How to Implement a Construction Time Clock System

Congratulations on making the big decision to implement a construction time clock system. We have collaborated with hundreds of organizations on their construction software implementations. With all of that experience, here are a few of our lessons learned for important steps to ensure successful implementation and adoption of your new construction time clock system.

 

Evaluate your team’s current workflow and needs

Before you start looking for a new construction time clock system, a deep analysis of your current operations is important. The important thing to keep in mind is that a construction time clock system is more than just for payroll purposes. Construction time clock captures vital data and backup source for project documentation. Project managers utilize time information to track overall project financial health. Moreover, time tracking information is vital for accurate estimating.

 

To ensure that your construction time clock system can fulfill those basic needs for your construction firm, it is important to assemble a core team to examine the current processes objectively:

 

  • Examine the paper time card. Does the information captured meet the needs? Perhaps you are not currently job costing and assigning time to cost codes. This would be a great time to incorporate that into your new construction time clock system.

  • Shadow and interview a couple of your foremen to determine their process for collecting and verifying time cards. Are they verifying them daily or at the end of the week? In addition to labor hours, how are the foremen tracking material used, equipment hours, and expenses. Would they like to incorporate this in the construction time clock system?

  • Project Managers need accurate real-time labor information to manage a project schedule and costs proactively. How does the Project Manager view labor information on projects? Do they have to wait until payroll enters and processes the information into the accounting system? Do they have to enter this information manually into their project spreadsheets or a separate accounting system?

  • How much time is your payroll team spending manually entering time card information in their system? How much back and forth communications are spent between accounting, the foreman, and the employee in verifying the information?

 

Reviewing your current processes will help you determine what your current pain points are and what you would like the new construction time clock system to do.

 

Evaluate vendors and select a solution

Once your team has developed a set of requirements, the next step would be to go shopping. There are hundreds of time tracking solutions in the marketplace, which can become overwhelming for your evaluation team. Talk to fellow construction professionals and seek out their referrals. Additionally, there are a number of websites such as Software Advice that provide buyers guides and services to help you narrow down your search.

 

If a construction time clock system is the first step in your digital journey, look for a solution that can grow with you accordingly. Think of it as baby steps into a project management system. As we stated before, the value of a construction time clock system is not just to streamline payroll processing. Project management, estimating, and accounting teams use the time clock information, so it is vital that the data can flow seamlessly to eliminate any redundant data entry. When you are evaluating solutions, it is important to look for a solution that will be able to grow with your firm and integrate with any current solutions.

 

Develop a roll out plan – one project, phased approach

Starting small on a software implementation provides the ability to make any necessary changes before a wide scale rollout. This allows everything to be dialed in completely. The worst thing to happen during any software cutover is for the system to be “buggy,” and the implementation team does not have solid answers for any questions that can arise.

 

The pilot team will be able to make any recommendations on the new processes and advise on any new configuration changes. Most importantly, the pilot team will be able to serve as the project champions and additional resources when wide scale rollout occurs.

 

Get your field team on board

The success of construction time clock implementation rests largely on the adoption of the field team. Without their partnership and usage, the system has no value. Time tracking systems are not popular for employees. Unfortunately, they are viewed as mechanisms that exert controls and perceives mistrust.

 

The management team must communicate the value of the construction time clock in terms of the benefit it provides to the individual employee. With a new construction time clock, employees will no longer need to rush at the end of the day or week to complete time cards. With more accurate time card information entered, this will ensure that there are no more surprises on their paycheck. Most importantly, tracking time information in a construction time clock will enable the firm to produce better estimates. With better estimates, the company becomes more profitable and provides you with more stable employment. Additionally, tracking time allows the company to determine if more resources need to be hired. This will help alleviate your workload and reduce your work fatigue. In addition, it always helps to develop incentive programs to encourage user adoption.

 

Feedback

Transitioning to a new construction time clock system will change many processes for your team. It is important that the goals of the system and the expectations of all employees be communicated clearly. Transparency and open lines of communication between the implementation team and employees will help resolve any issues.  As a result, management must encourage employees to ask questions and provide suggestions to make the system more effective. Even long after implementation, it’s important to continue soliciting feedback from users to keep improving the system and processes. Most importantly, this feedback is critical to help your firm in future implementations.

 

Every software implementation is going to have a few bumps in the road. However, following some of these tips will help minimize issues for a smooth time clock system implementation for your construction firm.

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