Standing issues by ProQuest


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									Standing issues
How waiting on the job impacts performance
and what you can do about it
By Brad Humphrey

          few years ago the Center for Con-       incurred remains painfully in place. It is       Let’s imagine that every employee you
            struction Engineering and Man-        easy to state that you can never replace lost    have spends approximately 15 minutes a
             agement at the University of         time. “Downtime” in construction, for            day looking for “stuff” such as brooms,
Michigan conducted a time study to deter-         any reason, normally costs you money and         brushes, tips, shovels, safety tape, time
mine the amount of time construction              is not recoverable from the customer.            cards, etc. Now, consider you have 10
workers are simply waiting to work. The               What are the costs associated with hav-      employees paid an average of $10 an hour.
average time lost waiting for equipment,          ing workers waiting around? Well, let’s          Let’s calculate the average cost for one
materials, tools, and information varied          take a look at one situation that can pro-       year:
among the construction disciplines.               vide you with a method to calculate the                 10 employees
    Bricklayers waited on average about           financial costs for waiting for work to
45 minutes, carpenters about 62 minutes,          begin or resume.                                      x 15 minutes/day
roofers about 75 minutes, electricians about          Consider a pavement maintenance con-              x 200 work days/year
80 minutes, and plumbers about 83 min-            tractor who suddenly finds his five-man               = 30,000 minutes/year
utes. While these times are not necessarily       crew without hot asphalt to lay. There was
indicative of the time pavement mainte-           a mix-up in the directions given to the
nance people may spend waiting for mate-          material driver and the crew is standing                30,000 minutes/year
rials, equipment, or directions everyday          around for one hour before the material               ÷ 60 minutes/hour
(hopefully not!) this time study does raise       shows up. Let’s calculate the potential costs
an important issue. Waiting can and does          to the contractor having five workers stand-          = 500 hours/year
cost the contractor and the customer.             ing around for one hour using an average
    Consider how much time each day               hourly rate of $20 (includes FICA etc.).                500 hours/year
your crews are simply waiting. What are
the causes for such waiting? Let’s examine            5 workers                                         x $10/hour
a few causes in this article and calculate a        x 1 hour waiting                                    = $5000/year
possible cost for the waiting period. We’ll         = 5 total hours spent waiting
then offer some time management tips.                                   
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