“Our numbers indicate that Volvo is a winner.” Frankie Lafontaine, Directeur génèral. Les Excavations Lafontaine Inc.
Some would claim that everything we do these days is controlled by... ‘the numbers’. Many would argue that the area where this is most evident in our day-to-day lives is with sports.
True sports fans know all ‘the numbers’ about their favorite team or player. Baseball fans track home runs, runs batted in, on base percentage, slugging percentage... to list just a few. Football, hockey and auto racing fans respectively have their own seemingly endless set of numbers... in football the list usually starts with wins, points, passing yards, rushing yards, sacks. With hockey it’s goals, assists, minutes played, goals for and against, penalty minutes... and continues ad infinitum. In racing it’s ranking, starts, wins, total laps, top five finishes etc. No doubt your favorite sport will have its own set of numbers.
Based in the Quebec, Canada town of Lévis is a highly successful construction company where everyone from the president to the latest hire knows the company’s numbers. They literally know everything... from what jobs are happening today, what needs to be completed, what wasn’t completed yesterday, where every piece of equipment is working, what equipment is needed, all of the administrative, operational and maintenance costs, everything right down to a running inventory of parts, from the largest to the smallest. This amount of minute detail may sound onerous to many people, but like true sports fans, the team at Les Excavations Lafontaine Inc. truly enjoy the stats! And like sports fans, they feel very much involved with the team and therefore are quite loyal.
From very humble beginnings in 1975 in the small eastern townships town of Saint-Malachie, where today the first dozer the company purchased sits proudly in the front yard of the family homestead, Frankie Lafontaine has built Les Excavations Lafontaine Inc. to the revered position in the province’s construction hierarchy that it holds today. With contracts exceeding sixty-two million dollars last year, Excavations Lafontaine is one of the premier municipal infrastructure, road and commercial construction companies in the dynamic Canadian province of Quebec. Currently, the company has over one hundred and sixty employees and over ninety-seven pieces of heavy-duty road building, road maintenance and construction equipment.
While touring the almost six hundred thousand square foot Lafontaine facility in Lévis one could not help but be impressed with the organization of the maintenance area and storage yard where everything had a referenced storage space. A place for everything and everything had a place. Upon entering the company’s recently completed indoor maintenance garage and paint shop, here again organization and cleanliness were the order-of-the-day.
The Lafontaine way
Frankie Lafontaine spoke very proudly of his people and his facility. “We couldn’t find a system to keep track of everything the way that I wished it to be, so our people created our own.” The computer based Lafontaine system allows for the detailed tracking of every job, every person, every piece of equipment, how much work was done, how much fuel and lubricants were used right down to the smallest of replacement parts. There is no detail left out. Frankie went on to explain, “By 5:30 p.m. each day I have a report on the company’s activities during the day. I know what worked and what didn’t and I know what we need to do tomorrow to remain a viable and profitable company. It’s a completely buttoned-up system. It’s the winning Lafontaine way.”