Adjusting Our Sails for Change in the Construction Industry


I heard a quote recently that stuck with me: “We cannot change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust our sails.”

Whether it’s the sea breezes off the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico, storms coming out of the Caribbean, or fronts dropping in from the north, the winds in Florida are continuously changing. Adjusting for changes in the construction industry can be a lot like adjusting your sails for the wind.

For example, on June 1, 2023, a significant number of people boycotted work, travel, shopping, school, etc. in protest of Florida Senate Bill 1718. I spoke with several contractors who work around the state and all confirmed what we were seeing on our projects as a result – manpower was down 50-75% in a single day. Situations like this affect our projects, changing rapidly without notice – just like the Florida winds.

So, the question is: What do we do? And how do we adjust?

In the 16 years that I have been at The Douglas Company, I have seen a lot of change, both inside and outside of the company. Recently, our industry has undergone significant change and we’ve adapted accordingly.

Gone are the days of overstaffing a project because you had more personnel than available work. Today, we find ways to do more with less and we work provide a great work environment to attract and keep our talented, dedicated associates.

Gone are the days of “just in time” deliveries. Today, we order materials in advance, come up with creative ways to receive/inventory/store/stock them, so projects are not delayed by manufacturing or transportation issues outside of our control.

Gone are the days of the facsimile machine. Today, we use multiple software programs to help us estimate, bid, account, plan, document, and build.

Gone are the days of the authoritarian top down, command and control management style. Today we develop relationships, new and old, with key subcontractors and vendors to ensure we build a successful team from design development through construction.

At The Douglas Company, we have spent decades implementing and modifying processes that prepare us to take on these changes – processes that we train on weekly, and perform daily. One of these processes is our morning huddles; these meetings help us identify issues early in the day so we can plan and react accordingly. Additionally, our submittal review and coordination process helps to ensure we will receive the right materials, in the correct quantity. Then, there are our quality inspections that provide our team with the checklists needed to deliver a superior product the first time.

In addition to our processes that assist with our current projects, we have our eye on the future and focus on the development of our leaders. We work to cultivate our partners and promote things such as communication and understanding, planning and preparation, coordination and collaboration, give and take. Only those who excel at these things continue to succeed.

Now more than ever, advanced planning and proactive attention to detail are keys to success. It is this commitment to excellence that allows us to quickly react to the next change, and adjust our sails.

Kevin Green

Senior Project Manager

The Douglas Company

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