Process Improvement

Will Your Personnel Files Survive a Legal Trial with Jody McLeod – [PowerTips Unscripted] S4 E5

On this episode of PowerTips Unscripted, Jody McLeod joins the show to answer legal questions, including whether companies are set up to withstand a legal challenge. Jody discusses the best way to ensure having a complete personnel file for each employee, including documentation of conversations and key facts,  so that you can support yourself and your company during a legal trial. Jody also advises business owners to help them avoid lawsuits through a complete onboarding process and proper training for all managers.

Jody, an attorney, and former Fortune 500 legal executive is the Founder and Principal of McLeod Legal Solutions (MLS). MLS partners with business owners to protect their business during HR and employee relations disputes with direct access to litigators, employment lawyers, and legal executives from Fortune 500 companies.  Jody specializes in employment law, litigation and litigation management, compliance, investigations, and training.

Jody, Mark, and Victoria talk  more about:

  • Complete personnel files 
  • Best practices to avoid legal trial 
  • Inappropriate or incomplete personnel files 
  • And more… 

Using Kaizen to Improve Your Business with Michael Sauri [Best of PowerTips Unscripted]

In today’s episode of PowerTips Unscripted, we are featuring one of our more popular episodes. If you have topic ideas for an episode or a guest we should be interviewing, send an email to victoria@remodelersadvantage.com.  Enjoy!    

The Kaizen practice focuses on improving existing, standardized processes by eliminating waste and was first practiced in Japanese businesses after World War II.  Kaizen translates to “Change for Good,” and that can mean many great things for your growing remodeling company. The process of constant improvement, with every team member participating, allows your company to constantly raise the bar on its target metrics.  

In this episode, Victoria and Mark learn more about the Kaizen practice of process improvement by welcoming Michael Sauri, CEO of TriVista USA, to the show.

Michael and his wife Deborah started TriVistaUSA in 2005 with the goal of providing an outlet for creativity and a Ritz Carlton-level client experience. “Our Thoughtful Design Builds Fine Living,” is their mission statement and their mantra as they bring phenomenal, award-winning design to the Design/Build community in the Washington DC area.

Victoria, Mark and Michael talk more about:

  • The background of Kaizen and how TriVista got involved
  • Hiring and developing a team within the Kaizen structure
  • The differences between Kaizen and other process improvement practices
  • And More…

Why The Design-to-Production Handoff is Worth Measuring – [Powertips Unscripted] S4 E3

Today on Powertips Unscripted, Dan Hurst joins the show to discuss the handoff from design to production. Dan talks about how to define the minimum standard of completeness and quality for each function or role involved in preparing the handoff packet. Dan also discusses how to use checklists for each role to ensure that quality standards are met.

Dan Hurst is the COO and part owner of Hurst Design Build Remodel in Cleveland Ohio. Dan and his brother Pat have been a part of Roundtables since 2006. Dan was also on a panel at the 2022 summit at the Gaylord in the National Harbor.

Victoria, Mark, and Dan talk more about:

  • Team handoff meetings
  • 3 core project deliverables
  • How these core deliverables can improve standards
  • And more…….

Gauging Your Designers’ Workload Effectively With Jeff Talmadge-[PowerTips Unscripted] S4 E1

In this episode, Jeff Talmadge discusses how he and his team created a point system for his design staff to spread their workload.  Each designer is assigned a predetermined number of points, weighted by criteria such as permitting, scope, and complexity of the job.  The team tracks points weekly and has found that designers are less stressed, customers are given more accurate timelines, and production can plan their workload better.

Jeff Talmadge is the president of Talmadge Construction, a large, premium design-build firm based in Aptos, CA.  Jeff and his team pride themselves on their commitment to customer service, quality workmanship, and a strong team culture.  

Jeff’s five words of wisdom – patience, persistence, never give up.

