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[2010-12-08]
Message from the COO: A 5-Point Strategy for Improving Effectiveness in Operations
 
By: Ely Aurellado

We are a company in transition. Slowly we flex our muscles to face competitors far older and bigger than we are. The challenges are formidable. But we cannot allow ourselves to be daunted by the growing sophistication in the construction industry. The demand for stricter quality standards and greater responsiveness to environmental concerns must be met squarely. We have to strengthen our competencies if we are to achieve our vision to be “the builder of choice.”
We propose a 5-point strategy to improve our competitiveness through effectiveness in operations.

1. STRENGTHEN THE GATEKEEPER
(Improve Cost Engineering)

Cost Engineering serves as the gatekeeper for business inflow. If the estimates are competitive, projects are generated. A competitive pricing is based on accurate cost estimates, taking into consideration up-to-date information and careful review of construction plans. Fast turn-around time is needed to allow for review and validation of estimates. A system must be in place that maintains confidentiality of information, accountability of results, and validation of estimates against actual performance at project site. Cost engineers must be technically competent, attentive to details, and able to anticipate areas of hidden costs to arrive at feasible bids for positive returns.

2. SHARPEN THE SAW
(Enhance efficiency and effectiveness of Operations)

Project site operational performance is key to achieving profitability. Project management must be pro-active, responsive to client concerns, and cooperative with consultants. Standard construction methodology must be followed. Quality and Safety is paramount. Close supervision and coordination of activities is necessary. There is no substitute for completing the project on time and within budget.

3. PLUG THE LEAKS
(Improve Warehousing and Payroll Handling)

Proper materials handling is required to avoid losses and wastage. Air-tight procedures for the delivery, custody, issuance and retrieval of materials and tools must be followed. Warehousemen must be competent, honest and accountable. Adequate centralized information system for materials and tools must be maintained. Only authorized personnel should be allowed inside the premises. The NO ID, NO ENTRY Policy must be strictly followed. Only legitimate personnel shall be paid wages.

4. OIL THE MACHINERY
(Strengthen Procurement and Logistics)

Procurement and Logistics are crucial to the successful implementation of construction projects. Procurement of materials must be timely, and materials should be available at jobsite when needed. There must be no equipment downtime. To this end, a comprehensive preventive maintenance must be in place. Optimization of tools and equipment must be implemented through proper scheduling and monitoring.

5. RALLY THE TROOPS
(Motivate and maintain Human Resources)

Employees must be inspired, motivated, and developed. There must be clear delineation of functions and proper accountabilities to avoid confusion, overlaps, and omissions. A proper rewards system must be in place to recognize meritorious performance. A positive and collaborative attitude must be developed towards partners such as subcontractors and consultants.

This 5-point strategy forces us to address the fundamentals. If the basics are properly laid down and executed, then our company is on its way to sustainability.

To achieve success, we must enlist the cooperation of everybody who has a stake in this company – our people who constitute our most valuable assets; our suppliers who provide us with materials, tools and equipment; our subcontractors who are partners in project implementation; and our financiers who bridge the gaps in our cash flows. If we are united and mindful of each other’s concerns, and allow ourselves to be governed by the rules of fairness and equity, then we should be able to create an image of professionalism, credibility and dependability, the cornerstones for building towards our vision.
 
 
 
 
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