Workforce Management Takes Guessing Out of the Labor Equation

There is no magic number for labor

Quit guessing.

Construction isn’t like other industries. With most companies, whether that’s selling jackets or making pizzas, they’re handling the exact amount of work their business is designed to handle. Construction is the opposite. There are too many factors that can change the course of a project. And if you’re guessing your labor number, you’re not going to have the flexibility you need to adjust on the fly. 

If you’re a general or mechanical contractor employing 100 people, there’s only a few times a year that the work you have lines up exactly with the capabilities of a 100-person company. (Nodding at the screen, aren’t you?) Instead, you’re probably yo-yoing between a workload that requires 50 people and 200 people. And you have to make all of those scenarios work. 

Why is Scaling Labor Up So Hard?

Anybody can make cuts when times get hard. But are you prepared when the opposite happens? Do you know how to scale up efficiently when you’re presented with real opportunities? More importantly, do you have the systems in place to handle these swings?  

Stop getting caught flat-footed when you try to flex up. Empower your teams to build a sustainable, flexible approach to labor with a cloud-based workforce management platform

It’s Not Enough to Know How to Run Lean 

Seasoned contractors know how to run lean. You likely know exactly how long you can push through with a pared down team. But while that strategy keeps you in business, it stops you from growing your business

The construction industry follows the laws of supply and demand; but the challenge is that there’s often not enough time, labor or resources to meet the demand at the exact moment it arises. And whether you’re sitting in the cab of your truck or behind a desktop, the scramble is real. 

I understand the desire to be light rather than heavy when it comes to resources and labor. Because when equipment and people are sitting idle, costs can add up quickly. But making labor a binary choice, wherein you’re either light or heavy, has some very real consequences below the surface of your business. 

Bloated contractors don’t thrive, or sometimes even survive. So conventional wisdom says that you should always err on the side of less people. Unfortunately that’s the kind of thinking that prevents contractors from getting ahead of things.

Getting caught flat-footed has a clear impact on your bottom line. You’re hampered by not knowing how to hire or who is ready to be plugged onto a job with specific certification or safety requirements. Your productivity suffers because you’re not proactively managing projects. You’re never getting ahead. You’re just adjusting to the conditions swirling around your company.

Build a Better Approach to Labor 

The nature of scaling up and scaling down on construction projects means that the size of your labor pool will fluctuate. That’s not going to change. But a digital workforce management platform is how you manage those fluctuations, rather than get buried beneath them. 

Put the data to work that you already have about your organization. You can keep track of the skills and competencies of your labor within a system like LaborChart. The right workforce management solution lets you dive into the job history of an employee to understand what experience or certifications they can bring to bear on existing and new work. You can also understand who is working and what could be needed; and therefore the size or your potential labor pool. 

Proactive management based on up-to-date, relevant information is how you gain a competitive advantage. With a better understanding of your needs and a definitive labor plan, your contracting firm will be better positioned for growth because you’ll be able to identify exactly what is required to take on additional projects.  

Be more nimble. Be more opportunistic. Get confidence with a cloud-based workforce management platform that you can manage the work in your pipeline and develop better systems for earning and keeping new business. 

Quit guessing when it comes to labor. Stop trying to pull numbers out of your hard hat. Contact us for a demo.

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Ben Schultz is founder and CEO of LaborChart. Prior to LaborChart, Ben was a fourth generation electrical contractor for 12 years. He's a husband, a father of three, and enjoys playing golf, spending time with family, and coaching his kids' sports.

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