Quality Control is an excellent management tool that, if used properly, can save the company a tremendous amount of money and embarrassment. Proper controls must be in place to prequalify the players, estimate the bid, win the award, set the schedule, handle documents, control quality and costs, manage claims and delays, handle field inspections, to successfully control and complete these projects until the close-out checklist is finalized. Let the Track Guy assist you in controlling your projects successfully from start to finish.
What can Track Guy Consultants do for your company?
Control the Process:
Submittal List and Submittal Schedule: We can prepare a submittal list with a schedule for submission and follow through to ensure that these submittals are timely and properly prepared for accurate document control and tracking.
Systematic Document Handling: We can develop a system for transmission of these approved documents, so everyone involved with the construction is working from the same set of documents. Timely and accurate communication is essential in fast-paced projects. A Foreman working with outdated drawings can be devastating to the project and will absolutely affect productivity and cost.
Quality Control Manual: We can write a job specific Quality Control Manual that can be endorsed by upper management and enforced by project management. The secret to zero defects is proper control on the front lines of construction. Corrective work and punch lists can be minimized, if not eliminated, by using a good Quality Control Manual. We can help to instill a high confidence level from all persons involved in the project that all is being constructed in conformance with all specifications. This confidence develops respect, trust and reputation.
Quality Control Library: We can maintain and update the volumes of paper that are generated during the course of a project. The quality control library is extremely helpful during close-out and collecting final payment for the Contractor or beginning revenue service for the Owner. This library will also contain final certifications from suppliers and builders. This is invaluable when trying to acquire a safety certification prior to passenger service.
Comprehensive Training: We provide comprehensive training to increase your odds significantly in producing a very successful project that makes more money than expected and one that everyone can be proud of including the Owner of the system. 80% of profit can be lost in the last 10% of the job. Also, a good reputation can be destroyed by claims and litigation. This can all be avoided or greatly minimized by investing in employee training.
Field Inspections: We can perform periodic field inspections to ensure that Superintendents and Foremen are performing the work according to the specifications and latest approved drawings. We will verbalize any concerns or inconsistencies to the appropriate personnel and follow up with a written report and produce this to upper management. If required, we could further generate NCRs (Non Conformance Reports) and maintain a log that will require sign-off from upper management.
Project Close-Out Checklists: We have developed numerous checklists and standard reporting forms for all aspects of Track Construction, Inspection and Maintenance. These documents are invaluable when trying to close-out a project. They help to develop trust between the Owner and Contractor. They ensure that quality is maintained at the highest level and are very instrumental in achieving zero defects.
Control the Project:
In order to have a successful job, we must control the project. There are two aspects to control; one is internal control within your company, the other is the Owner's procedures.
BUDGET -- SCHEDULE -- EXECUTION -- COMMUNICATION
The Owner and Project Success: The Owner's procedures are more important to the profitability of the job. If you want to get paid, then you had better follow the Owner's procedures. These procedures are usually spelled out in the Contract Specifications and sometimes require very intense reading and note taking. No two owners are alike and just because you have done it your way for 100 years, does not mean it is right. Be very careful with small phrases and sentences that are out of context. Lawyers are writing these contracts now and extra care must be taken. The "hold harmless" clauses are always a tough one to handle. When the owner makes you responsible for everything, even if it is owner negligence, you must address that quickly and come to a reasonable agreement before work begins. It is a true Catch-22. If you don't sign the contract, the owner will just find someone that will. By addressing these types of issues up front, it is possible to manage the risk at a reasonable level. The written word is the only word nowadays. The words "timely notice" can ruin a job. If you do not give the owner proper and timely notice on changes, delays or any modification to the contract, you can lose your rights to recover damages. Sometimes it is prudent to put the owner on notice and reserve your rights to claim. Most claims can be negotiated to a win / win resolution.
Your Company and Project Success: What are the internal controls that must be managed? The answer is simple, Everything!
