Ep.60: The Sales to Production Handoff with Mike Livingston
The handoff, turnover, passing the baton — or whatever you call it in your company — is a critical step in production. Having a well-planned, tight, organized system in place is key to a smooth-running project that ends with a happy client and healthy bottom line. As you grow, it becomes even more important — and more complicated.
So much information is gathered, discussed, sifted through, and torn apart as Sales and Design meet with the client. There are so many meetings, phone calls, emails, and discussions that it’s hard to keep straight. After the contract is signed, Sales and Design are supposed to relay all of the relevant information to production. But you need a system to make sure it happens.
In this episode, Mike Livingston talks to Tim and Steve about his company’s process, having good communication, and holding effective meetings at the handoff point.
Mike is the Production Manager with Blackdog Builders in Salem and Amherst, NH. He’s been with the company for 23 years, project managing additions, kitchens and baths. As the company has grown, he has filled the seat of Production Manager. In 2018, Mike was honored as Advisor of the Year at Shawsheen Vo-Tech where he serves on the carpentry advisory board.
Mike talks about the importance of bringing the Project Manager and Lead Carpenter into the process early. This allows them to get acquainted and comfortable with the upcoming project through a detailed binder that’s been checked for completeness. Then there are two meetings before the project kicks off. Mike talks about how they got to their current system, including:
- What a successful handoff really looks like
- Why the handoff looks different for every company
- The importance of communicating the client’s needs
- Noting existing conditions and details
- Identifying problem areas
- Tracking the cost savings
- Creating mutually beneficial systems for Sales, Design and Production
- Why questions in handoff meetings are a good thing
- How planning time saves Production time
- Creating a system that can evolve
- Using the binder system as a recruiting tool
- And more …
Having all the details straight and documented helps the handoff run smoothly, and sets the stage for running a trouble-free and efficient job.