Understanding Supply Chains: How Suppliers Operate – Part 1

Discover the innovative journey of mature companies navigating change for sustained success. Join Wayne Crabtree and Bob Snyder in exploring groundbreaking approaches to production system optimization. Gain insights into transforming traditional practices and building resilience in the construction industry.

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Wayne Crabtree and Bob Snyder, industry leaders, delve into the intricate dynamics of mature companies and their strategies for sustained success amidst evolving practices. The symposium focuses on the question of why change a successful approach, emphasizing the need for adaptability in the face of industry transformations. Wayne Crabtree highlights the importance of inquisitiveness and innovation, drawing from his experiences in translating change throughout his career.

Bob Snyder’s involvement in the innovative journey is characterized by a commitment to productizing projects, exemplified by a unique approach to designing and engineering products. The discussion explores various aspects, from inventory control to the challenges of navigating a complex matrix organization. Detailed insights into production system optimization, involving concepts like Product Production Control (PPC), provide valuable lessons for specialty contractors seeking to make a difference.

The presentation addresses challenges in change management, emphasizing the significance of protecting valuable ideas within collaborative partnerships. The matrix organization structure, shared by Bob Snyder, offers a unique perspective on project touchpoints and the importance of technology integration. As the symposium unfolds, the speakers share practical experiences and lessons learned, contributing to a comprehensive understanding of the construction industry’s evolving landscape.


[00:00:00] Wayne Crabtree: The company obviously has a legacy of some close to 86 years. Anybody in construction here that is a construction company? How old are your cartons? Active, very much. Active? 89. 89? 60. 60? 50 years. Right, so we’re talking about mature companies, aren’t we? You survived because you got some pretty poor practices that have actually undergirded your success.

[00:00:29] Wayne Crabtree: So the question is, why would you want to change success?

[00:00:37] Wayne Crabtree: So it’s just, I’m like, yes, the industry’s changing, and what was good yesterday is no longer good for that. And so this, the let’s just say, the company has evolved over the period of, I imagine that in, in representing Bob, I have never seen a more innovative person in my life, I think, as far as an industry.

[00:01:00] Wayne Crabtree: Yes, several businesses. He has an incubator for ingenuity, right? He’s got several patented products that he’s been working on. So it’s, it’s an inquisitive nature, right, to what’s sustainable in the future that got in. And so when I received that poll it was simply saying, are you interested in helping me find this journey?

[00:01:25] Wayne Crabtree: And I said, well, go down to Cal Poly, we do some classes down there. And get your team there so that, you know, at least you get an introduction to the, to the concept and then the rest of this history a little bit because at the end of that little. Or a session, strategic session, I had a job. That kind of thing, yeah, I’d agree.

[00:01:46] Wayne Crabtree: But let me tell you what jobs are. Alright, so I’m coming to you. My job is always focused in translating change. Whether it was a contractor, whether I worked for Chevron, right? And even within Chevron, it was always an episode where we replaced some component of the company and making it more sustainable.

[00:02:06] Wayne Crabtree: Well, by the time I retired, I was, I was done. Translation. It was all for being bad, right? So when I got that call, I was not ready for it. Anyway, so this was a way to uncool it. And let me finish that thought so you lay in it, and I can move on. There’s someone yesterday from Enson, a retired guy, that sat there in a training session and says, and he says, I looked at my peers who are retired.

[00:02:35] Wayne Crabtree: I realize that they’re dying because they don’t have an inquisitiveness about the work. Work with Augustine, right? So. It just reinforced why I’m signed up on this. It’s very frustrating, by the way. This is a list of the customers. Very traditional owners who are doing advanced work today. Certainly with cancer research and with COVID and the innovative diseases.

[00:03:02] Wayne Crabtree: There’s always an innovation part in a big part of the world. So this is the host of customers that I can work for. At the end of that session with Todd, and by the way, you haven’t really got the full treatment of Todd, unless you’ve been told off. So, I, I, I really want you to test this patient so he can tell you off good, right?

