April 2004 Update
product and production method
link: for background on this project
The WorkConservatory is designed to be a product that can be sold with multiple options to the home marketplace and installed within a two week period from sale to use. The design of the WorkConservatory, its space, features and its structure, is tightly linked to the method of manufacturing and field installation to be employed. The goal is to produce a quality environment, fully equipped and furnished, for $250,000.
This, of course, will be the basic system, and while there will be nothing wanting in this, there will be numerous options from finishes to size, to technology choices that can add to the utility of the product and it’s sale price considerably. After the WorkConservatory is on the market, new customer requirements will be treated as custom add-ons built as one-off designs and documented - a selected sub-set of these will be added to the standard option menu of the product as production volume and distribution scale and customer requirements and wants makes it sensible to do so. This way, the “line” will grow and evolve, organically, as the natural result of the “push-pull” dynamic between the producer, customer and investor networks in the WorkConservatory ValueWeb/market [link].
Certain components of the WorkConservatory including structural pieces, skin, furniture and finish items will be shop built and shipped to the site for erection and installation. Other aspects of the structure will be hand built in the field. These, however, will be done so by highly systematized protocols. No matter shop or field built, each component of the system will be a “catalog” item (which the exception of new custom pieces) and the supplier/contractor will be compensated on a fixed price basis, for completed work, when the final product is turned over to the owner and accepted.
Each phase of the work will be executed in small packages of a few field-hours duration with several phases completed and inspected on a daily basis. Site disruption will be minimal with clean-up performed at the end of each phase of work and always at the end of each day. Owner “livability” will not be unnecessarily disturbed and disruption to the owner’s life will be minimal.
Each supplier/contractor will be totally accountable for their work and the scheduling of each phase of their work. Field work will be scheduled within a tolerance of a couple of hours. A central system will track the progress of all projects with every member of the provider network capable of seeing the real-time progress and detail of all work they have responsibility for.
All field craft work will be compensated on a unit basis and each member personally accountable for their work, as well as, each team. Error, mistakes and omissions will be fixed within a proscribed time frame without additional compensation. All work will be performed according to measurable objective standards.
Sales and service roles will be compensated in the same way and will be equally accountable for their omissions and errors.
The buyer will have oversight access to this same information and contractual accountability for timely work approvals and progress payments.
The System Integrator will manage the entire process for a fixed fee per unit and work to achieve maximum quality, value and profitability for each member of each team assigned to each project, as well as, the customer and investor.
Problems arising in the entire process from sale, design, manufacturing, construction, instalation, to service will be resolved in periodic facilitated meetings the objective of which is to make everyone better at what they do not to push blame or shift burden. Revenues and profit will be transparent to the entire community. With problems, the first rule will be to keep quality and timeliness standards. The second rule will be to protect the revenue and profitability of each member of the provider network. The third rule will be to solve problems by performance improvement and innovation and to keep costs level or to lower them. The last option is to solve a problem by raising the cost of the product.
This way of building was accomplished 35 years ago in the swimming pool industry - as an integrated process from sale to post-construction service- employing paper methods, Workwalls for scheduling and Motorola wireless units in work crew trucks deployed over a 40 mile radius while building thousands a pools a year to high standards, in less than 10 days each unit, with outstanding profit margins for companies and high income for workers. Over a several year period the cost of the pools was reduced by 40% while increasing quality and customer choices from shapes to materials and equipment options. Pools were regularly finished in 22 crew hours (crews of 1 to 8) with a high level of mass customization and option variety. It can be accomplished today, in a much shorter learning time, at a lower production volume, and a much more complex and sophisticated product can be accomplished, by employing CAD, PM, financial management software and available Internet technologies [link].
It takes time to “practice” a system like this into being and it takes a fairly steady flow of business that maintains a minimum level of volume - about 4 to 8 units a month for a structure like the WokConservatory. Once a base level of work is accomplished, greater production numbers will be possible by cloning the crews at the subcontractor level. Crews will set their own production levels, thus their revenues; however, once they agree to a given number of units per time period, they have to produce this volume of work and do so within the agreed to time-window. This makes exact scheduling possible. In a system of this kind it will be seen that production windows of highest profitability will progress in a stair-step pattern. Work volumes will also tend to be seasonal. Therefore the system has to be “tuned” from sales to production to stay within the appropriate profitability sweet spots. There are various methods for doing this once the basic pattern for a geographic area is discerned. The ability to deal with volume fluctuation has to be built into the system and the systems integrator has to work to keep the entire process tuned and at mutually beneficial volume levels. This can only happen if all aspects of the system from the product itself, how it is built, the sales method, the compensation method, subtle adaptations to a regional area, the scheduling and accountability process, financing packages and the agreements with customers all work in harmony. This is total systems design and no aspect of the design can be given dominance over the other.
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Return To WorkConservatory Background
Return To post Usonian Prototypes
Matt Taylor
April 27, 2004


SolutionBox voice of this document:



posted: April 27, 2003

revised: April 29, 2004
• • •

(note: this document is about 5% finished)

Copyright© Matt Taylor 2004
Copyright© 2004 SFIA Architects - Master Builders

Aspects of work shown here are Patented by iterations and in Patent Pending

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