The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that within the last four years industrial construction productivity on the job site has declined. They aren’t the only group reporting on low productivity. The McKinsey Institute, the USG & CCI, and even anecdotally construction is notoriously slow and prone to productivity issues. With every other industry racing to improve their productivity, get products to customers faster, seeing the low productivity in construction can be hard. Once companies admit the problems, they face it will be easier to increase the productivity on the job site.
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The Productivity Problem
It’s well known that the construction industry faces issues with productivity, with many research institutes and government agencies monitoring the productivity issues. Compared to most other industries, productivity on the overall construction job site has only improved 1% according to the McKinsey Institute. Many problems contribute to a lack of productivity. Some issues are force majeure, like weather and other unexplainable factors, while others stem from poor management or other avoidable factors. Low productivity on job sites should not be the norm, by using available technology and best practices companies should be able to improve their productivity.
There are many ways to increase productivity on the job site. Many of the skills and tools available are standard best practices and will help increase productivity regardless of the original issues. The first step to identifying what the best option moving forward is to know what causes productivity decreases. If there is an issue with scheduling, so materials or resources aren’t available when they’re needed then companies should try to find ways to mitigate that risk. There is no magic pill that companies can take that will instantly make them more productive. Companies have to work hard at these skills and use the tools to see changes.
Mobile Time Cards
One of the biggest drains on business is their time tracking. This is a drain both in the office and in the field. People often fill out time sheets at the end of the week well after they worked. And humans are more likely to overestimate rather than underestimate their hours worked. After they fill in the time sheets, the foreman collects them and must submit them to the back office. Depending on the company, office workers could spend anywhere from a day to the whole week trying to process time cards reasonably. This isn’t productive in the field or for the back office. Switching to a mobile time card companies reduces time spent on time and focus on the projects at hand.
Mobile Project Management
Similar to mobile time cards, mobile project management is another way to be able to easily and quickly increase productivity on a site. When a foreman has a question on the site, they can easily submit an RFI in the field from their phone. Because people aren’t very good at remembering tasks they need to complete or all of the details, waiting until the end of the day or until they get back to the office isn’t useful. The process takes a lot of precious time from field workers. And even if submitting time is quick, there could be essential details accidentally left out.
Integrated Data Delivery
Another tool to help increase job site productivity is integrated data delivery. In the field, it is inconvenient to have to open up many different apps to find the right location of a file. Having a platform that interacts with all of the other data sources can be extremely beneficial. It ensures that everyone can access accurate, up-to-date information when they need it. In the field or the office, integrated data delivery promises greater visibility into projects allowing for productivity management.
One of the easiest ways to increase productivity on a job site and across companies is communication. Communication between departments and teams working on a project is essential to ensuring it’s completion in a timely fashion. However, communication can be challenging to provide between groups and even within companies. Increase productivity on the job site and improve communication through communication tracking and using one platform. Having one platform that saves copies of communication and tracks communication can significantly help. It gives everyone a clear picture of where information is, who has it, and who needs it.
With these new tools and potentially new workflows, there must be training or the company’s productivity won’t increase. Training ensures that workers know the new workflows or new technology. It also empowers them to use it without it interfering with their site duties.