[00:03:26] Wayne Crabtree: I had, I’ve had a series of being told off in my journey since meeting. This is the Big Yellow Champions in 2013, 2012. So, I’ve enjoyed it every way and I’ve been different. Of course, I’m still learning, by the way. I know everything. This is the result of that specific session with the determination that Vinci was going to be the company that changed the way the world builds.

[00:03:54] Wayne Crabtree: Pretty rapacious, right? So, what does that mean? Well, you can read this. And you should actually review it. We focused on a current situation that we can embrace, as our planning is optimistic about nothing. I sound very similar to everybody through it. So what did we do, right? And you’ve heard about how do you structure a production system to be more resilient, like the Network Igniter, to navigate the matrix.

[00:04:26] Wayne Crabtree: Well, you don’t navigate the matrix, you invade the matrix. And it finally, if I had achieved it, I could implode the matrix, because That system needs to go down. I’m going to share that it’s so different to a special contractor. My appeal is to those others in the room. Here’s a story of a specialty contractor that wants to make a difference.

[00:04:48] Wayne Crabtree: And he’s hiking through the matrix. And it’s going to be a little bit of a cry for help. I need some support out there to help you make this journey. I slipped it when I was first speaking to the BISC team. I said, you know it’s astonishing. That you will see, you know, as a vision such as the Lombardy’s declared.

[00:05:10] Wayne Crabtree: Since at Sherbrooke, we were desperate to find comp factors that would have a clue. And I’m not talking about you know, social managers. I’m talking about the guys that do work. Do actually do physical work. Those specialists out there that I know are out there doing the work that But they’re gummed up in the matrix and they’re not seen or visible to it.

[00:05:33] Wayne Crabtree: So we actually talked about how do we make Oracle a central thing in this transition. We’re not focused on building on them, you won’t make a difference. So I’m going to share just quickly go through some what we did. As far as deployments, some are good, some are instructive. Any political op to do that.

[00:05:58] Wayne Crabtree: I’ll talk about another one. I’ll have a talk about the production system optimization. And I’ll show the rest of the commentary. By the way, do I need to explain the throughput and this metal level production system? Pretty self evident, right? You get an opportunity, you need to design what private as that opportunity is.

[00:06:20] Wayne Crabtree: You need to build the widgets and material that are associated with it, and you need to install that, right? You need to commission a BNR code. Pretty straightforward. Of course, simplicity is the curse in complexity. Everybody’s been saying, you know, don’t employ complexity. Make it visible. I said this in my first API symposium.

[00:06:46] Wayne Crabtree: If you try to simplify complexity, you come up with something more profound, which is simplexity. Which is worse than what you started out with. Alright, so, make complexity visible. You can’t control what’s not visible. Okay, so we try to make it visible at the meta level. I’ll, I’ll, this excursus on number one was a passion that Bob had about designing product and designing process.

[00:07:13] Wayne Crabtree: You have unintended consequences relative to the pace of deployment of the speed. Yeah, but I wanna uphold the passion. He had the guys in the room here known how to productize, a project right? Know how to standardize how to, how to optimize those standards in a way that’s repeatable, right? By design locks all enabled with that.

[00:07:37] Wayne Crabtree: He’s an indenture and so he wanted to get to, how do I productize product? My project, in the form of spools and racks and connectors, piece of equipment, so I could actually have a library of the bill of processes to actually be the script that we could model and run out there. He’s a very fast and aggressive thinker.

[00:08:03] Wayne Crabtree: I’m 80 years old. So there’s a, for an individual, this is a change leadership on it here. So you need good leadership. In order to affect science, correct? But you also need structure and process, along with people, to be involved so that you end up in something that people have actually formed to do the discipline that technology allows, right?

[00:08:33] Wayne Crabtree: So, working in a different environment but have trained ability to do that, right? So, anyway, I’m talking to you long enough that the the preacher kicked in and I apologize. So, as long as Oh, it’s really quick, I was just going to comment that Gary did want to hook you up to the electrical shock thing.

