Efficiency. It’s a key to running a business effectively. It means you’re not wasting time or energy on a job. Instead, you’re able to keep everything organized and get the most out of your time, your team, and your supplies. It is a big part of maximizing your profits. At the same time, it helps keep your clients happy. So how do you run any efficient project?
Efficiency ≠ Rigidity
First, it’s important to say what efficiency isn’t. It doesn’t mean you have to be unbending. Nor does it mean you can’t relax and enjoy your time at work or that you can’t allow your workers to enjoy themselves. That kind of strict attitude can make you less efficient.
The definition for “efficient” on Google reads, “achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.”. While this meaning is applied to machines or systems, the reality is that your work is a system. And of course, no one wants to work or spend more than they have to..
Flexibility is an important part of efficiency. There will always be adaptations you need to make and exigencies you have to adjust to. Weather, illness, equipment failure, and more can require you to make changes. Being able to deal with scenarios like those will help make you more efficient, not less.
A relaxed atmosphere also helps with efficiency. In any area of construction, we learn that building something that’s too inflexible will make it more likely to fail. Instead, there has to be the right amount of “give” – and that applies to people as well. People who are under pressure or nervous are more likely to make mistakes. You don’t need your workers to be robotic or to be so yourself! But to be efficient without being rigid, what can we do?
Communicate With the Client
The first step toward minimizing wasted time and energy is to know what’s expected of us. After all, we can’t do the job right if we don’t know what the job entails.
Be sure to spend enough time with your client to understand what they expect. Go through it with them step by step. Use your experience to help draw out the details that will let you complete the project to their specifications.
Part of that might be helping them to refine their ideas, too. Most of us have had clients who don’t know exactly what they want. They have a concept, but it’s not refined to the level where it can be implemented. It may be vague or it could be beyond their budget or even beyond technical feasibility. Part of what we have to do is to help them define what they want and what’s possible both financially and technically.
Understanding what the client expects right from the start helps cut down on changes later on. Following up with them as the work progresses can help correct errors early before they get compounded. Does it take effort to go through this communication? Sure. But in the long run, it pays off.
Once you know what the client expects, you can start creating your plan for how to get it done. Of course, for many projects, this is going to come as second nature. But whether it’s the type of job you do every day or a unique project, it’s your job to identify what you need to get it done..
You’ll need to calculate the supplies you need, the size of your team for the project, the time involved, and all the other factors involved.
Of course, you don’t have control over everything. Weather plays a role in many projects, for instance. While you may know that certain times of year aren’t good for pouring concrete, for instance, you probably won’t be able to predict every rainstorm.
You might not have total control over the health of employees or sudden shortages in supplies or . But those are rare issues.
There are plenty of factors beyond your control that can prevent you from being 100% efficient. However, when you take the time to plan, you can still be highly efficient. You learn to anticipate the things you can’t control and make them part of your planning
Communicate With Your Team
Of course, it’s not enough for you to know your plan. You have to share it with your team, too.
It’s vital that they understand the work to be done. Sharing the construction plans, drawings, and blueprints with them is one way. Talking through the project and assigning responsibilities is another.
Of course, there are routine projects where everyone knows their role and can get right to it. That’s great and helps the work progress smoothly. But there are other times when the task is a bit more unique. In those circumstances, be sure to get into the details.
To work efficiently, it’s important to avoid two things: omission and duplication. You don’t want any tasks left out, but you also don’t want two people thinking they need to perform the same task. Everyone should know their responsibility for each project.
Communication isn’t just vital at the start of the project. When you’re dealing with a job that’s going to take a while to complete, you have to talk things over with the team regularly. You may even need to meet with the team to start each day, discuss the state of the work, and make adjustments based on how things are going.
Sometimes, we want to rush right in and get things done. Talking might seem like a waste of time. But in the long run, communication is essential to guarantee the project is completed correctly. After all, it’s far more efficient to talk about it and adjust as we go along than to have to tear it out and redo it afterward.
Check Your Work
“Measure twice, cut once” has spread from the construction industry to become a common phrase in daily life. But just because it’s become a cliché doesn’t mean it’s any less valid.
As you go about a project, it’s important to make sure to check your work. That’s not meant to be simplistic at all. Verify that you’ve read plans right, that you’ve measured correctly, and that it’s proceeding as planned. It’s far easier to fix a mistake before it happens!
It’s also helpful to provide regular updates to the client. Keep them informed of where the job stands and whether there have been any issues or adjustments you’ve had to make. Remember, it’s their work, too, and they will want to be aware of all that’s going on.
Yes, it takes time to double-check yourself. That may not seem like it’s making the best use of the time. But it’s far better to check now than to make a costly mistake that will waste time, energy, and supplies later.
Clean Up After Yourself
One final way to maximize your efficiency is to clean up each day or even after each part of your project.
Making sure everything is returned to its proper place will help you find it the next day. Cleaning up trash sooner rather than later means that it hasn’t had a chance to accumulate – or worse, blow around the site.
Putting everything in its proper place is basic to organizing. While some people may think it’s not worth it since you’ll be pulling it out again the next day, it does help to put things away.
That doesn’t mean that you have to haul them back to the storage shed; you can leave them in a secure place on the job site if possible. But knowing where they are will make them easier to start work the next day. It also shows respect for the tools that help you earn a living. And storing them correctly will extend their lifetime – another important factor in turning a profit!
Being efficient means wasting less energy and time. And that means you can earn more with less work. By communicating with your client and your team, checking the progress of your work, and staying organized, you can reduce waste and get the job done better and faster. What seems like extra work does save effort in the long run, making you a more successful businessperson.