A Quality Proving Ground

Pulte Homes of Minnesota has been a quality management star within a larger national organization that is increasingly focused on quality.

By Patrick L. O'Toole, Senior Editor | September 30, 2002
NHQ Silver
Home-Grown Quality
Customer Satisfaction and Continuous Improvement

Pulte Homes of Minnesota has been a quality management star within a larger national organization that is increasingly focused on quality.

CSMS: All Pulte divisions survey their customers via a customer satisfaction measurement system. Home buyers are queried 30 days and 12 months after closing about the overall purchase process, the mortgage and closing process, the construction process, the level of customer service and the overall experience. Pulte Minnesota has been atop the corporate heap for four years running. And on Sept. 17, Pulte Minnesota learned that it rated the highest for customer satisfaction among all Twin Cities builders as ranked by J.D. Power & Associates' first foray into the metropolitan area.

Dennison Culture Survey: Two years ago, corporate leaders selected Pulte Minnesota to be the first division to undergo an employee survey on how aligned employees are with division leadership. Dennison, which conducts the surveys for dozens of companies in many industries, came back with the highest scores it had recorded for any company in any industry. Even then, Pulte Minnesota drilled down on the results by conducting employee focus groups and looking for areas of improvement, says division president Tom Standke.

One key area of employee concern was the space leased for office staff. It was broken into three locations on the same property, requiring a cold walk across a parking lot to drop off documents, etc., in winter. So Standke accelerated a planned move to a single space by one year at additional cost.

E-Scheduling: Trade contractors and construction superintendents at Pulte Minnesota have been beta-testing an online scheduling system for the corporate office in Detroit during the past three years. The program has been refined several times as a result of input from users.

Top Gun Training: Many Pulte Minnesota management and staff members have been selected to be Top Guns, a corporate-level train-the-trainer designation involving a week of intensive coursework on The Pulte Way and discipline-specific best practices. After attending Top Gun, staffers are mandated to train others in the division.

Minnesota Business Ethics Award: In the summer of 2001, a flood severely damaged the homes of several Pulte homeowners who recently had closed. Pulte Minnesota rebuilt the homes at a cost to the company of more than $500,000, generating favorable media coverage and earning the company the 2001 Minnesota Business Ethics Award.


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