Catherine DeVrye, a former IBM executive and business speaker, states that the six most expensive words in business are “We’ve always done it this way.” In no other way does this saying ring more true than in the case of construction time cards. Paper time cards are a longstanding process for many construction companies. However, it is a process filled with inefficiencies and errors that is wasting your company money.
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Inflated work hours
Printable time cards that employees complete manually are prone to errors. Employees rushing to complete them at the end of the day or week have the natural tendency to overstate or round up their hours worked.
An automated time tracking system makes it easier for employees to record their hours accurately. Employees can punch in when they arrive on the jobsite and ready to begin their work. Mobile time keeping apps also provide the ability to alert a supervisor or time approver if the employee’s punch in location occurs outside of the jobsite area. This ensures that the company is not overpaying employees for time not worked.
Data entry errors
A legible construction time card is the holy grail for Accounting. Chicken scratch leaves the Accounting team guessing on time entry. Is that is a 5 or a 6 for clock out time? Even when Accounting receives legible construction time cards, the manual entry of information runs the risk of transcription errors and typos.
The less data entry that Accounting does, the more accurate the time entry information. Automated time tracking provides all the time information in a secure, cloud-based repository for Accounting to view and access. Additionally, direct integrations with the company’s Accounting system eliminates data entry. Depending on the level of integration, the Accounting team downloads a flat file to import into the Accounting system or the time card information syncs automatically.
Loss of productivity
We challenge you to do an experiment to see how much time your team is wasting in processing payroll. Track the time it takes employees to complete time cards, the foreman to collect and verify time cards, the project manager to go to the jobsite and collect time cards, and Accounting to input timecards. Many construction companies, such as Fuller Electric, indicate that this process takes up to 4-5 hours.
With time entry information automated and captured into a cloud-based systems, employees can access the time card information from any location. Time entry from the field is immediately available to the office team. The field-to-office connectivity combined with the Accounting integration described previously, shortens the entire payroll process for Fuller Electric to 30 minutes. The improved workflow from automated time tracking converts wasted time into productive time for the team.
Inaccurate job costing
During the day, construction employees may work on several different tasks. If your company tracks labor activity through cost codes, how can you ensure that employees accurately track their time against that cost code. Are they looking at the clock each time they change task? Not likely. In the similar case to inflated hours, it is likely that your cost code tracking is way off as well. What’s the point then of job costing if you can’t be confident in the information?
In mobile time tracking solutions, employees select the job and cost code when the clock in. As tasks change throughout the day, they can easily change cost codes without clocking out. Now, you can have confidence that employees capture and code their time accurately. This will help greatly in tracking labor productivity and project actual hours versus estimated hours.
Let’s face it. We live in litigious era. Wage and hour violations against Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) increase year over year and have gone up by more than 450% since 2000. Printable time cards expose a vulnerability in your company with regards to maintaining accurate time records. Do your printable time cards allow your employees to properly document overtime work? What about their breaks? Similar to construction claims, thorough documentation is the key to protecting your company against any FLSA violations.
Automated time tracking systems provide your company with accurate and thorough time records. Mobile time keeping apps provide employees a way to enter their time and records their breaks. Reminders to employees to punch out after eight hours will help control overtime. Employers are able to monitor overtime and breaks to ensure they meet FLSA compliance accordingly. Additionally, All the information is stored with a thorough audit log to protect your company in the event of a lawsuit.
While the construction industry is one of the least digitized industries, sticking with the status quo of printable time cards is unacceptable. As you can see, tremendous time and cost savings, especially in the case of potential FLSA violations, can be achieved from implementing a time keeping app in your construction company.