This installation tip was provided by Jason Trager, managing partner and founder, Sustainabilist
According to our internal data, over 30% of solar installations are quality deficient. Process improvement experts believe this leads up to 40% of capital outlays in contractor and construction businesses to wind up as waste. As the solar industry continues to mature, quality issues once overlooked could soon be the difference between success or failure. While the idea of taking on quality issues may seem daunting for already overworked operations managers, small, incremental efforts can add up to a big difference.
Step 1: Documentation and discovery
The first step on your journey should be to document your business processes. Process maps are an extremely useful tool to document existing processes. As you discuss your company’s internal workings with your team, you might be surprised to immediately discover low-hanging fruit ripe for improvement.
Step 2: Prioritization
To get the most out of your investment in quality, prioritization is key. “Cost of poor quality” calculators like Sustainabilist’s SunKaizen widget are a helpful way to identify which process errors are costing your business the most. Pareto charts provide a valuable way to rank and visualize how your improvement efforts create compounding results.
Step 3: Root cause analysis
Next, identify what’s causing your quality problems. Root cause analysis tools like the Ishikawa diagram and the “5 whys” can help structure your brainstorming. These tools allow you to dig deeper to discover what’s really causing a problem.
If your quality improvement work hits a roadblock, it might be time to phone a friend. By and large, the cost of hiring a process improvement expert pays itself back through improved quality. If hiring someone just isn’t in the budget, software solutions like the new SunKaizen platform provide small to mid-sized contractors with a digital process improvement coach that can help prioritize work.
Setting aside time to root out process problems at your organization needn’t be overwhelming. Just a little daily or weekly effort will help root out pesky problems that waste time. In the end, you’ll end up less stressed and more knowledgeable about all the finer details of your organization’s processes.