To have a successful slipform operation there are several key components that must mesh together every day. Some can be purchased or obtained easily enough. But the men and women that comprise the slipform crew must be assembled and built. The value of the crew is one of the most important parts of the operation and cannot be underestimated.

Experience is number one when putting together a crew. Slipforming is quite a bit different than hand forming concrete. The pace can be much quicker and techniques for finishing must be honed to meet the specific shape being poured. A couple of knowledgeable leaders can bring in others and quickly train them for slipforming.

After a crew has been assembled, start with each member doing his or her usual job. But it is important that everyone on the crew should be involved, at some point, in every task on the job. This builds a feeling of importance for all members and teamwork within the crew. The members can start to appreciate how their performance of their task, effects other jobs and tasks. Now if someone misses work, he or she can be replaced by some other member of the crew. This relieves stress on the team and they start to enjoy their job more.

Having multiple skills and responsibilities is very important. Cross training each member is vital and will have multiple benefits. Stand outs will start to appear and will become leaders as the crew matures. This will strengthen the team and encourage members to grow in their abilities. Friendly competition on the crew keeps everyone on their toes while promoting quality work skills and habits.

Another result is there will be some self-policing. With each member understanding the importance of each task, gentile nudging and firm suggestions will be given to someone not quite keeping up with the pace or quality required to do the task.

Hiring new workers has been a problem lately, but when someone truly likes and enjoys their job, word will spread to their friends in the trade who will want to check out this “good company” to work for.

As the team grows, the members quickly realize how important each of them are, and how they can personally help and improve each other. It is important to listen and talk about any innovative ideas or methods floated by the members. Each job can have a new problem or situation that needs addressing. If a crew member feels that his or her idea may be considered, the feeling that they have a part in the process sets in. That confidence will spread throughout the rest of the team and soon the group will start to perform at a higher level.

Keep the communication lines open. It is important to know and why when the mood of the crew changes. It could be a small thing to some, but when the crew is “down” quality and efficiency will suffer. Discuss the good jobs and the bad. Let the crew know what jobs are coming up and some potential problems that could occur. A good crew can be very resourceful and help overcome these problems.

Now the building blocks for growth are in place. Additional equipment can be purchased easily but putting together another crew takes time. Having a crew with quality members to pick from for the new leaders makes the process much easier. The value of your crew is one of the greatest assets you may have now and in the future.