Finding skilled workers can be a challenge for the construction industry, as the labor shortage continues to cause difficulties for many construction businesses. As we discussed last month, one way to beat the labor shortage is with smart recruiting methods including social media, networking outside the industry, and offering internships.
Another way to address the labor shortage is from the perspective of productivity. Often projects end up taking longer than they should. According to KPMG, just 25 percent of construction projects are finished on time. In addition to delays caused by weather, safety issues, design issues, material delays, and subcontractor performance, lacking enough qualified labor can also contribute to a decrease in productivity.
It is possible, though, to better use the time of the people you have by making collaboration easier. Consider this: The average knowledge worker spends 2.5 hours searching for information every day. That’s a huge number! While not all members of your construction team spend that much time, it’s very likely there are places that time gets wasted within your processes. Information might be hard to find. Communication might be unclear. The field might struggle to get what they need from the office and vice versa. Solving these problems through better collaboration can increase productivity and help keep your projects on deadline.
Assess your processes and communication methods
So what’s the first step to increasing productivity through collaboration? Figuring out where you are. First think about what your workflow and communication pain points are. Your employees will likely have some input about this. Consult with the teams in the office and the field for feedback. Keep in mind that most companies struggle with information, communication, and processes, so if you see problems, you’re not alone.
Here are some questions to consider:
- What types of technology do you use?
- Do you have software programs to store documents or do you use paper?
- What is the flow of information within your projects and throughout your company?
- What does your supply chain look like? Are there communication gaps?
- Can everyone involved in a project access the information they need quickly?
- At what points in your processes do people spend extra time looking for what they need?
Enable collaboration with technology
Once you have a sense of the status quo, you can start finding solutions to the productivity bottlenecks in your business. The best way to streamline processes and communication frequently involves technology.
The construction industry is evolving, so some companies have adopted a lot of new technology, while others still largely rely on paper. By moving critical documents into a cloud-based solution, you make it possible for all stakeholders to access what they need when and where they need it. Information becomes easily accessible, and less time is spent tracking things down.
Technology solutions can also make it possible to keep track of communication, search and audit project materials, and set up automated notifications at relevant points in your projects.
Smoothly handle change orders
One big struggle for construction companies is that project changes affect productivity. That’s significant because according to the Independent Project Analysis Group, 35 percent of all construction projects involve a major change of some kind. When a change occurs, everyone involved in the project needs to be updated, and designs and materials may need to change. Technology can help everyone get on the same page and work together.
At Viewpoint, we’ve been helping construction companies collaborate with software solutions for 35 years. Learn more about how our technology can help the office, team, and field collaborate and be more productive in our recent webinar.