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ELECTRI Council Funds Two Research Projects
As of June 18, 2018

Published on: 
July 29, 2016

ELECTRI International has selected two Early Career Research Awards for 2016 funding. At its recent Council meeting in Napa, CA, the ELECTRI Council considered several research presentations and chose to commission: 

Best Practices for Early Adoption of Productivity Improvement Programs, University of Kansas, Brian Lines, Ph.D.

Electrical contractors can work to maintain their competitive advantage by using productivity improvement programs. Companies continuously modify traditional practices by adopting a wide range of information technologies and smart products. Organizational Behavior research has found that nearly 70 percent of company-level productivity improvement programs fail to achieve their intended objectives. Adopting productivity programs is inconsistent across the electrical construction industry, raising a fundamental research question: Why are some companies able to implement productivity improvement programs while other companies are less successful?

This study will investigate company-level best practices for implementing productivity improvement programs. Results will guide companies in ways to be Early Adopters, better able to achieve successful, profitable outcomes when implementing company-level productivity improvements. The electrical contracting industry needs a clear understanding of what creates barriers to implementation. This study will analyze barriers that are specific to electrical contracting companies and will also investigate best practices for adopting productivity improvement programs. Results will demonstrate learnable approaches, skillsets, and leadership techniques that can be used to increase success rates and identify those tactics most effective against the leading barriers contractors face. 

Flexible Overhead: Agile Strategies That Increase Electrical Contractor Profitability, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Jake Smithwick, Ph.D. 

As the construction market continues its recovery, the electrical contracting industry faces several critical decisions: What is the best way to reengage overhead expenses? Should we outsource some of these functions, or should they still be performed in-house? Electrical contractors’ answers to these questions will have a significant and long-lasting effect on the industry. An optimal overhead structure requires a degree of organizational agility through early identification of opportunities and alignment of core competencies. 

This research will collect specific information on overhead expense levels in the electrical construction industry and develop an easy-to-use assessment tool that identifies electrical contractor organizational agility. The agility assessment identifies companies’ capability to implement advanced overhead management tools in terms of proactivity, reactivity, and strategic vision. This study will provide a free, personalized assessment of participating NECA electrical contractors on their overall level of organizational agility along with specific recommendations for implementing a flexible overhead structure within their company.