I once had a manager tell me that homebuilding was the ultimate team sport.  After 15 years in the industry, I had never thought of it that way.  It wasn’t until I stepped into a Director of Purchasing role that it finally clicked, I started to see how all the individual parts and pieces of our industry fit together.  We take a skilled labor force, suppliers, superintendents, inspectors, architects, salespeople, estimators, purchasing, and warranty and put them on a field together and expect everyone to know how to work together as a team, to build the highest cost consumer product on the market.  

Take a minute to let that soak in.  

If homebuilding is the ultimate team sport, how do we build a winning team?

One key component that I want to talk about today is a Trade Council.  Don’t tune out now if you already have a Trade Council in place, stay with me for just a few minutes.  When most of us think of a Trade Council, we think of our trades sitting around telling us all about what we are doing wrong.  But when it’s done correctly, it’s an incredible opportunity to learn more about our team and improve our systems and processes.

A good Trade Council involves a member from just about every group on the team.  We should have a representative from construction, sales, warranty, architecture, purchasing, quality control plus our key labor trades and suppliers.  Amazing things happen when this team sits around a room together.  Imagine the drywall guy sitting next to your framer as he starts talking about return trips because the window reveals aren’t right due to the framing.  Or, how about the framer talking about how he can’t finish framing a house because he is always short material…while sitting next to an estimator?  Now suddenly, the team starts seeing things from other people’s point of view.  They begin to realize how what they do has a direct impact on someone else’s ability to do their job efficiently.

If we are willing to listen openly, a properly run Trade Council offers us great insights into our business and shows us where and how we can improve.  If you don’t currently have a Trade Council in place, or maybe you do but don’t feel like you’re getting the most out of it, our team at Shinn Consulting can help.  As we head into a season of uncertainty, let’s work together to build you a team that would make the Gipper proud!

Contact us today at info@shinnconsulting.com or 303-972-7666 to learn how we can help you achieve greater levels of success in all areas of your business.

Kim Dickson is a consultant at Shinn Consulting. Her areas of expertise include purchasing, negotiations, processes, scheduling, and quality control.