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Articles | October 13, 2023

Driving Excellence Through Innovative Tools, Systems, and Processes

An interview with Fred Meeske, Sr Vice President, and Jad Chalhoub, Director of Business Analytics

The Feeder | Q3 Newsletter

As anyone over the age of 40 can attest, the last 20 years in the construction industry have seen rapid advancements in construction technology, means, and methods. Simple improvements, such as power tools, are prevalent on the job site, and more complex developments, such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, have become standard. Once used by only a handful of contractors, many of these improvements are now industry-standard.

Rosendin has always prioritized adopting new tools, systems, and processes that will support our goal of making projects safer, more efficient, and cost-effective. For over 100 years, beginning with the Rosendin Family, Rosendin has implemented tools, systems, and processes as technology advanced and the industry developed or discovered better and safer building methods.

How do we determine that the Tools, Systems, and Processes (TSP) we put in place are practical?

The answer to this question comes in a variety of ways. First and foremost, we learn from feedback from our employees, our customers, and our results. We operate in an environment of constant change. The demands of our customers and the fluidity of the markets we serve require us to focus on continuous improvement in all aspects of our business. For these reasons, our TSPs are never a finished product but only the most current iteration. The next evolution will need to be more efficient and of a higher quality than the last, and if something isn’t working, we can’t be afraid to scrap it and create something better.

Over the last two years, Rosendin’s Operational Excellence Team has presented dozens of ideas for TSPs. Six of these have been evaluated, approved, completed, and implemented. These new TSPs are constantly being evaluated to assess their effectiveness and practicality.

It is understood that no two projects are alike, so what may be an effective TSP on one project may not work for another. Personnel changes, project circumstances, and team experience can all impact how a new TSP applies across the company. Rosendin is gathering the data surrounding these new TSPs to help refine and perfect them.

How are we using the data that the Technology and Analytics and Finance teams are gathering to make better decisions as a group?

As we continue to see rapid growth across the company, a solid data strategy is more critical than ever. The Technology and Analytics team collects massive amounts of data from all business areas. When using it properly, we can identify trends and gain insights into our operations and customers. In turn, we can identify inefficiencies and correct them to help reduce costs and highlight areas of opportunity that can drive top-line revenues and improved profitability. Collecting the right data, organizing it well, and displaying it in real-time allows us to make better decisions faster.

As Jad Chalhoub, Director of Business Analytics, notes, “It is important to remember that standardization in general, especially data standardization, is a tool, not a goal. Data standardization is important in allowing comparisons when repeated measurements with single variate changes are impossible, which can uniquely benefit construction. Standardization has provided several benefits for Rosendin, depending on where it was applied. For example, standardizing the data points we collect allows us to create reference points to compare against, especially when integrating new processes or comparing performance across several projects. In construction, even with the same project, the data is rarely static and directly comparable, so standardizing the collected data points enables a way to compare a project’s outcome against its goals and with other projects.”

According to Fred Meeske, Senior Vice President, Rosendin collects a lot of standardized data for both active projects and as metrics for measuring the performance of processes. These metrics allow us to understand the performance of projects related to their stated goals.

“There are countless examples of the use of data throughout Rosendin. Within the BIM department, it has enabled the implementation and use of new conduit routing software, hanger placement processes, and interdepartmental reviews and discussions,” says Meeske. “One of the main differentiators that Rosendin has pioneered is connecting multiple data sources into a single funnel, which allowed us to have insights that span multiple departments and business units, which would have previously been impossible.”

Meeske continues how we gather, interpret, and apply the data. “First, Rosendin collects standardized metrics about its internal processes, especially when considering changing or updating them with new tools and software. It is easy to fall for ‘the magic trick‘ or the cool factor behind introducing new solutions. Standardized metrics allow for more direct, analytical, and objective analysis and feedback, allowing us to improve and quantify the improvement continuously.

“Secondly, for teams starting to build data standards and processes, it is essential to keep two things in mind: First, create an interdisciplinary team focusing on easily achievable goals. This will enable you to learn while still providing immediate value. More intricate questions with more effort and time requirements can have a more significant impact, but nothing beats the immediate impact when starting. The team can start tackling more challenging questions once momentum is built and the questions are well-defined. Second, and more importantly, build the metrics to be flexible. There is a misconception that data is very stringent and static, but in reality, data is very fluid, especially from where it can be collected and generated.

It is essential to connect as many distinct data pieces as possible to enable more interconnectedness and deeper insights in the future. Remember that good foundations will save you significantly more time and effort in the long run, instead of repeating things multiple times.

About Rosendin

Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., Rosendin is employee-owned and one of the largest electrical contractors in the United States, employing over 7,500 people, with revenues averaging $2 billion. Established in 1919, Rosendin remains proud of our more than 100 years of building quality electrical and communications installations and value for our clients but, most importantly, for building people within our company and our communities. Our customers lead some of the most complex construction projects in history and rely on us for our knowledge, our ability to scale, and our dedication to quality. At Rosendin, we work to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential by building a culture that is diverse, safe, welcoming, and inclusive.

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