Business

Why Most Construction Companies Don’t Really Know What People Are Working On

Managing the efforts of a large team of people is often regarded as one of the most demanding skills in business. Managing different employees performing diverse job roles in a collaborative environment often takes a toll on project managers or supervisors, especially if they are fighting against antiquated systems. This is a general observation across industries, but the biggest challenges arise in labor-intensive sectors like the construction industry. A construction project involves hundreds of different job roles within multiple departments. Depending on the project size and complexity, these people could be spread across functions and even locations.

Such fragmentation in job roles is itself a nightmare for project managers and site supervisors. Assigning work responsibilities and schedules is just one part of the problem. But that can somehow be managed and streamlined from learnings in the past. However, the biggest hurdle is tracking and managing people while they are deployed at a site.

In most cases, supervisors or project managers cannot clearly identify what a particular employee is working on at a site or what they have put in as effort on any given day.

But why does this problem arise? Let us examine four major reasons.

Inefficient Effort Tracking

Most construction businesses rely on manual tracking of effort spent by employees on work sites. From a digital perspective, the only tools that some companies leverage are Microsoft Excel or a similar spreadsheet.

The problem with such an approach is that there could be very high chances of error and manipulation with data entries. Biased supervisor behavior towards different employees and fraudulent influences by internal or external entities could result in effort tracking data being manipulated.

Supervisors will not be able to account for gaps in time sheets owing to a lack of proper verification or tamper-proof data records. Ultimately this will lead to losses for the business as client projects may face completion delays even though the estimated construction period and effort scale is achieved or exceeded.

Manual Attendance Tracking

In addition to effort and time tracking, daily attendance logs too can be a considerable challenge when managed manually in a construction project. Companies that do not implement attendance management or any other automatic employee verification mechanism at the work site may find it hard to keep a check on resource availability on any given day. The biggest challenge that may stem from this scenario is the inability of supervisors to quickly make changes to resource allocation depending on dynamic needs.

For example, a sudden change in the plans of any department with regard to their daily schedule will result in the need for extra labor. However, without a trusted framework for tracking worker attendance, site supervisors or labor contractors will not be able to quickly assemble workers from other areas to support the change in plans.

Field-Time Tracking

Going deeper into work roles and specific responsibilities on the floor, there are instances where manual management of fieldwork data can become complex. Workers may inaccurately record the time spent on the field or on extra duty. This results in wrong entries that go into work-billing charts, ultimately billing clients for unproductive work — a recipe for disaster when an audit occurs.

Indeed, inaccurate field time needs to be eliminated as it directly influences payroll management and billing.

Lack of Data Integrity

This umbrella principle applies to all other areas we have covered so far in this blog. There are scenarios in the construction sector that result in the extensive use of manual approaches in time and effort tracking as well as attendance and field activity. This results in multiple data streams existing for the same work measurement metrics, such as time.

Different departments like HR, finance, compliance, audit, etc. rely on this data for more critical business processes. Without a unified view of data and without consistency, there could be a series of cascading challenges throughout the organization over time due to a lack of data integrity.

Digitalizing Construction Project Management – The Way Forward

The construction sector’s inability to manage the effort and time of workers and schedules often leads to escalating project costs and negative client impressions. The absence of transparent visibility into the hours billed against the right time entries must be eliminated at all costs to help turn around customer impressions.

For this, the best option is to encourage the use of modern digital solutions in construction project management. Such solutions enable multiple stakeholders to access a single source of truth with regard to work measurement metrics.

The integrated system can automatically pull out the information required for multiple processes in different departments and help maintain accountability and transparency. From enabling easier audit of time records to tracking field hours with dedicated smartphone apps, modern digital solutions help construction companies achieve seamless operational excellence.

Get in touch with us to explore a range of construction management software that can help automate end-to-end processes and workflows in the industry.

Book a free demo to get a first-hand experience of how digital solutions can help construction companies stay connected with their workers at all times and improve the billing experience for clients.