Construction isn’t like other industries. With most companies, whether they’re 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 contractors are guessing their labor number, they’re not going to have the flexibility they need to adjust on the fly.
Whether a general or mechanical contractor employing 100 people, there’s only a few times a year that lines up exactly with the capabilities of a 100-person company. Instead, they’re yo-yoing between a workload that requires 50 people and 200 people. And they have to make all of those scenarios work.
Anybody can make cuts when times get hard. But being prepared when the opposite happens? Not so easy. Being able to scale up efficiently when presented with real opportunities and having the systems in place to handle these swings makes a huge difference.
Empowered teams rely on a sustainable, flexible approach to labor with Workforce Planning.
It’s Not Enough to Know How to Run Lean
Seasoned contractors know how to run lean. They know exactly how long they can push through with a pared down team. But while that strategy keeps them in business, it stops them from growing effectively.
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. Whether sitting in the cab of a truck or behind a desktop, the scramble is real.
The desire to be light rather than heavy when it comes to resources and labor is real, 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 the business.
Bloated contractors don’t thrive, or sometimes even survive. So conventional wisdom says that one 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. Contractors are hampered by not knowing how to hire or who is ready to be plugged onto a job with specific certification or safety requirements. Productivity suffers because of not proactively managing projects. The business is never getting ahead, just adjusting to the conditions swirling around the company.
Build a Better Approach to Workforce Planning
The nature of scaling up and scaling down on construction projects means that the size of the labor pool will fluctuate. That’s not going to change. But a digital workforce management platform manages those fluctuations, rather than getting buried beneath them.
Put already existing data to work. Keep track of the skills and competencies of labor within a system like Procore’s Workforce Planning. The right WFM solution lets contractors dive into the job history of an employee to understand what experience or certifications they can bring to bear on existing and new work. They can also understand who is working and what could be needed, and therefore the size of their potential labor pool.
Proactive management based on up-to-date, relevant information is how to gain a competitive advantage. With a better understanding of 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 WFM platform that can manage the work in your pipeline and develop better systems for earning and keeping new business.