Trades and NHQA Performance Excellence

January 13, 2012

Trade partners have used the National Housing Quality Award over the years as an application process to gain independent feedback on how they can improve their bottom-line and the criteria as a way to evaluate their own processes. Trades have used the NHQA to create fewer callbacks, lower cycle times and better overall quality.  Best practices include:

  • Detailed checklist inspections
  • Checking all packages for accuracy prior to delivery, and on-time deliveries are tracked to guarantee optimal customer service
  • All quality assurance data is collected and recorded. The data are analyzed and shared monthly with supervisors and foremen for areas to improve
  • Weekly random job site inspections are conducted to review conformance to company policies. In addition, weekly division safety meetings are held to share best practices and focus on new safety ideas
  • Managers attend monthly safety meetings to discuss incident reports and assess any special training programs that might be needed
  • A well-documented employee manual is used and is easily accessible online
  • Home owner surveys and focus groups are used to solicit feedback from all customer groups
  • Builders complete surveys on the trade to provide feedback
  • A rolling three-year strategic plan that is revisited and updated annually
  • Dashboard reports that are updated daily and roll up into monthly scorecards
  • Procedures have been standardized across all regions and divisions to assure consistency, safety and security
  • Defects are tracked and hotspots identified for teams to focus on for improvement

This link will take you to a list of Frequently Asked Questions. The FAQ addresses such questions as how does NHQA work, why apply now in this economy, its impact and other key issues.

For tips on writing the NHQA application

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.


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