Chapter Corner

Insights Magazine

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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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Make a Difference

Congratulations to all of the 2017 award winners. Your hard work and excellence is a tribute to your commitment to the highest standards, an evaluation to our industry and more specifically our association. No participation trophies here!

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Can We Overdo Safety?

Too much of anything is usually not good for you, but can we say that when it comes to safety. I have seen individuals struggle with this and some never consider the question at all as they plowed full steam ahead. I believe it deserves a look; and in my opinion, we all have to understand the risks associated with too little a focus and the risks associated with too much of a focus on this thing we call safety.

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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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Belonging is More Than a Transaction

A professional will initially connect to your organization because it aligns with the industry where they are employed or do business. They will have a transaction when they find a product, program, service, or experience that presents a solution to their specific problem. They may even join – whether for a discount or from the recommendation of a colleague. Most often, associations want the stakeholders to take the next step – and belong.

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Bigger Than You

There are many things we can do with our time. Time is the single most valuable thing we have on this earth.
As such, it is important that we spend our time wisely; and when we do, we must receive something of value in return. That return does not have to be monetary; it can simply be the satisfaction that we have done
something to contribute to the success of the organization for which we volunteer. Whether we coach sports or other school activities for our children, volunteer at one of many nonprofit organizations, or support our local IEC chapter and IEC National, we become a part of something that is bigger than we are.

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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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