April 6, 2011

For a real relationship with trade PARTNERS we need to practice what we preach. First of all do you have a good partnership and relationship between the departments in YOUR homebuilding organization to start with. If your departments work in an integrated way, understand that you are each your INTERNAL CUSTOMERS and work as true partners then you will be able to translate that to the relationship with your trade partners. If not well ……………  This partnership will involve not only working together on daily construction activities but for a mature relationship your trade partners will be part of your TEAM, involved in two way communications on such issues as design, energy efficiency, new product development, value engineering, and seeing errors, defects etc as a team effort to correct and prevent.

Finally, how do you know what your relationship is like with your partners, have you asked THEM. Conducting even a simple Trade Partners Satisfaction Survey shows your interest and can uncover many issues you were unaware of !

NEXT TIME, Using Focus Groups

Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor, and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the home building industry as well as construction engineer, site manager, and in training, auditing, and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental, and safety management awards for clients. 

Denis is co-author of The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence.