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Too much work?6/9
I have more work than my current crew can handle in the time we have to do it. My thought is to hire more guys. Is this a rookie mistake? I'm in the stage of business in which I have to watch cash flow extremely close. (maybe that's something for every stage of business). Being able to get more jobs done in less time seems logical. Is it possibly a better approach to split the day into two shifts and have 16 hours a day of production and those hours are straight time. I do have the room in my shop to utilize 1 or 2 more people. With 5 guys and me (I sell jobs and design for production order materials etc) is it a better scenario to have each guy do a specific task. At what number of guys do you find it more productive to have each guy specialized? I have a CNC machine, edgebander etc. I'm quickly converting to Frameless construction but the next 2 jobs are Face Frame and inset doors respectively. The inset job is 80K and has some painted distressed and glazed cabinets.
Which question do you want to have an answer for?
All of them. I have more work than I can handle. What is a good approach to getting it done? Hire more? Or are there other techniques to get it done with current staff?
First of all, who do you propose hiring that you can bring in and be productive from the beginning, second,hard lesson to learn, but over promising and taking to much work can be just as deadly or more so than not having work..Can you sub out some of it such as frames and doors to Conestoga or the likes?
Nick, in my experience hiring only works when the timeframe that is overbooked is very extended (six plus months) as hiring and training take a lot of time out of productivity.
My best bet has always been to keep track of the jobs on the board of where they are actually at in the stage of being needed. So often homes run behind that if you can keep your finger on that and have jobs jump over one another on the production schedule most of the time you can just plain plan and logistic your way out of the problem. But it takes extreme communication with your clients and being very organized.
Lastly, if you make everything- try outsourcing some. Doors & drawerboxes are the easiest. Good luck-
What Family Man said.
Residential usually runs behind schedule, that might help you.
Also make sure you are utilizing what you have as in you should be able to bang kitchens (if you outsource doors) out in a matter of days.
What software are you using?
Those are good points. I do outsource doors and drawers, not face frames although I have thought of doing that, does it work well with Conestoga? I'm using Mozaik software Pat. I know what you mean with hiring and training. I was hoping to get an experienced person that could hit the ground running. I've had great success so far in hiring.
Hello, I use Conestoga for outsourcing doors and drawers. I have outsourced faceframes from them before also. I had no problems with sizing and quality was great. We also use Mozaik with cnc.
Bucket brigade manufacturing will allow you to blow through a LOT of work in very short time with minimal training.
Instead of one person doing six processes for building a door have six people each doing one. One guy chops. One guy copes & sticks. One guy paints the glue. One guy clamps and mops the glue. If the glue mopper can't keep up with the clamper have the chopper help out at this end.
If you only have three people available then sometimes the chopper will have to have four doors ready for cope before the party starts.
You end up with five sets of eyes on every problem and (by lowering the volume of water in the lake) soon learn exactly where the tree stumps live. You don't spend any time training. It is all just doing.
What you have organically accomplished is to lower the batch size to one. Each guy does ONE thing at a time.
Try this for a batch of ten doors. It will all fall apart immediately but you will see exactly where the conflict or crash lives. Tune this part up and then tune the next part up. After about three or four of these campaigns your crew will start to notice that it is fun (imagine a bunch of old women gabbing while they sew quilts). It is a social event and very competitively paced.
It will only take a couple of successes like this to get your guys behind the program.
Man this is why I love the Woodweb. I like the one, Raise Prices. It doesn't immediately help but it is spot on. And yes, with 5 guys and I outsource doors and drawers, it seems I should dedicate tasks to one person. Have one guy build face frames, one guy assemble boxes or two. Don't let boxes stack up but move them immediately to the finish side and don't let them pile up out of the booth but move to final prep. I wish I could get this from theory to reality. So is it correct to (having three guys in production and two in finish, and the two finish guys are fully capable of building), specialize tasks instead of have the three in production do multiple tasks?
Raising prices: If you are getting more than a third of your bids, you are probably leaving money behind. Specializing is almost always more productive. I'd never let several different people run the bander, one as primary and one as backup. Any handling, movement, or measuring, does not add value, reduce or eliminate it. Sell what you can make the most money at. Once setup for frameless, you can produce several times the cabinets per man.
Walk the shop when empty and walk it when in production. Take notes
Is it organized and efficient in it's self ? Be honest, don't throw in the thoughts of "I could or would do this......." Make the necessary adjustments for the efficiency of the work flowing in and out.
Get the office in order and produce clear and concise drawings.
Labor pool, make damn sure assemblers have everything they have @ hand and they are not pulling off assembly every couple minutes to look for anything or items for the assemblies.
Yes, there is a lot that can be done over 2 shifts, but I caution quality and rework needs to be kept an eye on, so it needs to be headed up by quality staff
When I have had too much work, I have concentrated on doing the most profitable work, and raising prices. Doing all the work faster would require investing in capability to do less profitable work, in order to get all the available jobs. Reinvesting in plant and people will help to see you through the inevitable economic downturns.
Turning up the volume with double shifts creates management and logistical burdens that you might not be ready to handle. For example, who will coordinate the work across a 17 hour day? Which day workers will suddenly become second shift workers, or will the second shift be new?
What kind of work do you want? Looking at your web site, I couldn't see what market niche you are aiming for, or who exactly is running the company. I photo of the leadership and shop, and a statement of where you have been and what you want to do, would be helpful.
Bottom line is you need to run the numbers for different scenarios. No one on this forum can give you an answer to increasing your crew size without knowing your cash position, how stable your load is etc. One thing you can do in the short run is raise your prices to slow the volume down and make more money on each job increasing your cash flow. Just don't go overboard on it or you may be branded the "expensive guy".