[00:08:51] Wayne Crabtree: We thought that wouldn’t be appropriate. I said that it was used by off the Shogun. Shock well, I was introduced to shock too, by the, self assessors. I’ll just say the unintended consequence was all this design assistance that we were working in. No apologies to Advanced Work Planning. I actually advocated to Bob, Bob.

[00:09:13] Wayne Crabtree: There’s a, there’s a school of practice out there called AWP. Installation Work Package is a part of it. I think he’d benefit from that. You’re wasting my time. I’m trying to stand up the production system, which will enable packages that work. Don’t get the car before the horse. In fact, it was one of those shock moments.

[00:09:31] Wayne Crabtree: This is good, New Jersey. Italia. Intervention. We had a head to head on that. We, but, I’d reached a real serious juncture, so I can’t continue doing this. Your medical model is not similar to what we’re trying to do. You either take that model and read it, and, and, disband it for what I want to offer, or, you know, start thinking in terms of what we’re really trying to do here relative to production.

[00:10:00] Wayne Crabtree: This role, which is where I was focused at the time. Anyway, but, look, some good things have happened with this, right? Has anyone been understanding how to design an engineer? Disposal? Yes. Is that improving? Yes, right? Production packaging was a derivative of that, right? How do I package what we design?

[00:10:19] Wayne Crabtree: And so there’s a team that’s working on that. And yes, we’re getting better at understanding packaging, by the way, Fernando. And there’s always some way that you need to convey material to the viewer, right? I’d always say you can’t do that. But is it synchronized to the cadence of what’s happening in the field?

[00:10:38] Wayne Crabtree: And by the way, you can always pick up the difference in the rate from, from a construction rate of flow of work, which creates the demand for the material. And the rate of supply fabricates, for example, that actually creates the supply. You know, we kept talking about how do you create reliability on either one of those.

[00:11:00] Wayne Crabtree: Alright, so it’s PPC, Product Production Control. We’ll start establishing the reliability of the field. And as we get that, we’ll start developing reliability and fabrication from B to A. Alright, now Bob, Jr., who’s just completed the inventory control system and as A real passionate for systems, software systems.

[00:11:24] Wayne Crabtree: Tell me, tell us how you got into ESO. What were you learning? Yeah,

[00:11:28] Robert Snyder: thanks Lang, appreciate it. Yeah, so. Their generation contractor, what that means is growing up, all my toys were construction trucks and all the stick hammers. But in all seriousness, I got a call after I finished my graduate application from my dad.

[00:11:44] Robert Snyder: And we’re moving to a new documentation, so we, we had a creepy style of application jobs that Just had a ton of variability, all had different managers, everybody was playing at their own little upper time to make sure they weren’t getting yelled at from the PMs out in the field. So, we went and brought all those shots together into a single fabrication facility.

[00:12:04] Robert Snyder: So, to practice on, I got a call one day and he’s like, Oh, RB, I’m looking around the shop. For reference, there’s shit everywhere. We got stuff all over the ground. There’s pipes everywhere. We got to take care of this. We got to figure it out. So, he brought me on initially to go and develop the inventory module to really start, I mean, repair just a whole amount of leather of inventory, right?

[00:12:27] Robert Snyder: And start to take control of our production process here. So, that was our initial phase. Overall relatively successful. We’ve have been able to go and read about, create our own skews system and early database and Really solve the problem of from field requests to actually a receipt from the shop So the in the past is everybody’s right on napkins and phone calls But we’ve been able to use a full digital system that I’ve been going that’s improved productivity so, a few months later I go and I get another call and You see what you guys are doing.

[00:13:04] Robert Snyder: We’re not producing There’s no standardization, everybody’s speaking, custom cuts, they go and everybody says everything’s easy, well that’s not true, we pretty much made 90 percent of the same stuff all the time, but if we treat our job shop like a true job shop and we’re just engineering, great. To order every single item, there’s no way to improve productivity on that.

[00:13:27] Robert Snyder: So I went in and I started working with SDS and with the chat here to really start mapping our fabrication facility. Currently that is still in process. And one of the issues that we really ran into was that everybody’s still treating everything like a unicorn. So through packaging and through design assist, we’re currently in the process now of trying to optimize all of our tools and create these Binsky products.

