Improving Construction Productivity in 5 Simple Steps

  • 5 min read
  • 5 min read
What is the secret to improving construction productivity? Why is it that one job can go so smoothly but another can feel like a disaster?
What is the secret to improving construction productivity? Why is it that one job can go so smoothly but another can feel like a disaster?

Accurate Time Tracking Is So Much Easier With Workyard

    What is the secret to improving construction productivity? Why is it that one job can go so smoothly but another can feel like a disaster?

    In the UK, an analysis of construction productivity discovered that the productivity of two teams doing identical jobs on different sites varied by up to 500%.

    In this article, we’ll cover five steps toward improving construction crew productivity: 

    Construction productivity can be negatively affected by poor construction planning, spotty communication, and continuous overtime. But the good news is that there’s a lot of room for improvement.

    Let’s take a look at five steps you can use to improve your construction crew management before your next job. 

    Find Out Where Your Time Is Going

    Begin by figuring out how much of your time is “productive” time. According to an AutoDesk report, 45% of construction professionals believe that they spend more time than expected on non-optimal activities. They spend 35% of their time on non-productive activities—hunting down information, dealing with mistakes, and organizing reworks.

    Across all your employees, how much time is being spent on administrative tasks and meetings rather than on-site labor? Work toward the goal of reducing the time spent on activities that don’t generate revenue. Employee time theft can also become a problem if you don’t have good systems to track time and understand exactly where its being spent.

    Next Steps
    • Use Workyard to track on-site and off-site hours based on GPS location.
    • Analyze administrative and off-site time to identify potential areas of improvement.
    • Survey employees after a project regarding whether they believe their time was used suboptimally and why.

    Estimate Your Man-Hour Construction Productivity

    Man-hour productivity can be used to identify your most productive employees and teams. Man-hour productivity is an analysis of every cost involved in a project, including supplies, and broken down by the total hours worked. To calculate man-hour productivity you’ll need to make you have calculated your fully burdened labor rate to ensure you are covering the complete cost of labor.

    One team may take 10 hours to complete a project but use up to $2,000 in supplies. Another team may take 20 hours to complete a project but use only $1,000 in supplies. Man-hour productivity tells you not only which teams are faster but which teams are more precise. 

    Next Steps
    • Use Workyard to track how long workers and teams are spending on similar projects.
    • Identify the teams that appear to be most successful at completing projects on time.
    • Audit your supply costs by site as another productivity factor.

    Improve Your Scheduling Processes

    In Autodesk’s construction report, 68% of trades cited scheduling as a major reason for poor productivity. About 60% of general contractors say that they encounter issues with communication and coordination that they believe lead to decreased productivity.

    In the construction industry, scheduling is frequently completed through phone calls, text messages, and emails. Not only can this be confusing for team members, but it can make it hard for a business to scale. With the right technology, everyone in the organization has access to the same real-time schedule. Also consider implementing more flexible work schedules such as the 4/10 work schedule or the 9/80 work schedule, in certain businesses these types of work arrangements can actually boost productivity.

    Next Steps
    • Use Workyard to provide employees with real-time scheduling data.
    • Deploy your team members more effectively with location information provided via Workyard’s GPS.
    • Keep your scheduling and your communications confined to a consolidated system.

    Provide Performance-Based Incentives

    Hourly employees are not always incentivized to work faster. If you want your company to have a “culture of productivity,” you may need to provide performance-based incentives.

    A persistent issue in construction productivity is that employees will frequently make more if projects experience delays. Not only do the projects themselves take longer but employees increase the chances of running into time and a half pay.

    Provide performance-based incentives to foster a culture of productivity and ensure that employees see the benefits of completing jobs faster.

    Next Steps
    • Use Workyard, along with your man-hour productivity estimates, to identify and reward your most productive team members.
    • Provide group incentives and bonuses for teams that complete projects on time.
    • Audit projects that aren’t completed on time for ways in which teams can improve.

    Keep Your Overtime to a Minimum

    Overtime can significantly increase construction costs and reduce productivity—more money is being spent on the same labor. It’s important to track and calculate overtime accurately to keep this cost to a minimum. If not proactively managed it’s also common for overtime costs to balloon, most employees love the extra earning’s that come with racking up overtime hours! Be careful to not try to use comp time to minimize your overtime costs with non-exempt W2 employees as this is not legal and will get you into trouble with the department of labor.

    When employee time is accurately tracked, it’s easier to provide accurate estimates and identify potential overtime before it occurs. When employees are appropriately cross-trained, it is easier to deploy labor that isn’t at risk of running into overtime. 

    Next Steps
    • Use Workyard’s construction time tracking software, to accurately capture time, calculate overtime and eliminate over reported hours.Cross-train employees and deploy them as needed to avoid unnecessary overtime.Audit prior projects that ran into overtime for potential causes and solutions.

    Better Construction Crew Productivity With Workyard

    According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 70% of contractors believe that the right technology can be used to improve construction productivity and construction scheduling.

    Workyard makes it easy to improve productivity:

    • Gain a better understanding of where your employee hours are being spent.
    • Identify and reward workers and teams with higher levels of productivity.
    • Improve your scheduling processes and your communication.
    • Reduce and control your overtime costs
    • Automatic time clock rules for hourly employees that help you stay compliant.

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