Inspect What you Expect – Do Not Assume
In today’s fast paced workplace the intensity of everyone’s jobs seems to be increasing with new and increasing pressures, demands and greater levels of expectations. Increased pace has the appearance of efficiency but when analyzed, after the fact, many times that efficiency is no more than a mental illusion and hopeful outcome. Efficiency gains can be a great thing as long as the balance is maintained in such a way as to maintain an adequate level of quality.
The cost-quality paradigm is, and always will be, a challenge given the drive for profit. There are limits to efficiency gains and trade-offs regarding quality. There is a balance. Balancing things like:
- The Companies “Standard of Quality”
- The Customers “Standard of Quality”
- Your individual “Standard of Quality”
- The Industry “Standard of Quality”
For some, just getting past an inspector is good enough; this is typical for the successful low bidder in competitive bidding situations. The price drives the level of quality. This is an interesting dynamic especially when Owners are looking for a set level of quality at the lowest possible price. This situation is wrought with conflict in theory and in practice.
Good construction companies still take pride in what they do and do not sacrifice quality or the Companies reputation by producing inferior levels of quality or providing inadequate quality of products used in the construction process. It takes dedication, commitment and discipline to standby good quality standards along with good management and supervisory processes to insure quality is consistently delivered.
When Project Managers and Superintendents are stretched by managing multiple projects with varying levels of difficulty, with Projects located at opposite ends of the valley the opportunity is created for these “Managers of Quality” to trust the word of others like, tradesman, subcontractors and, even, laborers. Instead of taking that final drive across town at the end of a 10 hour day through rush hour traffic, a PM or Superintendent will call someone on the job for a status update and, even worse, believe them. It is exactly at this point things begin to decline. That is why, many years ago, I coined the phrase – Inspect what you Expect – Do Not Assume!
A simple mantra that, when followed, and properly balanced provides good results.
It takes balance, discipline and dedication of the Management Team to maintain standards of quality. You can take this to the bank:
The level of quality is ultimately determined by the weakest link in the Project Management chain. Watch for weak links….