[00:13:51] Robert Snyder: That we made and really changed that mentality from the shop floor from a essentially they consider themselves a separate job site to an actual manufacturing facility.

[00:14:02] Wayne Crabtree: Very good. My feedback on I thought I’ve never met a young man who used it as fast of a learn and software oddly, and then you’ve been involved in production full as well some very abreast of the capability that Modest development, very short 30 minutes.

[00:14:19] Wayne Crabtree: So, we have a better visual of what is going to be needed from a capacity level to meet the need, the demand field. I’m just going to close up real quick. Reduction control was also an experiment. We weren’t too sure where to start the application of the PDM toolset. You know, the 511s, right? Where, you know, is it inventory control or is it, you know, the variability?

[00:14:47] Wayne Crabtree: Right, we kind of stood up, you know, supply for like a soul, thinking that would be it. And then we were stopped with a real issue in the project we faced, which is called a a coordination or, what is it? Coordination act coordination role, which meant. You couldn’t advance any detail engineering until everyone agreed on the project.

[00:15:13] Wayne Crabtree: Well, by the time they were agreeing to that, it was too late for the lead I’ve associated with propagated spool up in order to get the material to the field, right? So that really didn’t help us so quick. We’re still working on that. And we have some ideas of that that we said production control, let’s get into the actual physical control of variable variability in the field.

[00:15:35] Wayne Crabtree: This has also had mixed results related to Some mental hours, right? You know, for example, we were getting visibility to the allocation of capacity at a good player. Everybody read. We have a visibility to how we have values assigned to work, but we could connect that production work to a milestone because there were no milestones that were actually real.

[00:15:59] Wayne Crabtree: The project being from the project, the second side. And so we have to look at, well, how do we stand out for work in a production? Sequence on the fuel because you actually design, if you’ve got a thousand trimbles to set with Trimble to sheet and you have 900 of them on a four and what, how osteo read of escalation with Trimble before you place the ans.

[00:16:19] Wayne Crabtree: Right. Well, so start thinking about how each set that out. So you scoring to get a array of escalation and then create a milestone as to what you may want a lead for the roughly on a full basis if you are on several floors. Today we’ve got some additional assistants who actually are involved in that, where we do have a production schedule at Rutgers, though we all do have some milestones at Rutgers, we do have a cadence, and we’re starting to develop some of the root causes for what’s interrupting the project.

[00:16:50] Wayne Crabtree: And I know my, my, my partners are there. So one thing that we learned, right,

[00:16:59] Wayne Crabtree: James has interrupted my pace, I’ve put all the So, we had a guy that said, you know what? I think you’re all bullshit, Ski, my French joining in. But, I’ll sign up, and I’ll be the first one to tell you this bullshit. He was the first sign up on a secret tenant that started saying, come and show me.

[00:17:26] Wayne Crabtree: I worked in his office, we mapped out. He says, don’t, don’t go too fast. I just want to map one process. We actually mapped a triple process. Okay. And you’ve got the symbol gal that did the new work. It says, tell me now what your steps are and let’s map it out there. Well, he’s been doing that for the last, I think it’s past 15 months and he’s starting to advance.

[00:17:52] Wayne Crabtree: And he’s got his team now with his sub form involved with the production schedule meetings on a daily and a weekly basis. So we’re starting to make progress. Have we achieved what we want? I’m just going to share it with me. You have this. You know we’ve discovered improvements in those categories.

[00:18:11] Wayne Crabtree: On this guy, we want McBeef. No surprise on the early, you know, work in the matrix. The industry models are very clear challenge. I want to say something about change management. If

[00:18:23] Robert Snyder: there’s something I can add, I’ll not echo. Yeah, within the, so I’ve been to do a lot of implementation in the field. And to kind of echo what you were saying earlier, Roberto, it’s really not the people in the field that are super opposed to embracing these changes.

[00:18:38] Robert Snyder: What I’ve found is they really just want to win. So if this is how they’re going to win and beat everybody else, they’re very open to embracing it. It’s really the middle manager the PMs and. That administrative body that has a much more difficult time of going, putting your head down, getting to work, and really popping these ideas.

