Builders Prepare for Upturn by Managing Quality
During today’s slow housing market, the NAHB Research Center is advising builders to take a hard look at the way they have always conducted their business and consider changes in preparation for the inevitable cyclical return to more prosperous times.
Quality management is the single-most effective area where most builders can make changes to improve their businesses, according to Frank Alexander, director of the Research Center’s National Housing Quality (NHQ) Program.
“Just as automobile buyers began demanding higher levels of quality several years ago, forcing automakers to approach business from a totally different perspective, American home buyers are tired of having to deal with warranty departments and service technicians,” Alexander writes in the latest issue of Quality Matters, the e-newsletter of the NHQ Program.
“Builders with a formal quality management system, such as those who have achieved NHQ Certification, have processes in place that are designed specifically for each line of business that will guide the organization through the ups and downs associated with home building operations,” according to Alexander.
“The first step,” he says, “is taking a critical look at your organization and what you are currently doing that is consistent or inconsistent with formalized qualify management program requirements and customer expectations. The next step is evaluating and changing those areas where you are falling short.
“But you cannot cause a change to occur without first creating an atmosphere for change. Then, the solution comes from knowing what to change — a program like NHQ can lay the groundwork for you. The techniques espoused to infuse your organization with quality management principles are simple — it’s not rocket science. It will, however, require a commitment within your organization to make this a reality.”
Alexander says that hundreds of companies from coast to coast — including builders, suppliers and trade partners — can attest to the value of a formalized, documented quality management system to their organizations.
“Begin preparing for the future housing market upturn we know is on the horizon,” he advises. “All it takes is a little change.”