In the Sunday morning session, “How the Use of a Lesser Skilled Workforce Has Impacted the Industry,” Dr. Heather Moore and Dr. Perry Daneshgari, both with MCA, Inc., tackled the issue of why and how to measure whether or not your lesser-skilled employees (i.e., CWCEs and apprentices) are being used effectively to increase productivity and ultimately your company’s bottom line.
According to Moore, using less-skilled (and thus lower paid) workers can lead to three results:
- Cost reduction through reducing composite rate
- Higher quality through externalized work
- Market share gains through increased capacity at lower cost.
But achieving these results is easier said than done. The first step Moore recommended is to have your foreman create a work breakdown structure (WBS). The WBS doesn’t have to be fancy, and there’s no template for one. In fact, the WBS Moore showed the audience was hand drawn.
“The most important point to remember about the WBS is that the finer you break the work process down, the more you can reduce your composite rate,” Moore said. “The trick is to get your foreman to do it [the WBS]. This way, you’re using your highly skilled workers’ brains to figure out the best way to use your lesser-skilled workforce’s hands.”
Tasks such as materials handling and preparation (for example, receiving materials at the jobsite, moving materials to the installation area, unpacking materials, etc.) and project completion (such as labeling and clean up) are a few smart ways to employ lesser-skilled employees.
Moore and Daneshgari ended the discussion by listing how the results of using lesser-skilled workers can be tracked, which include composite rate trends and short interval scheduling for daily tasks, goals and resource needs.
"It doesn't make financial sense to use your highly skilled workers to perform jobs your lesser-skilled workforce can do," Moore said.