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10 Steps to Save Money in Precast Production

precastThe best way to save money is to sometimes not spend it at all. For instance, finishing and patching of concrete after production can most likely be reduced by following some very simple steps and taking action to prevent mistakes and handling issues.

There are times when we all feel the pressure to skip steps either in production, finishing or storage that can or may cause potential problems. It is best not to succumb to these temptations as they will eventually come back to haunt you. Heading off potential crisis starts in sales and estimating by figuring out the best way to produce and allow the correct amount of time for the project.

With the correct allotment of time evaluated for each project, the individual tasks can be planned and executed with precision and quality. Then if the unexpected happens, decisions can be made quickly to solve them. Establishing a good system of checks for pre-pour and post-pour with accurate reporting is essential in maintaining higher standards of quality. Only by knowing what the issues are can you fix them before they impact the project milestones.

Things as simple as leaky forming rails can affect the overall look of your product. Those leaky forming rails can consume the precious time of the patch workers when it could be fixed at form set up. Pressure to get the product out of production and into the yard for finishing and storage is also a place where damage can occur. By not providing or thinking ahead on how to handle a fabricated piece, corners and edges can become chipped or damaged, requiring patching.

Using the correct stripping device correctly can be the difference between a broken piece and one without any flaws. Providing the correct cushioning material is something that is often overlooked until needed. It then becomes a scramble to get something that will work. Have the cushioning material ready ahead of time to prevent the chips and damage that come from setting a piece down incorrectly.

When damage occurs, resources are consumed and schedules modified to fix them. If you are working, as most of us are, with tight budgets and limited manpower, then delivery commitments may be affected. Unscheduled interruptions put a strain on the system, and there is no time to fix it. The temptation here is to ship the product without it being properly corrected. Sometimes, this happens when the damage is discovered as the piece is removed from storage for loading.

It is better not to ship a product that is not up to quality standards. But do not let quality be an excuse for being late on a project. Always plan your work, and then work your plan. Most customers are forgiving if you miss a deadline or delivery date if you keep them informed of the progress, but shipping a product that is substandard is a good way to give your competition the edge to step in a take your market share. If you are going to be late on a project or even suspect it, let your customer know and then do everything humanly possible to meet your original deadline or shipping date. This is good business, and it pays in the end.

10 steps to reduce costs for finishing and repair

  1. Plan your work so as to meet deadlines and delivery schedules. Think ahead, most problem areas can be designed out of the project before they can become problems.
  2. Think how you will fabricate, cast, store and deliver product when you estimate the project.
  3. Inspect forms prior to casting for accuracy and fit.
  4. Repair or adjust forms so that there is no leakage around corners and under form rails.
  5. Make sure form surfaces are free of defects; smooth, repair or replace surface if necessary.
  6. Use the correct form release agent for the type of form to prevent air voids.
  7. Vibrate using the proper equipment and method for the form and product.
  8. Do not over vibrate.
  9. Inspect all lifting devices for safety and capacity. Use the correct lifting device for the job.
  10. Protect your work during stripping and handling by using the proper cushioning material for transport out of the production area, in storage and during shipping. Always work safe, and plan how to secure your product during all phases of the fabrication, stripping, finishing, storage and delivery.