January 1, 2005
Why is an "Interstates hour" different than an average electrical contractor's? The simple answer is that it is more productive. Construction projects are labor intensive endeavors.
As a client, you are entitled to get the most construction for your buck. With the many project delivery formats available and the urgency to get started, retaining a contractor on an hourly basis before a fixed price can be established may be an option you wish to consider.
What's the Difference?
Imagine you have several contractors you are considering. After hearing all of their presentations and reading through a stack of literature, they all seem to be saying the same thing. When looking at each proposal, the only definitive numbers you can judge them on are the unit labor rates: the price for an hour of labor.
Intuitively, you know this decision should rely on more data. You understand that the best people might cost more per hour, but would likely get more work done on your project. How can you be sure the firm with the lowest rates will not burn up a bunch of additional hours? They may even put the project behind, add to the project's risk by putting more people on the site, or cause other unnecessary problems.
This is a problem many clients have faced. It is difficult to predict the productivity of a contractor's workforce. At Interstates, we believe the value of construction put in place by a craft professional ultimately demonstrates a contractor's productivity. The graph shows Interstates' track record over the last a few years.
As an electrical contractor focused on industrial clients, we understand that productivity is fundamental to delivering value to our customers. The graph shows some other published industry standards for electrical contractors. Clearly, Interstates has achieved a level of productivity substantially above industry norms.
How do we achieve these higher productivity rates? We invest in six specific areas that enable our workforce to be safe, productive, and technically proficient.
Well-designed training for the entire workforce can make a difference. We spend more than four times the industry average on training and 70% of our workforce is enrolled in a formal training program. Our workforce understands what needs to be done and how today it correctly and efficiently.
Poor safety costs money and slows down workflow. A solid safety culture improves productivity. Our safety culture ranks in the 90thpercentile against 400 other companies. Interstates can get more done while setting the standard for safety.
Technology Systems for planning and tracking work must be efficient and support the craft's effort. Interstates invests in technology to enable field operation success.
Early planning is critical to leveraging the craft force's effort. At Interstates, planning is formalized and supported with staff that ensures success. Interstates' focus on planning means that projects are done right the first time. Materials, tools, and information are available when called for and productivity is maximized.
Project Management (PM) Support
Project managers lead and maintain an important framework for each project team that is essential for meeting client goals. Interstates has invested informally training our PM staff and has certified six Project Management Professionals (PMP's) on our staff.
The availability and quality of the systems behind the people make a difference. A quality craft force is a great start. Systems to support them in their efforts are one of the differences between good and great.
In the end, the proof is shown on the graph. By investing in these enablers, Interstates has chosen a different model, a model we believe the industry needs. We have developed a premier workforce, built for efficiency and performance. By spending the money upfront to provide these enablers, we raise our overhead burden. We believe this investment is an important lever for changing the face of electrical contracting.
For more information contact Dave Crumrine at 712.722.1662 or by email.