Contractors struggle with production tracking because it’s simply difficult to manage and execute within the complexities of construction project delivery. Even the best set plans run into continuous obstacles, and teams have to be better positioned to troubleshoot and make timely decisions to control costs and keep projects on schedule.
Workflows between the office and field are riddled with paperwork and remain disconnected using tools prone to mistakes. General contractors, subcontractors, and field workers experience miscommunication daily, so how do you accurately track and analyze construction labor costs for optimal labor productivity?
How do you eliminate data silos caused by paperwork, email, texting, and other manual processes and enable consistent communication between the back office and the field?
To overcome today’s industry challenges and consistently hit production targets, you need to apply these seven best practices for increasing profits with better production tracking.
1. Know your benchmarks
Benchmarking is a tool that measures construction performance, and there are several styles of benchmarks. The most useful for production tracking is project benchmarking.
Project benchmarking is the method in which project performance is assessed. There are two different ways to measure productivity rates. One is daily minimum production tracking, and the other is dynamic production tracking.
2. Daily minimum production tracking
Calculating daily minimum production is one type of strategy that helps set production goals. This calculation is quite straightforward.
Why? Because it determines the least amount of work that should get done per day. To find this number, all you have to do is pick a task, then observe how long it takes for the task to get done.
Tracking daily minimum production works best if the crew size stays the same. It also works for tasks that take up a large amount of time.
For projects that have several concurrent phases running, a dynamic production tracking approach is best to use.
3. Dynamic production tracking
Dynamic production tracking is best suited for projects that have many components. And most do. Think of it as a more itemized approach to production tracking.
First, everything must break down into specific tasks. Then, you can determine how long each task should take to complete.
After that, you can establish a target goal for each task. For example, this could look something like “10 feet of piping laid per hour.”
From there, you can come up with the daily production number. How? By combining each factor in production.
4. Dig into the details
Tracking production isn’t only about knowing how long it takes to complete certain tasks. It’s also about considering a variety of factors in your calculations that will affect productivity.
In order to know what could aid or hinder your calculations, you need to write in detail. More details create more accurate benchmarks, which affect cost code level production data. Both of these factors are used in your estimations, so their accuracy is important.
Detailed observations are more accurate, and will lead to reachable goals. Stab-in-the-dark-guesses will lead to setbacks. Why? Because goals aren’t based in factual calculations.
Of course, there are other factors outside of your own control that can slow down or stop production. To account for surprises, consider these what-if scenarios in your production tracking calculations:
- Bad weather
- Late delivery of materials
- Shortage of supplies
- Shortages in labor
- Breaking equipment
- Delays in the permit process
You should also factor in non-production time. Days when the focus is on prefabrication work may not need a full crew. But, they still account for some of the cost within your budget. The same thing goes for the cleanup crew.
5. Asses the full scope of the issue
If things are moving behind schedule, don’t panic. Find out what the source of the problem is, then address the issue. After all, the problem may not have anything to do with the actual productivity of the workers themselves.
Late deliveries on materials or undefined production goals are circumstances that delay production. And, neither of those circumstances is the fault of the employee.
Give the benefit of the doubt to your workers to keep morale up, and to keep your blood pressure down. Falling behind is a problem if your goals are pushed back for more than a week. That’s why it’s a good idea to overestimate production time rather than underestimate.
6. Software helps you stay organized
Now, that you know the various components of production tracking, you’re going to need a place to store those bits of information in an organized way. That’s where production tracking software comes in handy.
Using a software program will increase overall productivity. How? Because you won’t be spending hours filling in every detail and crunching numbers manually on the archaic spreadsheet. Software will allow you to have more time in the field, and less time in the office.
A good software program will be cloud-based. When you’re out in the field, you may not always have access to data that’s stuck on an office computer. Or, if you’re inputting data, you don’t want to have to spend time transcribing the same data to a different device.
That’s why cloud-based software is crucial. You and anyone else that’s using the software can have access to the information you provide on many platforms.
7. Take action before you miss another deadline
Knowing how to effectively track production will make your construction firm more productive and profitable. You’ll be more adept at setting attainable goals, which is a fundamental aspect of production tracking.
If you want to stay on top of your competition, try out Rhumbix. You’ll get the best tools to help you collect and organize the data, all at your fingertips.
Contact us for more information on the best productive tracking equipment for your office and field.