This week I was on a mission to purchase sneakers. I am a loyal consumer to a brand known for their technological innovations and superior performance. Given their extensive product line, I sought to narrow my choice by reading online customer reviews. What I learned was interesting, and a problem not unfamiliar to the residential construction industry: they lost control of their quality.
Many customers on different websites reported the same issue. Sneakers manufactured in China fit true-to-size. Sneakers manufactured in Vietnam and Indonesia ran up to one full size too small—even worse, sizing was inconsistent. As a result, new customers couldn’t understand the brand’s hype, and longtime customers felt disappointed, almost betrayed. Brand reputation suffered, not because their product development process produced a new product with bad features. Instead, a well-loved product was suffering because certain manufacturing plants were unable to produce a sneaker with consistent specs.
My sneaker parable may seem far afield from residential construction. Yet our experience here at Home Innovation Research Labs tells us it is not. Sometimes industry-related companies can gain market share by bringing a new, innovative product to market. (Our product development lifecycle experts can help with that.) But equally important, maybe even more important, is continuing to bring your current successful product(s) to the market while guaranteeing the highest quality throughout the supply chain. You think it's expensive to acquire a new customer? Re-acquiring a lost customer costs 3-5 times more. Fortunately, Home Innovation has several ways that we can help you maintain superior quality whether you are a builder, a trade contractor, or a supplier.
For builders, one of our most accessible and affordable quality management services is the NGBS Green Certified program. Most builders believe that consumers value the benefits that accrue with green homes. We also know that 71% of NGBS Green Certified homebuyers surveyed reported that they believe that green homes are, overall, of higher quality than non-green, code-minimum homes—and 94% of those homebuyers would recommend an NGBS Green Certified Green home.
For a home to successfully attain NGBS certification, the builder and all of the trades must embed green, high-performance building practices into the design, site development, and construction processes. Every NGBS home is subject to two independent, third-party verifications. Such verification ensures a high level of rigor and quality assurance to the green projects that are certified.
Another service available for builders, trade contractors, or suppliers is our Home Innovation Quality Certified program. To be eligible, a building company must have developed and implemented a formal quality management system that meets our Quality Certified Builder requirements. Similarly, trade contractors that wish to receive the Home Innovation Quality Certified mark must have developed and implemented a formal quality management system that meets either the Quality Certified Trade Contractor or Quality Certified Service Provider requirements. Participants in these programs routinely report increased customer satisfaction, reduced call backs, improved construction quality, and improved bottom line.
Construction is one-of-a-kind production: the fabrication and assembly of a highly complex product, involving dozens of independent businesses (i.e., trade partners) having the potential to affect your product's performance. All of these factors and more make it more difficult for builders and building product suppliers to manage quality and costs. As Warren Buffet cautions, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Your reputation (and your bottom line) depend on you getting all these independent businesses coordinated to build it right the first time—every time.
Home Innovation has tools that can help you. Besides our certification program, our quality experts are available to help builders, trade contractors, and suppliers create practical quality management systems specifically designed for each trade. We'll work with you to develop important job ready/job complete standards for managing the hand-off from one trade professional to another—permanent solutions to recurring “hot spots,” designed to eliminate the key systemic issues that compromise quality.
We'll help you build a quality system that will safeguard your hard-earned reputation.***