Process for productivity

January 30, 2017 -  By
Checklist A “job sequencing” checklist ensures landscape maintenance crews perform consistently.

A “job sequencing” checklist ensures landscape maintenance crews perform consistently.

Weekly landscape maintenance checklists help crews do their jobs consistently and efficiently.

While all clients’ properties are different, the way they’re serviced should be the same every time. At least that’s the mantra at U.S. Lawns. The $170-million commercial grounds care franchise business headquartered in Orlando, Fla., stresses the importance of its weekly “job sequencing” process, which is a checklist maintenance crews use when they arrive at a property to ensure the job is done consistently and efficiently.

“It’s a procedure designed to drive consistent service,” says Brandon Moxam, director of brand development for U.S. Lawns. “It’s about consistently delivering what we have promised to the customer and properly defining the expectation for our crews to deliver on that promise.”

The company’s job sequencing process begins with a map of each property to help create a clear picture for crews. The customer reviews the process during the first site visit, and it’s communicated to crew leaders during training sessions. U.S. Lawns also keeps the checklist inside each truck so it can be referenced at any time. Moxam says the checklist has to be something simple that crews can understand and follow regardless of their experience level.

Along with consistency, checklists drive productivity and profitability.

Along with consistency, checklists drive productivity and profitability.

“We may have new crew members come on board throughout the season or have different crews pick up jobs because of scheduling issues,” he says. “We have the process documented and kept accessible on the truck so anyone can do the job at any given time.”

For the process to be effective, Moxam says crews also should review it before the start of each workday. He adds that the steps can also help improve processes and procedures in other areas of the business.

“There is productivity gained through this,” Moxam says. “And the more productive our crews are, the more profitable the business is.”

U.S. Lawns crews adhere to the following steps during weekly commercial maintenance visits:

  • Ensure the truck is parked in an appropriate area.
  • Determine where the irrigation controllers are located. “Controllers are not always visible from the outside and may be located inside the building for secure access,” Moxam says.
  • Identify potential safety hazards on the property, such as holes or other trip hazards and broken tree branches or low-hanging limbs. “We want to reduce liability issues and ensure we’re creating a safe environment for our crews, our customers and our customers’ customers,” Moxam says.
  • Note high-priority areas. “These are areas the customer has indicated are important to them, such as the entrance to a building or another high-traffic area,” Moxam says. “This information is uncovered during the sales process.”
  • Designate each crew member to a specific task.
  • Review necessary equipment and ensure the right items are on the truck.
  • Determine the order of the tasks to be performed. “This is where you have a great opportunity to pick up efficiencies on the job site,” Moxam says.
  • Begin with detail work, such as debris removal and weed control. “Once guys get on the equipment, it’s difficult to get them to slow down and do the detail work because they just want to get to the next job site.

Photos: U.S. Lawns

This article is tagged with , and posted in Featured, January 2017, Mowing+Maintenance

About the Author:

Emily Schappacher is a freelance writer based in Cleveland.

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