The plan of tomorrow meeting (POT Meeting) is a central element in the E Light Way and lean construction implementation for E Light Electric Services. Many contractors use plan of the day meetings to determine what tasks each crew is going to accomplish during the shift and to coordinate crews. At E Light Electric we believe that this meeting can be much more effective if it is held the day before the shift so that everything can be made ready for the crews in advance of their arrival for the days work.
We base the E Light Way on three very basic principals:
1. No crew can complete 100% of any task unless they have 100% of the tools, information and materials required for the task.
2. It is the complete responsibility of the management and supervision on the project to provide 100% of the tools, information and materials for the crews.
3. Preplanning, prefabrication and pre-coordination are the most effective methods to provide the crews with 100% of the tools, information and materials.
ALL POT meetings are to be attended by the manager or supervisor that is in charge of managing safety on the site.
The safety manager is to remain in the meeting throughout the meeting. The purpose of their attendance is two fold:
1. They are to start every POT meeting with a safety moment that it relevant to what his happening on the site.
2. They are to listen and engage on the tasks that are being performed to ensure that the foreman has written a JHA for the task, that it is adequate and to make sure they understand upcoming safety needs, special equipment, etc.
The person responsible for Quality is to attend the POT meeting as well and is to review the daily quality reports with the supervision and management on the site.
MAN MINUTES AND THE USE OF TIME ON THE PROJECT
Every person on a project is being paid from the time they start to the end the day, with the exception of one 30 minute lunch period. Every minute they are on the project there is a cost to the project. This cost is irrelevant if it is in line with the budget of the project and so long as the cost is at least equal to the value of production received from the minutes of work. We break every man minute into three classifications:
1. Primary Time
2. Planning Time
3. Lost Time
Primary time is time spent performing direct installation of the electrical system. This includes the time spent moving material on the site two times. The first time is when unloading the material and moving it to a storage area and the second time is moving the material to an installation area.
Planning time is time spent reading blueprints, laying out an installation, providing crew briefings, and stretch and flex
Lost time is time moving material more than two times, looking for tools, finding material, etc.
The budget for a project includes some planning time and of course primary time for installations. Lost time is not calculated into the budget. One of the keys of lean construction and of the E Light Way is to attempt to find lost time occurrences and re-planning occurrences to remove them from the day. Lost time and re-planning adds no value to the project and the goal of every person on the project should be to make as much of the time they spend in a day as possible be time that adds value to the project.
A common practice in construction is for a supervisor to plan out his project and then order materials for the installation. The supervisor has to determine how conduit is to be run, panels mounted, etc and then develop a material order to coincide with that plan. Many times this plan is stored in the supervisors head and not written down in a detailed installation plan. Re-planning is time spent by more than one person planning the same installation. This is primarily caused when a superintendent or supervisor has planned out an installation then keeps that plan to himself. This happens frequently in construction. Plans are developed but not communicated to the crew. Therefore the crew will plan the installation again and this time they may chose different material to make the installation. Then the material hunt begins because it was not the material that was ordered by the superintendent. This leads to lost time which all began with re-planning time.
The E Light way is to write down these plans in installation plans. The installation plan should include the material needed to provide the installation, the information needed to make the installation, the process for the installation and the tools needed to provide the installation. Do not assume anything when writing an installation plan. Make it so that everyone can understand exactly what you what them to do and the step by step process that you want them to take. Eliminate the confusion and the misunderstandings. It should also include the material and tool staging areas. In this way, the supervisors plan can be communicated to the crew in writing and no one on the crew has to re-plan the process. The supervisor should also include his expectations on the plan so that the crew understands how long they have to accomplish the task or how many they are expected to install in a shift.
The last step of the installation plan process is to periodically "Stand in the Circle." This is a term we have borrowed from the Toyota Way meaning for a supervisor to go and see for himself what is happening on the front line of the installation. We have instituted a STOP (See,Think of Options and Perfect) observation card system and we expect all of our supervisors to observe at least one crew or task per week and make observations about the performance of the task being observed. The supervisor should ask the foreman for his installation plan when he starts the observation and then quietly observe the crews during the installation.
Watch for the following:
1. Is the crew following the installation plan?
2. Try to assign primary time, planning time and lost time to each member of the crew. (...I try making a chicken scratch every time I observe a crew member doing re planning time or lost time.)
3. Observe the quality of the installation.
4. Is the crew performing the task safely?
5. Does the installation meet the supervisors standards?
Once the supervisor has observed the crew for a time, gather them all together and discuss the observations with them and get their feedback. Have an open discussion and then make adjustments to the installation plan based on that feedback. I did not add "if needed" into that last sentence intentionally. If we are using the STOP observation and standing in the circle correctly and leading our crews correctly they will always come up with some better ways to do every task, every time.
