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This article first appeared in the March/April 2024 issue of Pro Builder.

At the International Builders' Show in February, I moderated an educational session titled “Improving Jobsite Productivity.” It must have struck a nerve because we had a capacity crowd of 315 people and were asked to present it again later that day to accommodate another 120 or so who’d been turned away from the first session.

Like the audience, I was locked in as Lance Manlove from Schell Brothers, Matt Graves from Drees Homes, and Richard Baker from IBACOS, a quality construction consultancy to production builders, presented real-world, incredibly effective solutions for reducing cycle time, hard costs, dry runs, rework, miscommunication, and overall inefficiencies on the jobsite. 

Tools for Improving Jobsite Productivity

All three of them use proprietary software and other tech-based tools to drive productivity. But those systems only underscore an unwavering commitment to collaboration, transparent communication, and consistency with trade partners, customers, and across their in-house teams.


The results are remarkable, both in terms of driving productivity gains and in customer and trade partner satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. Rich Baker’s final slide showed a comparison of a builder client’s performance across six key construction phases (see below). In 2017, the quality assessments were labeled mostly yellow, orange, and red (no bueno); by 2023, the same chart was almost all green (mucho bueno).

Rich Baker slide from IBS 2024
Rich Baker from IBACOS presented this chart at the IBS education session, which compares a production builder's quality construction performance (and therefore overall productivity) across multiple phases and the marked improvement the builder made thanks to a combination of data and implementing best practices.

Jobsite Productivity Essentials: Centralization and Communication

Turns out, improving productivity isn’t about cutting deals or riding herd or bidding out every job, or any other old-school scare tactic. It also isn’t kowtowing to a seller’s market of labor or risking quality control to bring a house in on time and on budget. In fact, those archaic approaches have exactly the opposite effect on productivity. 

Instead, by setting up systems and protocols that deliver real-time (or near real-time) reporting of a home’s progress and centralizing them on one platform, everyone involved in a project can identify issues early on, solve them quickly, and prevent them from reoccurring. They can embed photos or videos to illustrate installations and confirm quality completions. They can eliminate lost email or text threads, voicemails, or handwritten notes, and so much more to make a job go smoothly and finish out faster, better, and with profitability intact.

Involve Trade Partners to Boost Productivity 

During the Q+A portion of our session, a few folks wondered how the two builders, and those who are IBACOS clients, get their teams—especially their trade partners—to play ball. The answer: By showing them how an honest approach to improving productivity (and their vital role in that goal) keeps them busy, paid, and successful—and that message really resonates when the results roll in. 

Whether or not you attended IBS, or attended our session or not, I encourage you to find a recording of it through the IBS on-demand presentation portal. It may be your most valuable takeaway from the show.