Hitting targets is vital for individual and collective success. However, the million-dollar question is how is this best achieved? I have previously discussed the importance of time management and measuring progress, that which are both crucial to hitting targets. Nonetheless, in a business environment, effective and organised collaboration is also an important factor.
At M & Sons, we have developed a few pipelines and data collection methods to make sure every target we set is reached, and that we are able to manage our respective budgets with ease and accuracy. Whilst it is understandable that every company will have its own customised methods, the principles behind them remain the same: Collect, analyse, implement.
Our rigorous spreadsheets collect all of our internal costs across our projects and separate them respectively. Once this is completed, the costs are given categories, such as structural, electrical, plumbing, decorating, and stages, such as the basement, ground floor, first floor, internal, bedroom 1, en-suite 1, etc. We have also recently implemented a T&A system (Time & Attendance) software (shoutout to Mayflex and Suprema) which allows us to remove any human error when tracking our hard-working and talented labour force. All these inputs are eventually double-checked to ensure accuracy.
In regards to the collection stage in our pipeline, we work very hard at the beginning of the project between our office and on-site team to decide on deadlines as to when decisions must be made for each stage. This allows us to set reminders using one of the many useful features on Outlook (shout out to Microsoft) Calendar to always stay ahead. These reminders are monitored by our administrator who is less involved in the ordering of materials and sub-contractors; in other words, this process is monitored externally. The power of this lies in making sure everyone knows their role and are ‘held accountable’ by someone else as to not allow anything to slip between cracks. During this collection stage, we send out a request for quotes and tenders for various stages, be it for piling or sanitary amongst other things. On receipt, the respective quotes are stored on a designated excel spreadsheet and filed for price comparisons.
The detailed allocation of what each respective cost is linked to allows us to analyse where our costs come from, where we find ourselves in relation to our budget and to track our progress. We cross-analyse our real-time costs with our projected budget costs at the end of every month to see how close we are to our budgets and how healthy our cashflow is looking. This helps us understand at what level we are performing both internally and externally to the client’s wants and needs.
At the analysing stage of our pipeline, we compare the various quotes received in terms of the respective prices and the quality of products/services offered. This analysis is done through face-to-face meetings with our logistics manager and respective site manager to make sure that the professional opinion goes alongside every decision made. This analysis stage is crucial as providing the correct information to the decision-makers can be the difference between making a profit or loss very often. Misinformation can lead to unwanted direct costs, being a waste of materials, labour or delay in schedule, or unwanted indirect opportunity cost – could it have been achieved at a better price or quality? These are the challenges and decisions that we face and make every day and successfully get ahead of.
This stage is arguably the most important. If you get the previous two stages wrong but the implementation right, you might get away with it in the short term at least. However, this would be unlikely to allow for sustainable growth.
The way we implement our data is as utilising it during our tendering process when bidding for new projects. The better our data is, the less tedious this process is. At pretty much every time we tender, we appreciate and scrutinise our collection process, seeing its importance and usability. This is shown through consistent upgrading and improving of our collection protocols, focusing on sharpening the communication between the worksites and the office.
In the final stage of our pipeline, the results of our analyses are provided to our Director, who will often send us back to the analysis stage with questions. However, once this is concluded, the Director makes a decision as to how to continue forward, gives his stamp of approval and the task is actioned.
Going back to where we started, we have now discussed what actions we take to guarantee us reaching our targets in an effective and organised manner. Collect, analyse, implement. As discussed, whilst many people may skip the first two-stages (we all try to cut corners sometimes), in the long-term, it is difficult to sustain. This process should be flexible in that it should be easy to improve and sharpen at any given stage. Whilst making one sale could be easily achieved, it is hard to grow constructively without data and pipelines – it would simply become too much eventually.
Let’s now update you on what has been going on at M & Sons since our last update (I know, we’ve kept you waiting). We have completed the demolition and begun the piling stage at our new build project in NW4. This is very exciting for us as we love building luxury houses for new clients. It was also a great opportunity to put up our hoarding up, which we have upgraded to make it look attractive to all of you!
In our project in Colindale, we are now just about to pour our third upper floor and it is looking mighty fine. We have concreted our staircases, brought an innovative and good looking loading bay (cheers Conquip) to help lift materials to the upper floors and are constantly making sure all of our Health & Safety and RAMS documents are all up to date. Big thank you to our team over there who are really pushing the boat without hindering the quality whatsoever, now putting us over 6 weeks ahead of schedule.
We have also just begun a new full conversion and redesign of 6 flats in Kentish Town, giving us an excuse to head towards town ahead of the end of the dreaded lockdown.
As you can see, we are keeping super busy and are loving it. We would like to give a warm welcome to Vivien who has recently joined our team and is fitting in exceptionally well – well done!
Here’s to a successful week ahead to all of you from the M & Sons family.
Thanks for taking interest in us! Always remember, keen or interested to find out any more about what we have going on, reach out to us on our ‘Contact Us’ page and we will be available for a chat.
Have a look at some pictures below of what we have been up to!