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January 8, 2007 8:05 AM CST

Quality Can Actually Save You Money

By

MCAA's Masonry Quality Institute is designed to provide you the tools to change the culture of your company.
MCAA's Masonry Quality Institute is designed to provide you the tools to change the culture of your company.

The difference between a successful contractor and a contractor that struggles is the understanding that performing a quality job can actually save your company money which is reflected right on your bottom line profit. Successful profitable contractors strive to exceed their customer's requirements and expectations every chance they get because they know that a satisfied customer, no matter what it costs the contractor, is often a repeat customer and keeping a customer costs you less than trying to cultivate a new customer.

Just think about your own purchasing habits and the purchasing habits of your family. You purchase a product or service, you get good satisfaction and when its time to repurchase that product or service again you go back to the company that you were satisfied with. If you don't believe me just think about the person that cuts your hair. How many of us use a new person every time you get your hair cut? If someone butchers your hair, you bet that you'll go shopping for a new stylist...well maybe not everyone from some of the hair styles I see lately.

Construction customers are just like us. They purchase construction (masonry) the same as you purchase most of your products. They research providers, maybe ask friends about the choices that are available and then they choose the best option. If they get a good experience, they may use that person again.

As a contractor, how do you get the repeat order once you've been selected? It's simple, meet or exceed the customer requirement the first time and every time. Perform better then they expect and you can expect to do more work with that customer. There are many ways to assess how you are doing. For one you can ask them. That's tougher that you expect. Most people are afraid to ask how they are doing for fear that may get a negative answer. You can't connect a bad perception unless you know about it. So ask how you are doing. Second, strive for a goal of a zero punch list on the project that you are building. Is it realistic to expect a zero punch list? Absolutely. We expect our customers to provide us a service with zero defects don't we? Just think about when you travel on a plane. Do you get on that plane thinking that a 10 percent or 20 percent failure rate is acceptable? Of course not...we expect 100 percent. So why can't we expect zero punch lists from our industry? Striving for a zero punch list can actually save you money. Just think about it. What does it cost your company to train a mason to not put a chipped brick or block in a wall? Versus the cost to your company to send a crew back out to a job that you thought was complete in order to replace that chipped brick and block that your customer rejected. That is the cost of quality, the cost to train, versus the cost to correct bad behavior. So who do you think had to absorb the expense to send that crew back out to fix those punch list items? You of course. Now add that to the cost of not being able to use those workers on a job that you are getting paid on and that makes the cost that much higher. Now add the cost of a dissatisfied customer that does not use you on their next job and that makes the cost to your company astronomical.

This whole premise is behind MCAA's Masonry Quality Institute (MQI), which is designed to provide you the tools to change the culture of your company, the result of which can be a company of dedicated and caring employees who strive to do it right the first time. What would it be worth to you to have employees who strive to do it right the first time? What would it be worth to you to have employees who strive to do it right every time and to care as much as you do in meeting your customers requirements?

Can providing quality save you money? You bet it can.


About the Author

Michael Adelizzi was the Executive Director of the Mason Contractors Association of America.

 

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