FMI Corp., management consultant for the construction industry, recently released results for its productivity survey, which showed 53 percent of responding companies reported productivity as flat or decreasing over the past five years. Nearly 81 percent said they could save more than 5 percent of annual field labor costs through better management of production.

FMI Director and report author Scott Kimpland interprets the results as proof that you "cannot just think or talk your way to productivity improvement," but it must be something to invest in. He also drew comparisons to a recent surge in a commitment to safety improvements in the industry during 2003. The survey found most companies invested in safety programs during that year, and Kimpland noted that "similar investments in productivity would also yield significant gains."

Pre-job planning increased, according to the survey. It indicated 47 percent engaged in a formal pre-job planning process, up from 33 percent the previous year. Project management and leadership at all levels of an organization emerged as an important part of increasing productivity. Those that responded with high marks for their project managers' performances were better able to implement and support new ideas.

The "FMI 2004-2005 Contractor Productivity Survey Results" represents a cross-section of the construction industry, and includes general contractors and subcontractors with annual revenues from $15 million to more than $100 million. To obtain a copy of the survey, contact FMI Marketing Coordinator Phil Warner at