Applied Improvement

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A friend of mine recently said, "Just applying for the National Housing Quality Awards was the best thing I've done for my company. It forced me to answer questions I hadn't even thought about yet." This month, we celebrate the accomplishments of two companies that answered the questions and proved to visiting judges that the answers were accurate.

October 01, 2009

Paul Deffenbaugh
Editorial Director

A friend of mine recently said, "Just applying for the National Housing Quality Awards was the best thing I've done for my company. It forced me to answer questions I hadn't even thought about yet."

This month, we celebrate the accomplishments of two companies that answered the questions and proved to visiting judges that the answers were accurate. Simonini Builders of Charlotte, N.C., and Wayne Homes in Uniontown, Ohio, have established continual improvement cultures that helped these companies survive. Wayne Homes is an entry-level, on-your-lot builder and Simonini Builders is a custom, semi-custom and neighborhood builder that serves the top 4 percent in household income. Both operate on the same philosophy of quality. The result? Success.

The NHQ Awards measures builders in eight areas.

Leadership: Owners establish a vision and mission for the company that is communicated clearly and efficiently. In top companies, all employees and trades know the vision and mission and are able to make decisions independently to support those goals.

Strategic Planning: Home builders tend to react to the market rather than identify opportunities and develop resources for the company to achieve new goals. The best companies create strategic plans that are reviewed regularly and against which progress is measured and accountability held.

Performance Management: The best companies measure their performance in every area, from finances to quality control. Then, they evaluate that performance and institute changes to improve performance.

Customer Satisfaction: Customer satisfaction has to be part of the culture that is enforced throughout the organization, and is essential to success. In the NHQ Awards, you can score perfectly in every category, but bomb this one and you won't win anything.

Human Resources: The best companies have the best people. One Simonini employee was livid that the judges did not select her to interview or hear her testimony. Her description of how the company treated her during a difficult life experience is the kind of story that shows the value a quality company can bring to individual lives.

Construction Quality: Many companies claim they build great houses. NHQ Award winners have the measurements to prove they build great houses.

Trade Relationships: Trades are essential to a company's success. The best companies partner with their trades and ask for feedback on how they are doing.

Business Results: If you do everything, business results will take care of themselves.

paul.deffenbaugh@reedbusiness.com

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