[00:18:58] Robert Snyder: So that is my own personal experience. Nothing on our ecosystem

[00:19:02] Wayne Crabtree: changed, man. That’s good. That’s very good. So, yeah, right. So these guys are very avid about, you know, in fact several of the secret agents I’d love to meet. They dictate to actually do this stuff. The present nature of his learning.

[00:19:18] Wayne Crabtree: I’ve got a sick quote. Alright, look, we’re convinced of the benefit. I was telegraphing Bob here. He is so passionate about making a difference. He believes that I will tell one story on a design, an early you know, design what is it? An early opportunity to design product and project. There was over 20 million dollars identified, saving for this particular project.

[00:19:49] Wayne Crabtree: For example, you know, if you got a symbol, why not get your symbol done on the deck before you pour concrete? Insert them so you don’t even have to screw them up there for chipping and drilling. You know, that’s a big save, man. That was about a few million dollars savings. One was the configuration of the core and setting up racks that could be prefabbed and assembled and cooked because it’s simply elevated in place where you slip the branches.

[00:20:16] Wayne Crabtree: I hope it’s 20 million. Well guess what happened? They decided to take those ideas and do it themselves. With us. I’m just telling you that good people with good ideas need to be protected in partnerships. Not in a hierarchical matrix, but in a variety of partners that say, Yes, that’s valuable. How do we use you and leverage that value of getting part of our team?

[00:20:45] Wayne Crabtree: That’s my appeal. I don’t think you get all complex of that. Well, we are a matrix organization, I’ll show you a graphic on that. We are technology focused. We are searching for early integration involvement. And you’ll say, Wayne, this is a simple thing that to learn, but it’s the hardest thing.

[00:21:08] Wayne Crabtree: Everybody echo that sentiment. It truly is difficult. And the strain and stress of that as a lone ninja, or whatever, is difficult to actually, you know to be resilient from that is the challenge. This is his matrix. He has a vision. Every project goes through this matrix. It’s a matrix organization.

[00:21:30] Wayne Crabtree: Everyone has a touch on the final result, right? And so his staffing is organized around this matrix. Someone in sales is actually thinking in terms of customer should we have, so are we up to zero yet? No, there’s a customer journey flagged at migration. You want anything else Bob to say on this on behalf of UNEP?

[00:21:54] Wayne Crabtree: Ooh, that’s a taller I don’t I don’t I don’t And if Bob was here, he’d make an apology and not believe himself, and but thank you for still pressing on guys. That’s it. Are there any questions, or do we have time, or do we probably not? If you just need to watch What the hell’s

[00:22:14] Robert Snyder: So, great,

[00:22:16] Wayne Crabtree: great to see somebody moving forward.

[00:22:17] Wayne Crabtree: Great to see another ninja. Are you taking most of the risk for doing this on your jobs, or have you got owners supporting you from the studio? That’s a great question. Thus far, we have not, developed a situation where the items will disappear. We’re not in the position to actually ask that question yet.

[00:22:39] Wayne Crabtree: But we’re still working through the lab. Okay. And higher students. I figured we added that. Yeah, I got a great question. Great presentation. I

[00:22:52] Robert Snyder: got a question. All

[00:22:53] Wayne Crabtree: right. I think it’ll

[00:22:54] Robert Snyder: be a great question. I don’t know. Let you know. You know,

[00:23:00] Wayne Crabtree: Part of knowledge is AP, but I

[00:23:02] Robert Snyder: do work with Lean and I have a lot of experience

[00:23:03] Wayne Crabtree: in there.

[00:23:04] Wayne Crabtree: And one of the, one of the things I feel for with some eye trackers is that hey, if you’re on a IPD, you know, a behaviorist, all of your jobs, I don’t know, you can ask this, may not be IPD. And so you’re, the fact that all those projects were worked really well until you dipped to the deal and clutch holes thrown some back.

