There was something that felt more “team” about arranging our meetings this way and, as the years passed, I continuously sought out more ways to continue to nurture that atmosphere. Eventually, I evolved past those weekly, protracted subcontractor meetings to a daily huddle. If you are wondering “why huddle?” here are a few reasons…
I’ve had plenty of bad pull plan experiences over the years. Pull plans that lasted for hour and hours, pull plans that had critical trades missing, pull plans where we ran out of sticky notes. The list goes on and on. But even through all that, team members gained value from the process, and so did I. Through the lessons we have learned, below is a list of what you can do before you pull plan to make sure your pull has a better chance of running smoothly.
The reasons for this communication gap between different teams was a lack of visual communication. In our line of work, visual communication plays a critical role in our everyday operations and outcomes. It allows better trade-to-trade collaboration, leading to improved overall productivity.
Years ago, I was having a conversation with a project superintendent who was frustrated with the last planner system. He complained that his trades were not wanting to come to the daily huddles or pull plan sessions, and when they attended, they offered little to no input. He felt strongly that the problem was we didn’t have this activity noted in their contracts and if we added the stipulation in the future that they would attend. I wasn’t so sure, so I asked to attend a huddle to see for myself.
Most people don’t like meetings. And when I say most people, I’m talking about your trade partner foreman/last planners. And, why should they, these folks are busy. They have team members working in the field who need their expertise, schedules to hit, safety to monitor, and deliveries to accept.
Several years ago I started a project on a greenfield site, but my excitement for the new project was short-lived because of all the rain we were experiencing. It was early spring, and the rain just would not let up. When we finally got a break in weather, we were ready to start on earthwork—but then our contractor’s equipment broke down.
It was early on a Friday evening when a flatbed 18-wheeler, loaded up with pallets of brick, pulled up to my jobsite gates. This was early in my career, and I was tasked with locking up the jobsite for the weekend.