If you’ve worked at a contracting firm, there’s always a whiteboard. It’s hanging in the office of the superintendent covered in sticky notes. Maybe you’ve upgraded to a magnetic whiteboard with tiles you can swap in and out. Or it stretches the length of the job site trailer and you can still see the dry erase marks from the previous project.
Hanging onto whiteboards past their expiration date can have real consequences on morale and the bottom line of your company. Static whiteboards lock up key information that in the hands of the right people at your company could easily unlock value in projects and improve your management of labor.
I talk to contractors daily. I understand why it can feel hard to destroy your whiteboard. But, it’s time to consider a cloud-based workforce management platform because digital labor management is the future of construction.
Moving to a digital workforce management platform is not only easier, it’s going to make you wonder why you ever used a whiteboard in the first place. Read on to discover exactly what I mean.
1. We’ve Always Used a Whiteboard
Habits are a hard thing to break. I know that if you have a whiteboard, you can still get the work done. You’re going to find a way to get the people on and off a project. But if you’re scheduling labor, it’s going to eat up hours in your day and feel like you’re endlessly working the phone or email to move a few people.
What if you’re getting the work done in spite of your whiteboard? A blunt tool works; but it doesn’t work nearly as well as it did when you first started using it. If your business has grown or you manage multiple projects, your whiteboard has lost its edge.
There’s a better way to manage labor because the contractors who built LaborChart started a company in 2014 that acknowledged the flaws in a whiteboard and set out to correct them. The digital whiteboard in LaborChart improves labor visibility and transparency, helps eliminate data entry errors and provides critical information to your team in real-time.
Don’t confuse complacency for tradition. Give your people the right tools for the job.
2. I Can See My Whiteboard Every Day
The key point here is that you can see your whiteboard every day. But what about the rest of your team in the field and the office?
Whiteboards can unintentionally wall off information. Whiteboards can also turn project managers into gatekeepers, making it harder to share project data at check-in meetings or multiple job sites.
A digital workforce management platform provides everyone on your team with the same information in real-time. Instead of key project details being locked away in a superintendent’s mind, you now have secure, cloud-based storage. When everyone in your company is working from the same set of facts, you can more easily align expectations and manage costs.
At LaborChart, we understand that some information—health conditions or wage rates for labor—does need to be kept private. That’s why we built in customizable fields and permission levels, so people can see the information they need without gaining access to sensitive employee data. In fact, customizable permission levels are more secure than a whiteboard that’s out in the open and may inadvertently reveal details that you would rather express in person or not at all.
3. It’s Going to Be Hard to Replace Our Whiteboard
It sounds overwhelming to move from a physical whiteboard to a digital whiteboard. You might think you’re not tech savvy or in need of a technology upgrade. But if you want to develop objective standards, ways to measure job productivity over time and learn about what has worked for your company on past projects, you need a digital platform to track that information.
Tony Vielhauer, a project foreman with Nebel Construction Services, Inc., shared your worries. He hadn’t made the leap from whiteboard, even though he was spending hours every day to make sure projects were staffed properly, because he was concerned about the challenges of moving his company’s information to a new system. LaborChart’s team helped the specialty contractor based in Lenexa, Kansas, import data and provided dedicated support in the early stages of Nebel’s transition.
“I’m not an IT person at all; but it was so simple that anybody can do it,” Vielhauer told LaborChart.
Check out our Nebel case study to see how Vielhauer is now saving more than 12 hours a week using LaborChart. And learn about QuickConnect, which can integrate your existing software with our platform in as little as five days.
4. It’s Going to Be Expensive to Replace Our Whiteboard
It probably feels like your whiteboard is an inexpensive solve for a big line item: labor costs. And replacing a physical board with digital labor management sounds like an expensive proposition.
Spoiler alert: It’s not expensive. In fact, you’re likely spending more money keeping your whiteboard than you would installing LaborChart.
But why is that? Because you’re not accounting for the amount of time that, in some cases, your highest paid employees are spending on administrative tasks. The hours that go into assigning labor, tracking labor and scheduling projects add up quickly. Prime Build director Tim Thompson saved three to four hours a week by using LaborChart to present updates on regional projects and the overall job situation at his contracting firm during weekly meetings.
LaborChart can help you realize time and cost savings that don’t just pay for the platform; but pay long-term dividends that will boost your bottom line. When Westphal & Co. needed a way to manage projects across 15 states, they turned to LaborChart. Read our Westphal case study to see how the electrical and technologies contractor achieved a 20X return on their investment.
5. It’s Easier to Use a Whiteboard
I hear all the time that whiteboards are easier. And they do seem easier, if you’re just thinking about the day-to-day with a dry erase marker in hand.
Whiteboards aren’t easier. They’re just what you have right now. Track the time you spend updating a white board each day. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I’m still waiting. Because it’s probably more than an hour. It’s not continuous, so you don’t see how your minutes leak away over the course of a day and a week and a month. You also don’t see how you can be making errors because you keep getting pulled in other directions while you’re attempting to manage labor. Fires don’t wait for the previous fire to be extinguished. Problems happen when they happen and, as a result, mistakes happen too.
A digital workforce management platform takes the process of data entry and makes it more reliable and trackable. You can still control who can adjust assignments or move people around jobs. With LaborChart, you have a way to directly communicate those moves to people in the office or the field through text messaging, email or in-app alerts. You can also send those assignments as real-time updates, while you’re adjusting your labor profile.
Stop worrying that change can be difficult. Find out what’s possible instead by reaching out to us at LaborChart. Schedule a demo. Let us show you exactly how your life can be better without a whiteboard.