Frontline Creativity in Construction

S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting and effective communication consistently result in a 10-15% productivity boost in heavy civil construction. At Crewscope, we have first-hand proof of that with our customers over and over again. However, these outcomes hinge on setting the right goals and securing crew buy-in.

One crucial insight we’ve gleaned is the reservoir of creativity among frontline workers. This potential is unleashed when workers are motivated and feel ownership of their results.

It’s not uncommon to encounter management attitudes that undervalue a crew’s creative capacity. Sentiments like, “I don’t pay you to think… I pay you to show up and do as you’re told” harken back to an outdated mindset. Such a stance fails to leverage the strengths of a highly engaged team. The most successful and appealing crews foster a trust-based relationship with their management. This mutual trust ensures the crew takes ownership of their work’s quality and safety, allowing them to flourish as the experts they are.

The tales of these crews’ ingenuity are truly inspiring. Here are a couple of recent anecdotes:

Efficiency in Concrete Formwork: Another crew was constructing concrete walls for a fuel terminal’s pump housing structure. After setting and tracking their weekly targets, a striking 45% productivity jump between weeks 3 and 4 was observed. The key? The crew identified that they could shift the concrete forms into larger sections without complete disassembly due to the wall segments’ similarity. This innovation considerably cut down on time and allowed them to exceed their targets significantly.

NorCan Fuel Supply Terminal construction site

Innovation Amidst Groundwater Challenges: In Aurora, north of Toronto, a crew was tasked with installing stormwater pipes in an area with notable groundwater challenges. After setting their weekly target, the crew observed the recurrent challenge of waterlogged trenches every morning. Addressing this issue meant a daily delay of around two hours to pump out the water. Their solution? Rigging pumps to water sensors to operate overnight, ensuring dry trenches by morning. This creative fix resulted in a 15% labor savings.

So, what’s holding other crews back from such field innovations? Two factors, both under your purview:

  • Motivation: Crews need to understand that outstanding performance translates to greater personal benefits. This could range from profit-sharing, variable pay, or even straightforward acknowledgment and praise.
  • Trust: Leaders must instill trust in their workers, ensuring they maintain their work’s quality and safety. Moreover, they should share the broader project vision with them. Conversely, workers need to trust that they’re part of a united team aiming for shared victories. We’ve observed how a divisive “us vs. them” culture can stifle creativity.

Harnessing frontline creativity isn’t just about encouraging out-of-the-box thinking. It’s about fostering an environment where trust, motivation, and shared ownership thrive. As we navigate the evolving landscape of construction, it becomes evident that tapping into the collective intelligence of our crews is not merely a bonus – it’s essential. By valuing and nurturing this resource, we pave the way for more efficient, innovative, and harmonious workspaces. Let’s move beyond the old paradigms and embrace the immense potential that lies within our teams.

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GIP saved 13% on labor costs

GIP saved 13% labor costs

GIP saved 13% on labor costs using Crewscope during excavation at 4800 Yonge in Toronto. The dig was complex because the TTC

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