Chapter Corner

Insights Magazine: Features

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Date Your Customers to Keep Them Loyal!

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Recruiting for the Future

MCA, Inc, and IEC have jointly prepared and distributed many articles in the past few years, and most of them focus on the shifting market and the demands that this places on business leaders. In addition to focusing on the business models and the business processes, we have to remain intently focused on the fact that our people have been and will continue to be the most critical component of our business success. It’s our people who serve our customers, keep our promises, and follow the processes that ensure our profitability and future existence. Recruiting is what we do to ensure that the people we have on deck for tomorrow continue to excel and bring our business new success. Recruiting is much more than running a few ads and filtering through the candidates; recruiting is the entire process of motivating people to want to be a part of your team. Effective recruiting is effective motivation, so it never ends.

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Creating Contractor Opportunities with Smart Building Technology

A smart lighting control solution helps decrease lighting energy use, meet building code, and enhance comfort and productivity to add value for both owners and tenants. This is essential for creating the right environment and optimizing performance in any building.

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How to Recruit the Next Generation

Many companies are having difficulties recruiting and hiring skilled tradespeople in today’s market. Much of this is due to the “skills gap,” the gap between candidates’ skills/training and the requirements for certain jobs. Unfortunately, it’s a serious problem that shows few signs of improving. According to SkillsUSA, a national organization that provides career and technical education to more than 360,000 high school and college students, there are 5.6 million unfilled skilled jobs today. Of those jobs, 75 percent don’t require a four-year degree. That’s more than 4 million open U.S. jobs that do not require a traditional college education!

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Winds of Change: Industrialization of Construction

The current symptoms of skilled labor shortage, faster-paced jobs, lower margins, and pressure from global competition are only signals of the times to come. It is not going to let up, and construction is never going to go back to what it was. So, the question is how to cope with it.

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Five Steps to Improve Productivity and Morale

Productivity has been the mantra of the industry for the last two decades – and it’s not stopping anytime soon. The U.S. Census Bureau reports positive gains for May 2017, total construction spending is up 6.1 percent from May 2016. The result is that companies are implementing new tactics to meet the high demand. Prefabrication, with its substantial time saving benefits, is becoming more prevalent as part of those new tactics. When utilizing prefabrication methods, it must be paired with knowledge and implementation of good ergonomics to recognize those time savings. Prefab gains can easily be offset with labor downtime and high injury/workers comp expenses.

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Spotting Problem Projects

Perhaps more than any other specialty contractor, electrical contractors bear the brunt of the "problem project.” Long after most other trades have completed their work and scattered in the wind, electrical contractors remain on site until the owner’s last inspection. And when the project is a “problem project,” the owner or prime contractor tend to liberally share their losses and liquidated damages among those specialty contractors remaining on site at the end. So what is an electrical contractor to do when the project starts coming off the rails?

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Work Breakdown Structure From the Field

Construction jobsites are often unpredictable and impacted by daily changes. In order to reduce the impact of the
daily changes, an electrician needs to see the work ahead of them. This is the power of a comprehensive Work
Breakdown Structure (WBS). A WBS is a method to identify the necessary tasks that are needed to complete a specific job. The identification of tasks needs to be done by an electrician who is physically doing and leading the work (General Foreman or Foreman). To create a WBS, you bring the whole project team together to discuss and break down the project into small, manageable tasks. By writing down the individual tasks you will start to identify unanswered questions and potential risks. Once complete, the WBS can serve multiple functions. You can use it to accurately monitor job progress, real-world completion levels, and overall productivity to reduce the job risks and
predict and prevent upcoming obstacles.

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Getting Strategy Right: What Contractors Do Wrong and How to Fix it

Amidst ever-shrinking profits, increasing labor shortages, and decreasing productivity in the construction
industry, companies are trying to solve new problems with old strategies. Industry profitability for most
specialty contractors, including electrical companies, has consistently experienced 5-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) net income declines of 6.1 percent. A labor gap in the United States of 1.6 million workers, an aging workforce where more than half of its workers are over 45 years old, and a lack of interest for entrance from younger generations (43% said they would not enter construction irrespective of compensation) has increased costs and left companies unable to satisfy building demand.

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Build a Proactive Plan to Find Good Help!

I am tired of hearing contractors say they can’t find any good or trained help. When all they do is complain about their problems, they’ve decided to be negative and not develop positive solutions to their problems. I get calls and emails all the time from contractors asking how to find help. When people don’t apply, you can’t hire them. And when you don’t take out a help wanted ad, they won’t apply. And “yes,” it costs money and a proactive plan to recruit good people to work for your company!

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