29 January 2020

Planning tips to improve productivity in your glazing business

Improving productivity is one of those goals that always circles around for business owners and managers. Often the solutions are focused on the individual — how each employee can take steps to work more efficiently. However, there are some higher level changes you can make to your planning, to improve productivity as a whole and set the tone for your employees.


Switch to short and sharp stand-up meetings

Stand-up meetings — literally, where everyone stands up — are becoming an increasingly popular way of trimming the fat from long, often unproductive meetings. They’re usually limited to around 15 minutes since it becomes uncomfortable to stand much longer and it’s a great way to keep the conversation on-topic and keep everyone focused. These kinds of short, quick meetings work great for project updates — just let everyone attending know in advance what they’re expected to report on and don’t forget to have someone taking notes, so follow up actions are recorded.

Plenty of impromptu meetings and catch ups on site already happen standing up, why not try making it a deliberate feature of your next planned meeting?


Try the 90/20 rule

Working in 90-minute intervals with 20-minute breaks in between is a powerful way to boost productivity. After 90 minutes, your brain is fatigued and your ability to focus greatly decreases. Taking a short break to have a snack or get some fresh air and rest your mind is the best way to replenish your brain’s energy, so you can get back to the job at hand. There’s a lot of research that shows how effective the 90/20 method is compared to pushing yourself for 4 hours before taking a lunch break.

Working in sprints isn’t for everyone and most people have different peak productivity hours during the day, but it could be an option worth considering in your glazing business, particularly for people in desk-based jobs


Get in the habit of always setting deadlines

Deadlines shouldn’t be limited to projects or customer-facing tasks. Whenever you’re undertaking a task or delegating one to a team member, make sure you set and document a deadline, even if it’s only to hold yourself accountable. Using job management software makes this a lot easier as you can set the deadline right within the task and it’s visible to everyone involved.
Tasks without deadlines are easy to put off, time and time again, until it’s ‘convenient’ to do them. Having time-limited goals is a simple way to lift productivity across the board. It’s a lot easier to prioritize your workload and the glazing jobs ahead of you when you know the deadlines for each item.


Maintain an organized workspace

If you’re not keeping on top of it, it’s easy for clutter to build up around workspaces and this can really impact productivity for some people. Being surrounded by stacks of paper, old job sheets, broken tools and other general miscellaneous items that workplaces collect over the years, can make it difficult for people who need organization to focus. It might not bother you but that doesn’t mean it isn’t impacting other people so it’s important to maintain an organized work environment.
You’ll also save time by not hunting through bits of paper and things you don’t need anymore, to find that one bit of information you’re actually looking for!


Better data = better planning

We go on about data all the time here on the Smart-Glazier blog but it’s truly the cornerstone of great decision making. Without a decent chunk of accurate data to pull from, you’re flying blind in your planning efforts.
You can use job data to improve your productivity by analysing where delays occurred, whether the team was the right size for the job, if the time estimated was accurate for the job, and so much more. Smart-Toolbox has a wide range of powerful reporting tools, including a margin analysis tool that will let you see your exact margin on each job. You can use this information to make the best choice possible when deciding what glazing jobs to take on and where to focus your resources.


Improve communications and keep records

Miscommunication is a sure-fire way to diminish productivity. Whether it’s internally, between you and the customer or your suppliers or other contractors on the job site, it’s difficult to get anything accomplished when people are working off different sets of instructions.
Streamline communications by putting things in writing and making the most of group chats or mailing lists rather than depending on someone to forward information on to someone else. Make sure your team is clear on who they report to and have a process in place for them to give updates on the job rather than relying on spontaneous conversations that may not happen in a timely way or might leave out important details. You might find some of the apps in our 5 must-have mobile apps for glaziers article useful for improving your communication methods.


Maintain an accurate inventory system

Cutting corners when taking inventory is a guaranteed way to harm your productivity in the long-term.
Having a proper inventory system means you don’t waste time trying to track down materials for a job or going through paperwork to figure out if things have been ordered that you need to complete a project. Taking inventory can be a tedious task but it is a lot more manageable if you keep on top of it and maintain an up-to-date and accessible list, either as a spreadsheet or within your management software.


Rest and recuperate to perform at your best

Glass fabrication and installation can be a physically taxing job, particularly after a big project where your team may have been working overtime or handling a lot of heavy items. Giving your employees a day off or a long weekend to recover may seem detrimental to productivity - it’s time away from the job after all, but it may be one of the best things you can do to increase productivity. Your employees will return to work rested and refreshed, and with added goodwill for you as an employer for taking care of them.


Plan to be productive

Improving productivity can is a lofty goal without smaller, implementable steps in place to back up your objectives. Consider how you can make changes at an organizational level that trickle down to impact personal productivity within your business. We’d love to hear about different productivity tips you’ve implemented in your glazing business, tweet us @SmartBuilder!

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