Lately, productivity has been a major focus in the construction industry. Why? Despite being one of the world’s largest economic sectors and employing 7 percent of the world’s population, recent studies show that construction efficiency is lower than it was in the 1990’s. According to a 2017 study by the McKinsey Global Institute, if productivity in construction improved by just 2.8%, the construction industry would grow by $1.6 trillion. But where exactly do we start? This article looks at what construction productivity involves and provides tips to improve it.
What is Construction Productivity?
In economics, productivity measures output per unit of input, such as labor, capital, or any other resource. So using that principle, construction productivity measures the rate at which construction work is performed, per the labor, materials, equipment, energy, and capital required to produce it.
Each one of these units of input can also be broken down to its own individual productivity measurement. For example, construction labor productivity looks at how many man-hours it takes to complete a particular task or project, and so on.
So why does construction productivity matter? When construction productivity increases, projects meet their deadlines and stay on budget. That means better profits for construction companies in the long run.
With so many factors, measuring construction productivity can be extremely difficult, and in recent years, is the reason why many construction companies have turned to digital solutions to help them measure and improve their productivity.
How to Improve Construction Productivity
1. Invest in construction software
Let’s face it: There are a lot of moving parts to every project. Not only do you have to make sure everything at the jobsite is taken care of, you also have to make sure you stay updated—even when you’re away or at the office.
Construction software helps you track the progress of your projects from anywhere. Some even come with a mobile app, so field crews can fill out their daily reports, surveys, and checklists on the go. With all your documentation stored online, it’ll be easy to spot any potential issues early to keep projects on schedule—and within budget. More visibility means better decisions.
When choosing construction software, be sure to involve your field crews from the beginning. They’ll have a different perspective on how easy to use (or not) your potential software is. Because they’re the ones logging the important jobsite data, it’s crucial to get their stamp of approval. Especially since their workflows will change, too.
2. Focus on better safety training
According to a publication by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), better safety means better productivity. Injuries and other hazards can cost big—and throw projects off course.
Developing a good safety program to educate your workers is key. Hold toolbox talks regularly to start the conversation. Upload custom safety and inspection checklists so they can easily fill them out from the field. After all, promoting safety is a team effort.
Don’t forget—safety and health protocols change (like in the case of COVID-19). Review and update your safety program often to keep everyone in the loop.
3. Streamline your documentation
Make sure to clearly document everything about your projects—for you and your clients. When your reporting is solid, it’s easy to see your total productivity, quality measures taken, and safety protocols followed.
Knowing exactly how much you’re producing is the first step to improving your processes. Clean documentation also gives you an opportunity to lower costs, and make more competitive bids. Like we mentioned before, construction software makes collecting data easier.
4. Constantly look for new integrations
“The more, the merrier” holds true for construction tech. New apps and solutions are constantly released to improve your construction efficiency. A lot of them do one thing (or a few) really well.
Build your construction tech stack to streamline your workflows. Compare products to see what would work best for your business. Try a few things out. With integrations, you’ll save time and money in the long run—and collaborate better among your team.
5. Listen to your crew's feedback
Collaboration doesn’t stop with implementing new workflows. Everyone has an opinion—and where there are opinions, there are opportunities to improve.
Construction software works differently for the field and the office. That’s why it’s important to get your crew's feedback. Showing them you care about their opinions (and make choices with them in mind) will build team confidence and motivation. It can even pave the way for career and leadership development.
Your workers are your greatest assets. When everyone is working well together, productivity will skyrocket. And, as a result, your projects will get even better.
Boost your productivity and project quality with Raken
Raken helps you showcase your team’s hard work (and enhance it).
Our digital tools like production tracking, safety checklists, and toolbox talks will give you better insights into your projects. They’re easy to use in the field, too. With cleaner field data, you can make better decisions to keep projects on track—and win future bids.
To see for yourself, schedule a personalized demo today.
Want more free tips for productivity? Check out our free eBook, A Guide to Measuring Productivity.