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All a-board

  • SIMA
- Posted: September 1, 2015

By Domenic Chiarella

Do you know if you will be able to complete all of your work during snow events? If I told you that you can know before the season even starts whether your company can complete pretty much any snow event under 15 inches, would you believe me?

It’s possible if you implement the use of capacity boards to help you understand the capacity and recourses of your company’s labor, equipment, tools, and materials before the season starts.

Capacity boards help keep the sales and production departments informed on all of the resources in the organization. Selling too many contracts and promising to produce work that the company will not be able to deliver is certainly the quickest way to incite chaos during the season.

Types of capacity boards
There are five main capacity boards, examples of which are shown below:

Truck/Equipment Boards describe the number and types of equipment the company has for each snow event. The board gives the production department what it can produce with the number of trucks, types of plows, large equipment, and smaller equipment. When production knows what it can produce, then the sales department can safely sell the right amount. 

Subcontractor Boards will clearly lay out the subcontractor workforce that will be part of your team (obviously this board isn’t required if you don’t use subs). Knowing the capacity of their labor and equipment will give production and sales an idea of how much and what type of work they can produce and sell.

Employee Capacity Boards identify how many labor hours are available and their qualifications. The company needs to know which employees can drive, plow, manage, or operate large equipment. This knowledge will guide sales and production on the type and amount of work they can perform.

Material Boards track what ice control materials you have in stock, housed at other locations or on order. Each site, with the lot and sidewalk measurements, has a rough estimate of material it will need per event. The material board shows the company what materials it has as well as how much it needs at any time during a snow season.
Site Boards are the king of the capacity boards. This board shows us our capacity needs for trucks, equipment, man hours, and material. The site boards are divided into two sections: area service boards and the route boards.  

After every sale, production should receive a signed contract and a parameter sheet. You post the name of the site, the hours it will take to plow the lot, shovel walks, and the material needed for an event. Each signed snow contract is posted to the appropriate service zone. At any given moment, production can estimate the total hours of plowing and shoveling that is needed. 

Capacity boards can be created electronically (spreadsheet) or be handwritten (white boards). I happen to be partial to large erasable 8 x 4 white boards that can hang in the production room. 

Capacity boards guide the company. This reduces a lot of headaches because you will now know exactly what you can produce and what you can sell. It also helps identify any production bottlenecks and where you need to increase capacity in order to grow your company. 

Capacity 2
Capacity 1

Domenic Chiarella is founder and CEO of 7 of 7 BEST Business and Life Strategies, LLC, and is a member of the Snow Business Editorial Advisory Committee.

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