The Era of Workforce Management is Here

A construction worker holds a hardhat against their side in front of a backdrop of a building and constellations.

The world has changed dramatically in the past three decades. Yet, the construction industry hasn’t adapted to our rapidly changing world. Case in point? This article that cites a 2019 study from Dodge & Data Analytics, which showed 90 percent of contractors “do not specifically budget for innovation.” 

Over the past 20 years, contractors have implemented software solutions for managing estimating and accounting. And these achievements have helped contractors modernize their organizations. 

But now that contractors have adopted estimating and accounting softwares, what’s next? How do you ensure that your company keeps up with the speed of our modern world? 

The next step for contractors is to adopt workforce management software. 

Digital workforce management software, such as LaborChart, can fundamentally change the way contractors manage, assign, communicate with, track and measure their workforce. Similarly to what contractors experienced when they adopted estimating and accounting software, adopting workforce management software can make contractors even faster, smarter, more productive, more efficient and ultimately, more profitable.

Let’s take a look at how the construction industry has adopted software to understand why the digital labor management is the future for both general and specialty contractors. 

2000 to 2010: The Era of Estimating  

A computer icon, the years 2000-2010, and the words “estimating software,” beneath a blue arrow.

Estimating software was created to solve the need for accurate project costs. Contractors were looking for a way to get information off their drawings and into a spreadsheet. Estimators had to account for each piece of material to understand the true costs of a project and margins. 

While Trimble’s Accubid and McCormick’s systems proved popular among electrical contractors, every trade developed its own estimating software. Management teams drove the adoption of estimating software because it provided a more efficient and repeatable way to understand your company’s cost to complete a scope of work or project.  

2010 to 2020: Accounting & Enterprise Resource Planning Arrives 

A blue arrow with the words “estimating software,” and the years 2000 to 2010, leading to a grey arrow with the words “ERP/Accounting Software,” and the years 2010 to 2020.

The digitization of the construction industry didn’t stop with estimating. Accounting/Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software arrived in the following decade with the promise of more efficient accounting systems. 

ERP platforms like Viewpoint create a way to digitally manage a company’s finances, including payroll, accounts receivable and accounts payable. Financial teams, Human Resources teams and technical operations teams led the adoption and rollout of ERP software. The only thing missing in most Accounting/ERPs is the management of the workforce.

2020 to 2030: The Time for Digital Workforce Management  

A blue arrow with the words “estimating software,” and the years 2000 to 2010, leading to a grey arrow with the words “ERP/Accounting Software,” and the years 2010 to 2020, which then points to an orange arrow with the words “workforce management software,” and the years 2020 to 2030.

While software has been built to address the recurring tasks of invoicing and managing materials, the construction industry hasn’t widely adopted workforce management software platforms. The time is now for contractors to start addressing their biggest costs and biggest potential risks by gaining direct and actionable insight into their workforce. Digital workforce management platforms provide real-time information about the mix of skills and size of workforce on each project. 

While some contractors have retrofitted spreadsheets to manage their labor, no true digital solution was widely available until about five years ago. When LaborChart was established in 2014, a workforce management solution built specifically for contractors was finally available. 

Bringing the Software Together

As new software is introduced, so does the opportunity to integrate data from each platform. Workforce management systems like LaborChart integrate seamlessly with Accounting/ERP software, Project Management software and many other web-based solutions. These software integrations allow you to sync workforce management data with accounting data, so you can make decisions with complete information about the time, materials and labor needed for existing and future projects.

This is the moment when you can build a smarter system to ensure that you have the right people on the right job at the right time. A digital workforce management platform automates your labor scheduling while also leveraging the existing infrastructure you’ve built to manage your estimating and accounting. Don’t wait. Schedule a demo of LaborChart today.

Watch our latest workforce management videos.

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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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