Listen as Jeff, Victoria, and Mark discuss:

  • Increasing job satisfaction across the company by managing designer workloads
  • Improving customer service by managing expectations with accurate timelines
  • And more…

The Delicate Art of Qualifying Remodeling Leads with Chip Doyle- [Best of Powertips Unscripted]

Leads! Lead! Leads! Business is good, leads are coming in. But are you over-qualifying, under-qualifying, or doing it just right? 

Chip Doyle’s got research that says 30-60 percent of business is lost because the initial phone call is handled incorrectly. So if you’re not doing it just right, you’re leaving money behind.

In this episode, Chip’s back with Victoria and Mark to break down the best practices for lead evaluation over the phone, and what to leave for the salesperson to handle in the prospect’s home.  

Chip Doyle wrote Selling to Homeowners — The Sandler Way, a best-selling industry book, and has been offering Sandler training for 20 years. He has worked with hundreds of remodeling companies across North America — including many of our Roundtables members and RA University members, and many other RA programs.

The most fundamental mistake many remodeling companies make — especially in this hot market — is mismanaging leads over the phone. Over-qualifying leads mean you’re actually losing money, says Chip. He says the salesperson’s job is to go out and get “no”s. Getting into the home is key, but too many owners wear too many hats and don’t have enough time to devote to sales calls. The result is being too stringent during the initial phone calls. Chip talks about how to qualify your prospects the right way, including:

  • Predictive qualifying
  • How long the initial call should take
  • Who should do the qualifying
  • Training the qualifier, or LIP
  • Ensuring that the homeowner has a positive experience on that first call
  • Finding out the client’s pain points while on the phone
  • Making and confirming appointments
  • And more …

Growing a High Volume Remodeling Business with Jake Schloegel- [Best of Powertips Unscrpited]

Many remodelers dream of one day building a high-volume remodeling company. Others aren’t sure it’s worth the effort.

In this episode, we talk to Jake Schloegel about what it takes to grow a high-volume remodeling business. Why build it? Who should be involved? What are the expectations?

Jake is the Founder of Schloegel Design Remodel, an award-winning Design/Build firm in Kansas City. He started in 1980 as a one-person company and has grown it, with the help of his team, to an operation exceeding $14 million in revenue annually. The company is now managed by Jake’s son, Charlie Schlegel, and his business partner, Chris Peterson.

Jake has been a facilitator and instructor for Remodelers Advantage for years and is very active in the remodeling community, having served as president of NARI from 1990 through 1992.

Victoria, Mark, and Jake talk more about:

  • Jake’s business and what prepared him for growth.
  • Who helped Jake in building the company?
  • The key components necessary for sustainable growth.
  • Why Jake wanted to achieve high volume.
  • What Jake would do differently if he could have some do-overs.

Recession-Proofing Your Company with Dave Edwards- [Best of Powertips Unscripted]

It’s easy to be successful in a great economy. You can get away with a lot of bad habits, lack of systems, and high overhead when jobs are large and margins high. But when the economy contracts, job sizes shrink, and margins erode, those bad habits can have a huge affect on the health of your company. Focusing on the right things when times are good are key to recession-proofing your business.

In this episode, Dave Edwards talks to Victoria and Mark about the lessons he learned and the changes he made to create a healthy company following the last recession, and how that positions it to survive and even thrive in the next downturn.

Dave is the founder and president of Earth Bound Homes, a home-building and remodeling company in San Jose, CA. Before he joined Remodelers Advantage Roundtables in 2014, Dave spent 12 years learning all the different ways to not build and run a profitable construction company. 

His path to recession-proofing his company came after watching other remodelers and builders go out of business in the last recession. After his company almost went bankrupt in 2011, he joined Roundtables and also went to counseling. He talks about his path to success in business and in his personal life, and how he has built a company that can withstand an economic downturn, including:

  • His metrics for success
  • Recognizing when someone else has better ideas, and running with them
  • The Stop/Start meeting to improve the company
  • Making project management a source of income
  • Identifying bad habits and how to fix them
  • How unbilled labor can cut into your profits
  • Why he cut his field staff to boost his revenue
  • And more …

The Magic of Disney’s Customer-Service Strategies with Pete Blank – [Best of PowerTips Unscripted]

If you’ve ever visited any Disney theme park across the globe, you may think nobody does customer service and experience like Disney. Although the execution is complex, the baseline concepts are quite simple. 

