5 Areas Your Project is Bleeding Money

In construction, being successful and profitable is all about production. If you're not getting pipe in the ground, you're not making money. Downtime is going to eat into that already slim margin. Here are 5 areas to watch closely because they may not seem like a big deal, but they can cost you money.

1. Lack of information to the crew.

This can be as simple as providing your crew members the WWWWH

  1. WHO - who is on the job and who is supposed to do what. Who is the client. 

  2. WHAT - what is the job about? What’s being installed. What tools are needed. What are the ground conditions.

  3. WHERE - where is the job at. Where is water for filling the tanks. Where do they dump the vac. Where 

  4. WHEN - when does the job start. When is it supposed to be completed by. When is each task or bore supposed to be completed by. When can they be on the road and when do they need to be off the road.

  5. HOW - How many bores are on the job. How do they report?

 

If you want to go that extra mile for your crew, and if it makes sense, throw in a WHY. Why is this job being done (at a higher level)? That way if one of those “too-much-time-on-their-hands” residents in the area start asking questions about what they are doing, each crew member will be prepared to answer their questions.

You may want to provide each crew member with a form that follows this format to better outline the job they are assigned to

 

2. Going to the job without the equipment or tools required.

I can’t tell you how many jobs I’ve been on where a crewmember forgot some crucial tool for the job.
Maybe it was the right size puller (because they didn’t have all the info!). Or the deep depth transmitter. It’s understandable. Every job has different requirements, not to mention the crew is probably heading out at o-dark-thirty. Giving them a simple checklist of what needs to be taken out can mean the difference between a successful kick-off and a job delayed by an hour or two.
 

3. The tools and equipment went out. Did it all come back?

This goes hand-in-hand with #2. Not only do you want to ensure everything goes out to the job. You need to make sure it all comes back.10 pipe rollers go out but 8 came back. Someone forget to go back for that excavator with the low boy? The same checklist used to get everything out to the job, is a good reminder to bring everything back.

4. Not planning for efficiency.

There are a ton of moving parts on any job. Tough for any but the most seasoned veteran to keep track of. Having a list of tasks that can be done at different times during a job can keep everyone moving and the project completion on (or ahead) of schedule. Every job in HDD may be different, but there are still some routine tasks that are pretty much going to happen on every job. Create a step-by-step efficiency plan and review it at the start of the job. This means not only listing out the standard tasks, but also different ways to stay productive: 

  1. When the mud runs out, what can be done while a new batch is being mixed?
    Maybe the vac is filled.

  2. When the vac fills up, what can be done while it is being dumped?
    Maybe fuel levels can be checked. Batteries can be charged.

  3. While the hole is being drilled, what else can be done?
    Get the reamer assembled and positioned at the receiving pit. Install pullers in the duct.

 

Laminate your crew’s efficiency plan and post it at the job for them to refer to throughout the job. The newbees will love it and keep them moving.
 

5.  No backup plan or backup tools.

The transmitter just burnt up in the middle of the bore and there’s not an extra with the crew. Sure they’re expensive, but what is it costing for the crew to not have another one on-hand? Plus, do they know if there is another one even available within the company?
Maybe the thread on the housing adapter is gauled. Got another on the truck?
Of course you can’t have 2 of everything. But think about those key tools, that if they failed, would cause a job to be shut down. Then weigh the cost of having a back-up on hand, versus the downtime lack of having it would cost.

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Want an eye-opener?

Try out our Lost Revenue Calculator. Just plug in a few data points like average hourly wage, # of crew members on a job, $ per foot, etc., and this handy calculator will give you a good estimate on what that 1 hour of downtime because the crew forgot the lithium locator battery just cost you.