The Plan of Tomorrow meeting is a critical piece in the effective installation of our product. It is the most important item that the management team of a project does every day. The plan of tomorrow meeting is a meeting that should last no more than 1 hour and a half at first and soon be pared down to a shorter period of time. Typically it can be done in 30 to 45 minutes depending on the crew size and how efficient the construction manager is at leading a good, productive meeting. The meeting should be conducted either mid morning or mid afternoon every day. The latest it should be conducted is 2 hours before quitting time. The meeting should be attended by the superintendent or construction manager, all of the foremen and or lead men that report directly to the superintendent or construction manager, the safety lead and the logistics lead. It is best to have a dry erase board on the wall with the following columns for small crew size projects such as 20 people or less:
Crew Task Goal Actual Notes
The meeting should start with a safety moment that pertains to the project
The superintendent should then had out a copy of the current weeks look ahead schedule, either three week or six week depending on the project.
LARGE, FAST PACED PROJECTS
For large projects involving more than 20 men, the construction manager should have an entire schedule for the project completed using the E Light Electric schedule tracker. The schedule tracker has all of the columns listed above built into it. You can then use a large screen computer monitor and eliminate the white board. This has the advantage of looking at the entire schedule, being able to make changes as needed, and tracking the completion of the project as you go. It also gives you and corporate the ability to know what needs to be done, where you are and where you are going. The project engineer should sit in the meeting to run the computer and update the schedule as it is reported in the meeting. We need to ensure that we are carefully tracking what every person on a large project is assigned to do We also need to remember that on large projects, the labor risk is enormous. We cannot run these projects with three and six week schedules. We have to have full completion schedules so that we can accurately track our labor.
For every place below that we write about using a white board, substitute the schedule tracker for these type projects.
The superintendent or construction manager should stand at the white board and go around the room to ask each of his lead men what their crews will be doing tomorrow and the number of persons that will be assigned to the task. He will then write that information under Crew and Task columns. Next he will ask them what their expected goal for the crew is for tomorrow. This can be in number of feet of pipe, rooms roughed, panels hung, panels made up, etc. Please keep in mind, the goal number has to be a goal that is attainable but also has to match what you need to hit for the day in order to complete the project on schedule. You and your team have to lead the project, not let the project lead you.
If your teams are able to hit their goals, DO NOT FALL INTO THE TRAP THAT THEY NEED MORE MEN.
First, go out and observe, research, think, be creative and find ways to help them achieve their goals. That is leadership.
The superintendent will then go back and look at every item on the board, start at the top and ask the following four questions of the foreman for each task:
1. Do you have 100 percent of the materials for this task?
2. Do you have 100 percent of the tools for this task?
3. Do you have 100 percent of the information for this task? ( Is the installation plan written and ready to go?)
4. Is the JSA (Job Safety Analysis) written for this task?
GET A VERBAL RESPONSE ON EACH ITEM> EACH AND EVERYONE.
I CAN NOT STRESS ENOUGH THE IMPORTANCE OF GOING THROUGH THIS EXERCISE FOR EVERY SINGLE TASK, EVERY DAY.
Have them think it through, commit to it and follow through. It is our job to provide the tools, information and material to the crews so that they can do their jobs. If you are relying on them telling you when they are getting low on an item, then you are failing as a supervisor or manager at the most base level of your responsibilities to the crew.
If the answer to any of the above questions is "no" then the task requires either a plan to get the missing item before the shift starts tomorrow or a reassignment of the task. This is critical. Do not just acknowledge that you do not have everything you need and move on. Everyone that is key to getting what you need is in the room and it should be resolved BEFORE you all leave the room. Don't put it off until later.
This is the process for the first day. After the first day, the superintendent will follow the same process, except there will be a new first step which will be to go over all the tasks from the day before and find out from the leads the actual quantities achieved and the actual number of persons that were used to complete the task. Once the quantities are filled in, go back and determine how many crews accomplished their goal and how many didn't. Make sure you determine why the crews didn't make it and don't accept the easy and first answer.
Ask WHY at least five times and see if you can get to the real cause of the issue and then remove that obstacle.
ALL OF THE DATA RECORDED ON THE WHITEBOARD NEEDS TO BE TRANSFERED TO THE DAILY REPORTING FORM AND SENT TO CORPORATE EACH DAY BY NO LATER THAN 3:30 PM DENVER TIME.
IF YOU ARE USING THE SCHEDULE TRACKER THIS IS DONE AS YOU GO THROUGH THE MEETING.
In a future training module we will detail this reporting process.
The superintendent should calculate the percent planned complete everyday at this point. This is a percentage of the number of planned tasks that were completed according to the goal established. So if there were 10 tasks on the board form the day before and seven of those crews reached their goal and three did not then the percent planned complete is 70%. Note this has nothing to do with percent complete. Percent complete is a measure of the amount of work completed. Percent planned complete is instead a measure of the effectiveness of the supervisors planning and leadership.
Construction is an imperfect process. The superintendent should not be expecting 100 percent planned complete (PPC). In fact a consistent 100 percent is bad. It means the supervisors are under planning or padding for better results in the meeting. A PPC of about 80 percent is a good PPC. The PPC is a great flag for project managers. The PMs should ask for the PPC to be reported to them daily. Viewing the PPC and watching the trends can alert the PM to issues that need to be researched very quickly
The installation plan and the POT meeting guidelines are printed in the back of the E Light pocket notebook for reference as well as the three types of time.
Ted " Smitty" Smith