How to Start the Workforce Management Evaluation Process
Post 1 | How to Start the Workforce Evaluation Process
Post 2 | The Ten Commandments of Project Execution
Post 3 | The Construction Industry’s Supervision Model is Broken (Here’s How to Fix It)
Post 4 | How My Team Restructured an Entire Electrical Contracting Firm
Did you know that the construction industry is valued at over one trillion dollars annually? Or that over $500 billion is spent on construction labor every year?
Most $500 billion industries have well-documented best practices and industry standards that provide a roadmap for company leaders to follow when it comes to resource management. Unfortunately, for construction contractors, this is not the case.
Contractors are very innovative and have developed their own proprietary methods to manage labor. Technology and construction methods are changing at an exponential rate, keeping these systems current is a large (if not impossible) task. A contractor’s area of expertise is constructing buildings, not developing software and other systems to manage labor effectively.
Why is resource management so complex?
Workforce management is very complicated with many moving parts. On each construction project, you need to:
- Understand the scope of work
- Understand the plan
- Communicate the plan to all involved
- Identify and schedule key personnel
- Communicate with project personnel throughout the project
- Stay within the budget
Now multiply these six tasks by several projects at different stages of construction and it’s easy to see how complex workforce management can be.
Why whiteboards and spreadsheets don’t work
After 43 years in the industry, I recently retired and left my position as Westphal & Company’s Vice President of Construction. For over 30 years, I oversaw the management of an electrical construction workforce that grew to 400+ electricians. And one of the things I learned in those 30 years is this: whiteboards and spreadsheets are not an effective way to organize and manage a workforce.
Believe me; I tried. I used whiteboards, access databases, spreadsheets and even Microsoft Outlook Contacts to schedule, organize and communicate to my workforce. Each of these had a strongpoint or two, but none were capable of weaving together the six tasks mentioned above. So, I spent a lot of time searching for a solution that would consolidate all aspects of workforce management onto one platform.
My Light Bulb Moment
I discovered LaborChart in late 2015 and my career changed forever.
LaborChart consolidates all the key workforce management tasks onto one platform. Finally, after years of frustration, I found the partner I needed to fulfill my vision of having a workforce management system that is efficient and expeditious and has the ability to schedule, forecast and communicate. The platform brought consistency and stability to our entire operations. LaborChart was, and continues to be, at the epicenter of the operational arm of the company.
Without LaborChart, I would have retired as a very frustrated man.
Not sure if you need a workforce management system?
If you’re frustrated with the process of any of the six tasks mentioned above, I have some questions for you to consider. I challenge you to ask yourself:
- Am I managing my workforce effectively?
- Can I diagram my workforce management system?
- Do my project managers have control and influence on their workforce?
- Do I routinely exceed my estimated labor hours and dollars on projects?
- Do I routinely experience margin fade in the last 20% of the project?
- Does my General Superintendent have time to study job costing reports?
- Am I in control and professionally managing my most valuable asset – labor?
If you answered any of these questions with a “no”, it may be time to reevaluate how you are managing and supervising your workforce.
Identifying and understanding your company’s workforce management model is a critical first step in improving your processes. It’s impossible to set a course of action without knowing what your current situation is.
Until next time,