In construction we tend to focus on savings by increasing the speed for doing something. When we complete a task faster the savings goes directly to our bid bottom line. Cutting the framing or finish package faster is an important and valid path to a better bottom line, but it is not the only path. An often overlooked path to greater profit is by improving accuracy and reducing mistakes.
None of us like to admit we make mistakes, but it does happen to even the most seasoned professionals. Two particular cases stand out in my experience, the misread tape measure and the moving stop. The first has happened to me on more than one occasion and sometimes it is my miss cut board, sometimes it is a board being supplied to me from someone else on the crew. The cost of the individual board is small compared to labor required to pull apart a door rough opening that has been nailed in place. Not only does one have the pleasure of doing the same task over again but you also can enjoy the time lost to pulling apart the framing. Satire aside this is just frustrating on the jobsite because of all the wasted time. The second case, the moving stop, is one of the more unexpected problems to have on the jobsite. I was cutting the cedar T&G for a garage door face on a miter saw stand with a lockable stop. I double checked the first two cut boards to be certain the cuts were perfect and checked the stop lock. I then proceeded to cut all the T&G for two garage doors only to find about one third of the way through the installation of the first door that the stop had moved. This meant that I was provided the opportunity to purchase all that cedar again and repeat the cuts. When making repetitive cuts like that one mistake can be carried through a large number of cuts and result in significant costs.
In both of the above cases there was a better way. A display of the cut length in an easy to read format would have helped eliminate the mistake. In the first case seeing the numerical value in a clear fraction format instead of misreading a series of lines on the tape would have caught the problem during the cut so the incorrect trimmer would never have been installed. In the second case, a real time display of the cut length would have shown that the stop had moved.
The upside of these types of mistakes is that Correct Cut (www.correctcut.com) was developed. Correct Cut helps eliminate expensive mistakes on the jobsite while allowing more accurate cuts to be made faster. In my next blog posting I will discuss the advantages of increased accuracy and how that can improve your bottom line.