By working yearly to incorporate quality improvements in the business, Grayson Homes was gradually able to close in on achieving its goals. From 1999 to last year, net sales profits increased from 3.2% to 10.8%; customer satisfaction grew from 89% to 96%; employee satisfaction rose from 89% to 100%; scores on pre-delivery inspections for defects climbed from 79.1% to 92.1%; and outstanding service issues dropped from 225 to 35.
“It’s the culture, stupid; it’s the people that matter,” McAuliffe said in describing the philosophy that turned things around.
On the employee front, the corporate overhaul started by going to business casual and providing production supervisors with shirts bearing the Grayson logo. In stages, more resources were applied to employee training and employee bonuses were tied more closely to customer satisfaction.
Other initiatives to improve employee satisfaction included profit sharing, semi-annual employee satisfaction surveys, employee of the month awards, a monthly newsletter, cross-training between departments, mid-year development reviews, a quarterly money-saving campaign, and picnics and other planned events for employees.
In a paradigm shift, review of key measures of the company’s success — including a monthly tracking board of “success drivers” behind customer satisfaction and profit enhancement — were shared with all employees, not just the company’s senior management.
Production supervisors and community sales managers are now trained together to ensure consistency in a 10-step process for customer satisfaction that includes meetings and follow-ups with customers at various phases of the home building and buying process.
All supervisors have been equipped with computers and production supervisors' offices were relocated to models, with a separate entrance on the lower level. And employees put together a compendium of some 170 company policies and procedures online. “They aren’t printed so that they are up-to-date all the time,” McAuliffe said.
A design center was opened for customers, McAuliffe said, “because we want our sales people selling homes, not options.” Option sales per house rose from $6,500 to $29,000 by last year, she reported.
The company now systematically tracks defects. Starting this year, defect tracking and prevention meetings are being held monthly with the trades.
This year, Grayson also hopes to win the Gold NHQ award.
The 11th Annual National Housing Quality awards were presented by the NAHB Research Center and Reed Business Group, publisher of Professional Builder and Professional Remodeler magazines.
[ Go to Top ]