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Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

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ARCHIVE ARTICLE

How to Solve Sticky Scheduling Conflicts

The Challenge

We have a 50-plus-unit building on Central Park West that was built at the turn of the last century. It had the original five elevators still operating, although two had been upgraded to be automatic, while the three freight cars were still manually operated. The board decided to modernize the elevators. In the middle of this expensive and time-consuming project, someone bought an apartment and wanted to make alterations. The board wanted to help the new owner. He was paying maintenance every month yet could not begin construction on the apartment because of the elevator – and would not able to live there for perhaps a year. And if we delayed too long, the new owner could lose a contractor.

The Solution

We asked the elevator company to change the sequencing of the work, so that we’d modernize the freight cab and a passenger cab in phase one, and in phase two, we would renovate only the second passenger cab, keeping the second and third cars in operation to service this renovation. We also instituted an accelerated modernization program: instead of 12 weeks, it took 8 weeks. Without that acceleration, a typical job would take 16 weeks.

The Lesson

When approaching a problem, try to find a solution that works for everyone. As the old saying goes: “An optimist sees the entire doughnut, the pessimist only sees the hole.”

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