Worker and job productivity is a critical indicator of construction projects’ and business’ success.
“Labor productivity is the economic engine of labor-intensive, self-performing contractors,” explains FMI in its 2023 labor productivity survey. When you aren’t able to accurately measure job productivity, you run a serious risk of cost overruns and profit losses.
In fact, according to the consulting and investment banking firm’s survey, labor inefficiencies cost U.S. contractors between $30 billion and $40 billion in 2022. Two of the biggest contributing factors to those inefficiencies are time data entry and lost hours. Fortunately, both of these problems can be solved with the right software.
Job Productivity Measurement Challenges
In theory, labor productivity should be easy to manage. Workers input the time they spend on job tasks each day and that data is regularly monitored so resources are appropriately allocated to the right jobs. Simple enough, yet labor is one of the most difficult aspects of construction jobs to accurately measure. Decentralized data is the leading cause of this problem.
Manual Time Card Entry Prevents Centralization of Data
Timesheets are a nightmare for workers. When they are done with work at the end of the day, the last thing they want to do is administrative tasks, like filling out and submitting timesheets. So they often put it off until right before the end of the payroll period or quickly fill out time cards without regard for errors. Or, if they are in the field, they may fill out their timesheets on a daily basis but hold them until the next time they go to the office.
When this is the case, you simply don’t have access to that data. It’s impossible for you to accurately measure job productivity and better allocate resources.
Lost Hours Makes it Difficult to Measure Productivity
One of the biggest threats to productivity on construction projects is lost time. Labor costs often run over because of lost hours.
“Construction workers waiting at the job site due to some delay or other problem is one on-site issue that’s easy to overlook,” writes the team at Trekker Group. “But the costs can add up considerably over a week, a month, and a year.”
That’s because your skilled assets are spending hours being unproductive at one job when their time could have been reallocated to another job.
For example, electricians spend only about half their time actually doing billable work. “They probably only spend 40% to 45% of their time installing, so there’s 60% to 55% waste,” says Jamie Sullivan, president of Staff Electric in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, of his workers.
But unless your teams input that data in real-time, how do you know they are losing those hours? It’s important to know if your workers are sitting idle.
Simplifying data entry and centralizing labor data are key to overcoming both of these hindrances to measuring job productivity. Construction project management software, like eSUB, does both.
Construction Project Management Software Enables Trade Contractors to Accurately Measure Job Productivity
Technology makes it easy to input and track labor data so you have real-time access to job productivity data.
For starters, the software is capable of tracking employee time and attendance on job sites so you know where your teams are at any given time. Because it’s mobile-friendly, the tool also makes it easy for workers to input data about how much time was spent on specific tasks. They can do it right from their devices at the job site as tasks are completed rather than waiting until the end of the work day.
The convenience of entering their hours digitally made the workers at Lake East Landscape more willing to input their labor data in a timely manner. “They’re stoked because it was frustrating for some of the guys to have these big stacks of paper timecards,” said Casey Izdepski, who was operations manager at the firm for 10 years.
The Lake East Landscape management team also benefits because the data is then stored in one centralized location, making it easier for them to track productivity. “I feel like I’m ahead of everything,” Izdepski said. “Which is nice. It’s good to know that all the information is in one place.”
That centralization of real-time data also helps you combat waste due to lost hours. When you see that workers aren’t working, you can send them to another job so they are productive. This helps you keep the labor costs on your projects on budget.
To learn more about how software can help you more accurately measure job productivity, schedule a demo of eSUB Cloud today.
Images used under license from Shutterstock.com.