The construction industry has been forced to change and adapt as the COVID-19 pandemic affected everything from material availability to projects being called off completely. While the pandemic is still not over, the industry is slowly beginning to return to some level of normalcy.
So where does that leave you as a subcontractor? In this article, we’ll take a look at how subcontractors are still being affected and why production is a trending topic.
Challenges subcontractors are facing in the construction industry:
If you’re in construction, you know times are still filled with uncertainty. Here’s a few major issues subcontractors are facing:
With steel and lumber in short supply—and selling well above average prices—subcontractors are struggling to make a profit while supplies are overpriced. While prices are starting to come down, they are expected to remain high for at least the rest of 2021.
Along with a shortage of supplies, transport is also struggling to keep up with the demand. COVID-19 put a pause to a lot of shipping, and starting back up will take time. Until then, subcontractor businesses can continue to expect material delays.
In-house construction labor creates a competitive market
Many subcontractors have already felt the effects of this competitive market. With high project price tags, and a long list of uncertainties, general contractors are trying to do as much construction labor as possible in house. This has left many subcontractor businesses competing for the limited number of jobs left.
Why digital production tracking software will win out
With so much to navigate in the current environment, it’s imperative that subcontractors do everything they can to stay organized. Having organized project management not only helps build a positive relationship with general contractors, but also makes subcontractors’ lives easier—we’re talking less headaches throughout a project, and a greater financial return at the end of a project.
Production tracking is a major component of project management, and something that will help keep projects moving forward despite material delays and fluctuating prices. And with technology continuing to prove an asset in construction projects, digital production tracking especially stands out.
Here’s a few reasons why digital production tracking will continue to prove especially useful:
Saves money with real-time data
Production tracking includes tracking the use and cost of:
- Equipment (both rented and owned)
- Hours worked
Being able to easily log all this data using an app means you’ll never forget to go write it down later, or have trouble reading your notes hours later. It also means you can quickly tell if rented equipment isn’t getting as much use as expected, or if labor productivity isn't where it needs to be. And any data you collect can be applied to individual cost codes, so you can easily tell if specific cost codes are on track.
Being able to not only log—but also access data on each cost code in real time—means you can make informed decisions about how to spend time and resources. Making these fact-based decisions means your time and money are being used efficiently, and it can even help you plan and improve your future projects, too. Production tracking for construction subcontractors means better project management—by simply logging data into a mobile app.
Project management helps navigate supply chain delays
Being able to know on a daily basis exactly how much concrete was poured, or how much rebar was installed, means you’ll know exactly how well your materials are stocked.
All of this means you have the data to plan ahead—and ideally avoid long delays and stalling projects. While the supply chain continues to be unpredictable, production tracking can help you plan ahead so you can minimize construction project delays.
In the event of delays, digital production tracking and time cards can help you document (and prove) exactly what did and didn’t happen on the jobsite—which can come in handy in case of any disputes. Having time-stamped, approved digital documentation can help make sure your construction crews get compensated fairly and accurately.
Provides construction project transparency
Despite your best efforts, some material shipments will be exceptionally late, and some material prices will continue to soar—leaving you without a lot of options to stay under budget and on time.
One thing that will prove invaluable despite project complications is great communication.
With some subcontractors concealing labor shortages and their lack of insurance, general contractors are becoming increasingly wary of working with subcontractors who may become a liability later on.
Being upfront about where your crew stands, and managing expectations from the start, goes a long way. But add to that daily reporting on labor productivity and production insights? That level of communication and transparency will make your team invaluable.
Start tracking your production
If you’re ready to improve production efficiency and communication, start by trialing a few different tracking software options.
Digital technology is meant to make your life easier, so look for options that are easy to pick up and use within the trial period. Look for software that you can see yourself, and your team, easily using throughout the workday to document real-time data. Any effective production tracking will need to document hours, materials, and equipment used during construction—whereas waiting until the end of the day, or for a break, to document production may result in incomplete (and ineffective) data. By using construction tracking software, you can always provide accurate reports on project progress in real time.
Not sure what construction technology to trial first? Raken is an app you can use from a mobile device to easily track job productivity. While it was created to easily capture production data in the field, it also provides powerful insights and visuals when you’re at a desk. We also offer a 14-day trial so you can test it out for yourself.