The following is a guest post from Michel Richer, product marketing and content manager at Kitchener, Ontario-based construction software company Bridgit.
The construction industry saw an unprecedented amount of disruption throughout 2020. The year kicked off with news of a deadly virus gaining momentum overseas and it wasn’t long before countries were moving into lockdown to try to stop the spread. The disruption caused by the coronavirus has left many contractors wondering what 2021 holds in store for their businesses.
Before creating a resource strategy for 2021, it’s important to take a look back and evaluate your projects and project teams from the year before to build a stronger foundation for managing resources efficiently.
The goal is to help to make better decisions and predictions for project planning and estimating. However, these decisions and predictions will be greatly influenced by the quality of your data, which is the foundation for improving resource strategies, profit predictability and risk management.
By analyzing the following categories for your projects, you’ll be able to paint a clearer picture of the factors that impact your company’s profit performance:
Team member productivity. Analyzing this data helps to identify teams that did or did not work well together, identify opportunities for career advancement, and evaluate the impact of team member performance in relation to the project. Being able to identify successful teams and projects is the first step to repeating that success on future projects.
Workforce utilization. For commercial contractors, efficiency will be the name of the game in 2021 as they put an emphasis on getting the most out of their workforce. That means closely monitoring and maintaining a strong workforce utilization rate, as well as building strong project teams to help ensure projects remain as profitable as possible.
Commercial contractors should also take the time to forecast the resources needed to continue driving their project pipeline and to inform any potential layoffs. No one likes to lay off or furlough any team members, but the best thing you can do for any potentially affected team members is to provide them a realistic timeline that allows them to seek alternative employment.
Giving your team an accurate heads up with plenty of time to react shows that you value their contribution to the company and will increase the likelihood of their return when work picks back up.
In addition, accurately monitoring your workforce utilization rates helps to identify highly productive teams and individuals, and make informed decisions around recruitment strategies. Utilization rates for specific projects will also provide insight into how work ramped up and down as your project progresses, which can help inform future planning for projects of similar scope.
Full project overviews. By using a holistic overview of the entire project and tasks you can easily analyze the reasons behind the different outcomes for your projects and help to strategize how to repeat the successful ones. Including cost codes in your overview can also surface any weaknesses and help identify areas where you might be underperforming.
Automating. Aside from driving the efficiency of your workforce, steps can also be taken to drive the efficiency of core processes. Many software solutions and technologies have been developed to help the construction industry streamline workflows and automate tedious manual processes.
Safety. Regardless of which sector you work in, you'll need to focus this year on worker safety and what that means in light of COVID-19. New protective gear and physical distancing on the jobsite is just the starting point. Contractors will also need to be tracking additional relevant COVID-19 data to ensure team member safety and reduce the likelihood of a breakout causing entire projects to be temporarily closed down.
Some data that you can be tracking to ensure your team’s safety include:
- COVID-19 positive team members.
- Team members that have been tested and the respective dates.
- COVID-19 positive jobsites.
- Essential vs. nonessential projects.
- Furloughed team members.
Regardless of the outlook for your organization in the year ahead, it’s important to remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and having taken the steps to create a more efficient workforce and workforce planning process will greatly benefit contractors when the dust eventually settles.