the wrong tool to the job. Tools used in the office are included in the “right tool” rule. As described by an EVOLVE case study about B&I Contractors, using a design software tool that automates repetitive tasks like placing hangers or spooling can save as much as 80% of time in design. Programs that integrate your operations, from ordering to inventory to invoicing, can also speed up processing tasks and reduce errors when you incorporate shared data.
If wasted materials and time are costing you profits, look to reduce repetitive tasks and improve your consistency. You can avoid waste when you plan consistent processes, use the right tools in the shop and the office, and make sure calculations and data are checked for accuracy.