This list represents 8 of the 14 aspects of a project that need to be managed:
The Pre-Qualification: Most of the Design/Build projects require the contracting group to pre-qualify their consortium prior to any pricing or the invitation to bid or RFP (request for proposal). The activities involved can be very detailed, time consuming and costly. History, reputation, references and key personnel play an important role in this "show and tell" beauty contest. Make sure of your commitment before you spend too much time and money on this portion. Budget. Budget. Budget.
The Estimate: Managing the bid proposal is essential to a successful outcome. There are so many activities involved that a good checklist is an absolute necessity. Simply assigning a project to an estimator will not work unless there are specific procedures and standards for the estimator to follow. Do you bring the field guys in to consult with? Do you do a full blown risk analysis? Do you identify the Project Manager? Who gets involved? How are the review meetings conducted? What are the rules for close-out and delivery? What about strategy meetings? etc., etc., etc. OR does the estimator lock himself in a closet and two hours before bid time, come out with an estimate? Think about it, how do you manage your estimating process? Budget. Budget. Budget.
The Award: This is the time to begin relationship building techniques. Usually, 30 days after award, the Notice to Proceed is issued and 30 days later they expect you to have a presence on the site. Start-Up, Set-Up and Mobilization must be managed and controlled. Nothing worse than getting started on the wrong foot. Do you have a partnering meeting or not? Some are good and some are pointless. How do you hand off the job to the field management team? I would spend at least a day with all the in house people involved in the estimating and the field people. ALL aspects of the project would be addressed and responsibilities assigned. The field people need to know everything that went on during the estimate. How many times has a Project Manager made a deal with someone and then found out that the estimator made another deal? I would also make a check out to the Project Manager for the budget amount (not the bid amount). The check was oversized and drawn on the Bank of Fake Money. This symbolized all the money he had to complete the project. If there was some left over at the end, then the management team would share a portion of that money. Budget. Budget. Budget.
The Schedule: This can be the most important document of the project. Claims, delays, negotiation and litigation begin with the schedule. The schedule also serves as a great tool for managing a project and bringing it in on time and under budget. Some agencies require activities to be no longer that 3 days, therefore, locations and productions must be accurate. Trying to do a good baseline schedule in house can be extremely time consuming and inefficient. I would sub this work to a professional scheduling firm. The schedule guys have their own language and typically the owner encourages the contractor to seek outside help. The contractor will not receive any payment until a schedule is approved so time is of the essence. Too many times the project team will try and do this themselves, but egos get in the way and it is not in the proper format or font or whatever. The owner will look for reasons to not approve a homemade schedule. Spending a few bucks on this activity, can save millions in the end. Schedule. Schedule. Schedule.
Execution: If you mess this one up, you loose money and, last I heard, contractors are not charitable organizations. Quality, Safety, Production, Methods, Material and all other resources must be managed and controlled. Checklists, job descriptions and regular meeting are absolutely required for a successful job. Putting the right people in the right place and working with matching people to the project is a necessity. Execution. Execution. Execution.
Cost Controls: If you want to make money, you had better track your costs. So many times I have heard a Foreman say that he is beating the production that the estimator put in the bid. But what they fail to realize is that they are spending more money to do that. The unit cost must be identified, tracked and communicated to that Foreman or at the end of the job, everyone will say, "How can that be that we lost money?" A good cost control system with trend sheets will give the management team enough time to change a bad activity or turn one around in time. It can also identify potential change orders, delays and weather related costs. Weekly trending and projecting of cost can produce the very best results that are humanly possible. Communication. Communication. Communication.
Claims & Delays: Precise documentation can mean the difference between success and failure as it relates to claims and delays. Timely notice must be given or the contractor may lose the rights to a legitimate claim. These potential loses to revenue must be addressed immediately and timely resolution is a must. Communication. Communication. Communication.
- The Close-Out: Every project should have a close-out meeting. This is a meeting of all in house people involved in the project. This is an excellent learning experience and will quickly point out any flaws in the system. All people must learn from mistakes, but this meeting should never turn into a witch hunt to find who is to blame. A dynamic and well respected person should conduct this meeting. It can save much money later down the road. Communication. Communication. Communication.