In this episode, Pete Blank shares customer-service strategies from Disney with Victoria and Mark, and shows you how to apply these lessons to your remodeling company to boost your own team’s customer-service performance. 

Pete has been developing leaders and improving service levels of organizations for the past 25 years — 13 of those with the Walt Disney Co. and the past 12 in local government. He loves inspiring others with ways to enhance their organizational culture. You can learn more about Pete Blank at his website: www.peteblank.com, or on his LinkedIn page

Growing up near Disney World in Orlando, Pete says he knew he always wanted to work there. After a few years as a sportscaster in Alabama, Pete went to Florida and began working at Disney World. He, his wife and family moved back to Alabama and he took  what he saw as a temporary job in local government, where he still uses his customer-service strategies. The biggest challenges to providing outstanding customer service and experiences are speed and expectations. Technology has changed the speed and convenience with which goods and services can be delivered. You have to align your clients’ expectations with what you can actually deliver. 

Mark, Victoria, and Pete talk more about:

  • The difference between customer service and customer experience
  • How social media amplifies all experiences —good and bad
  • Making customer service part of you mission statement
  • Looking for what “above and beyond” looks like in the future
  • How emotional connections create relationships
  • How to measure your customer-service success
  • The power of follow-up surveys
  • And more …

Ep.185: Getting To An 8-Figure Remodeling Business With Ben Juncker

Special guest Ben Juncker discusses the lessons he learned and actions he took to go from a roofing employee to the owner of a multimillion dollar business and a best-selling author.  After being in business for a while and buying out his partner, he realized that profits are more important than revenue and that he needed to start looking at his business at the macro level.  He started focusing proper staffing and creating processes, which led to meaningful growth.

Ben started his company, Craftsman’s Choice, in 1998 and became a James Hardie siding contractor in 2000. Since that time Craftsman’s Choice has grown continuously to become one of the nation’s top James Hardie Remodelers, completing over 175 jobs per year. They have won James Hardie’s prestigious President’s Club award every year since its inception in 2015.

Ben, Victoria, and Mark discuss the importance of:

  • Knowing what is happening on job sites
  • Building accountability into all processes and systems
  • Leveraging technology, specifically Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools
  • And more…

Ep.131: All About LEAN and Value Stream Mapping with Dean Tompkins

Increasing efficiency is one of the easiest ways to increase your company’s profitability, and LEAN process improvement is an extremely popular direction to take for successful remodelers and builders out there.

We have discussed LEAN concepts in past episodes, including Episode 10 when we had Doug Howard on to talk about the LEAN consulting work he is doing with remodelers and builders around the country.

In this episode, Victoria and Mark look more closely at some of the aspects within the LEAN system and welcome Dean Tompkins to the show to discuss how using Value Stream Mapping can rapidly improve your business.

Dean is the Owner and Integrator for Payne & Payne Renovations and Design in Cleveland, Ohio and he, and his business partner David Payne, recently embarked on a LEAN process improvement journey.

Victoria, Mark and Dean talk more about:

  • How Payne & Payne got started with LEAN Manufacturing concepts.
  • How LEAN applies to remodeling and the custom building process.
  • Aspects of the LEAN toolbox and which ones they used.
  • How the Value Stream Mapping process went and what surprises they found.
  • What the results of the process were and whether or not they would do it again.
  • And more…

Imagine being more profitable than your competition, without having to be more expensive.

LEAN is a method of process improvement designed to simultaneously improve customer service, enhance employee morale and increase profitability — all with little or no capital investment.

Here at Remodelers Advantage we’ve taken the core principles of LEAN and developed the LEAN Remodeling System (LRS), which addresses the specific challenges facing remodeling businesses today.
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