[00:23:22] Wayne Crabtree: Your prior protection is thrown some back. You were geo walls up added. So how, what I’d like to

[00:23:28] Robert Snyder: know is how are you saying,

[00:23:32] Wayne Crabtree: Your ability to influence by bringing forth, you know, what you do and help and trying to prove the deck before? It becomes a problem. Now, you’re looking at a lot of it, so I would have to say

[00:23:46] Robert Snyder: it.

[00:23:48] Robert Snyder: I do. Yeah. So I mean, right now we’re still at early implementation of PPC on our JOTS. And what we’ve really found is that we’ve been able to claw back some mandates just through early implementation, holding those daily planning meetings and going and building out that up and that’s in the schedule.

[00:24:06] Robert Snyder: So in regards to the whole, I guess, whole really holding others up, contractors accountable, what this has. Hopefully will let us do is to be able to go and go to the the GM or the so the GC or the CM and take it to the reason that we’re behind is close up this area to where this is part of your production schedule and it’s just, you’re not going to hit those dates, right?

[00:24:32] Robert Snyder: So yeah, that’s, that’s what these patents. Not yet, but hopefully that is the goal.

[00:24:38] Wayne Crabtree: During, yeah, exactly. Two other comments. We do. We work in a situation where the culture is about Popeye and Pat. Let me run it. So there’s some effort around the CEF of that coordination, but it’s not addressing synchronizational work with all of Ultraseam, yes, you need to work on this challenge.

[00:24:59] Wayne Crabtree: You know, last time we did have an opportunity in that client assist situation with a CEF, which I just stated was a lost opportunity, where the introduction of a production control on behalf of a CEF for Ultrames was actually proposed. So the special tip in May. The Akapai soft area that we’re working.

[00:25:22] Wayne Crabtree: All right.

[00:25:23] Robert Snyder: Thanks. Catch you Chagawa questions, please. Good man. very

[00:25:27] Wayne Crabtree: much.

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Read Biography

Bob Snyder

Binsky & Snyder

Bob Snyder

Binsky & Snyder

As a fourth-generation owner, Bob Snyder has worked and been involved in the mechanical contracting industry since his youth. Bob’s experience spans all aspects of the business including Sales and Estimating, Project Controls and Management, Engineering and Drafting, Purchasing, Information Technology, and Financial Management.

In addition to office and management experience, Bob worked in tool and fabrication shops, spent time on the road in a service van working in the field with service technicians and developed hands-on skills on projects working with the plumber and pipefitter craftsmen. As a graduate engineer, Bob has strong technical and design aptitude and has a vast understanding of both conceptual and technical aspects of mechanical systems. He also has a great level of experience in information technology and has been involved in designing the project control systems used at Binsky. Bob has devoted significant time to the Mechanical Contracting Association of New Jersey and Industry Council, currently sits on the Board of Directors, and holds the position of Secretary/Treasurer. In addition, Bob has served as a Trustee on Plumbers Local 24 and currently on Pipefitters Local 475.

Read Biography

Wayne Crabtree

Chevron (Ret.)

Wayne Crabtree

Chevron (Ret.)

Wayne Crabtree recently retired from Chevron, where he was the CI Advisor of the Chevron Project Management System (CPMS) for Chevron PRC. He was responsible for CPMS Knowledge Management; CPMS Continuous Learning System; and the development and application of continuous improvement methodologies on Major Capital Projects.

He has over 30 years of experience in project management and organizational development within the industrial and manufacturing business sector. For the first half of his career Crabtree owned and operated businesses that specialized in civil/structural construction and environmental remediation. During this time he was engaged in the successive waves of Total Quality Management, Value Engineering, Continuous Improvement, ISO 9001, Team Empowerment, and Lean Sigma. These methodologies were applied to his own businesses and helped shape his own understanding of how they may be applied within wider corporate settings.

Crabtree is currently focused on the integration of the theory and principles of Project Production Management into the Chevron Project Delivery Model. This effort is in support of Chevron’s increased interest to be more in control of the design and execution of work on their Major Capital Projects.

Crabtree is a Chevron Certified Lean Sigma Black Belt and maintains a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification through the Project Management Institute and has a Master’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Six Sigma.