How many times have you ended your day wondering, “Where did the time go?” You and your crew worked diligently on the task at hand that the day just flew by. Or perhaps your crew spent time on other activities such as safety meetings, moving materials, or delay from waiting on other trades that less time was spent on productive tasks. This is where a time card app will be invaluable to tracking construction productivity rates.
With a time card app, your crew can accurately measure the amount of time they are spending on specific activities. If the app has integrated scheduling, then employees know exactly where they need to go and what they need to be working on. No longer will you need to wonder “what do I need to work on” or “where did the time go.” You can pull up a report to figure out exactly where the time went and how your actual time worked on particular tasks compares to the time scheduled and estimated. Which activities were the time suck and how you can improve construction productivity rates in certain areas. To find out how to be more productive, you need to know how you are spending your time.
How can a time card app help?
The only way to get accurate information on how your crew is spending their time is through time cards. Are they working on the tasks they are scheduled to?
In order to do this, you must first examine your processes closely. How do employees know what project and tasks to work on? Do they have to pick up paper schedules from the office or do they receive them via email?
What about your time cards? Is there a space for employees to add multiple time entries per cost code? How easy is it for your employee to record the data? Once employees record the data on their time card, how do they deliver the information to the office team and management? Does that involve more data entry? If there are challenges with capturing the data from the field and entering it into the office, this can cause huge hurdles in the ability to gather valuable and accurate labor information and productivity rates.
Many time card apps include scheduling and time tracking in one app to help overcome those initial hurdles. With a few clicks on their mobile device, employees can view their schedule and record their time. Even without internet connectivity, a mobile time card app allows employees to view their scheduled activities, record their time, activities, and breaks. Information entered offline will upload to the cloud once internet connectivity resumes.
Employees can capture the tasks they were working on, the number of production units used, and other details of their day. By capturing this information in a time card app as they are doing it provides a higher level of accuracy over paper time cards. When employees complete paper time cards at the end of the day or the end of the week, the details can be a little fuzzy. With a time card app, employees no longer have to wonder, “How long was I working on rough in on Tuesday?”
Most importantly, all this valuable labor data syncs to the cloud. Data is captured once from the field worker and accessible to the team in the office. Project managers view the information track labor hours and costs. The Accounting team can export the time card information and import it into their accounting system for payroll purposes. There is no need to reenter the information manually ensuring integrity and accuracy of data.
How do time cards translate to productivity?
A lot of construction project management is comparing the estimates with the actuals. Estimated costs versus actual costs. Estimated labor hours versus remaining labor hours. Planned starts and finish in baseline schedule versus actual starts and finish.
Construction project management systems capture all this information to help project managers closely track this information and assign resources accordingly. Scheduling resources to projects are based on employee skill and project needs. It becomes a puzzle to manage limited employee resources to ensure timely completion of tasks across all projects. Using construction management software to manage and schedule resources relieves construction firms of this manual process. Additionally, when integrated with a mobile time card app, the schedule can be made accessible to employees from their mobile device as well.
When employees have a time card app that includes their schedule, project address, labor activities, and task for the day, they know exactly where they need to be and what they need to do. As employees are moved to different project locations, they receive updates dynamically and don’t need to lose hours on driving to the wrong job site. Time card apps with scheduling can help minimize lost productivity.
More importantly, time card apps provide such great detailed information on the amount of labor and production units used throughout different phases of the project. Now, what do you do with the data?
Project managers can gauge scheduled hours versus actual hours using the data from time cards to analyze the construction productivity rates on a project. Slicing and dicing the information to see labor hours by phases and cost codes. Project managers can track construction productivity rates by labor hours as well as tracking units per hour. By viewing estimated and schedule workers and hours versus actuals (hours and production units), the project manager can proactively track hours variance and labor efficiency on a project. If the project were to progress with similar labor efficiency, the project manager could forecast if he will need more labor to complete the project.
Why should you track construction productivity rates?
Tracking construction productivity rates is central to proactive project management in construction. Bringing construction productivity rates to the central of a project will empower management to make better strategic decisions on how and where to push to achieve more effective results.
Construction productivity rates provide real-time information on how the project is progressing via labor hours. Analyzing labor hours down to phases and cost codes, project managers can hone in on exactly where the hurdles are in a project. Was it a specific floor that took longer than estimated? If so, maybe the design hampered the construction productivity. Or perhaps productivity improved when a few crew members were changed. This will help determine the problem areas or problem people on a project.
Most importantly, tracking labor productivity improves a subcontractor’s overall profitability. Estimators can fine tune estimates based on specific areas of the job. Perhaps estimators were overestimating the time for pouring concrete on bids. Your company can then lower the bid amount to submit a more competitive bid. Or perhaps the number of hours needed on demolition were underestimated. Then, Estimators can then increase bid amount to protect project profits. Detailed time card information by cost code allows companies to fine tune bids to help win more projects or increase profits.
You want more information from your crew to make better strategic decisions. And your crew needs more information in the field and helpful digital tools to be more productive. But, you know that no one can handle more paperwork. Time card apps with scheduling provide a great level of detail to empower your mobile workforce. From their mobile device, they can view their schedules and tasks as well as document their time and labor activities to show where time is being spent to track construction productivity rates. Tracking hen you can track construction productivity rates, you can more closely track your profits.