Figure Out Your Manpower Needs

October 10, 2005
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In addition to warehouse and vehicle space considerations, the mandate to install higher efficiency unitary products could affect your workforce needs.

For instance, we know that 13-SEER minimum unitary systems could require more warehouse coordination; there could be a need for an extra person there. Organizing the space may not be enough. You will need to keep the warehouse moving smoothly, making sure new product is put into the right place so that you don't run out of your newly found room.

You may want to get a detail-oriented person in charge of continually organizing the space. This person could also work with your distributor when it comes to coordinating the movement of stock between their warehouse and your jobsites. (Could this be a new role for the dispatcher who needs a change of pace?)

Coordinating jobs could also mean that you use more people in the shop to prefab sections of the system. You may also need to plan for the use of more sub-13-SEER replacement parts, for those customers who are not yet ready to invest in higher-efficiency systems. Could there be a role for rebuilt parts on out-of-warranty systems? It depends on your ingenuity and the skill of your staff. (Could this be an area for the service tech whose knees are giving out?)

Loading and unloading larger unitary equipment could require more people at the jobsite - at least two people where now one installer may be handling it by himself. Larger equipment could also require special lifting tools, to get unitary products on and off the truck and into the building.

You could schedule extra people at the front end of the job specifically to help with moving product into and out of a building. These could be relatively unskilled workers who are just getting into the HVAC trade. They may not have the tools or training they need to do service work, but they can certainly lend a hand when it comes to moving equipment.

Make sure that whoever is moving this newer, heavier product is trained in moving and lifting safely. Back supports, gloves, steel-tipped shoes, etc., can help keep your workers' comp costs down and keep your employees safer. Make sure back supports are worn appropriately; they don't do anyone any good if they are hanging open. And if you invest in lifting tools, make sure employees are trained in using them properly. Have employees sign off on training for safe lifting and jobsite safety.

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