Construction is a $10 trillion industry that shows steady growth year over year, but labor productivity in the U.S. is lower than it was 50 years ago. When you combine lagging labor productivity with a labor shortage, there’s no question why contractors are feeling rising pressures to get the most out of their workforce.
Because of the dynamic nature of construction, projects are often won or lost in the planning stage. With labor accounting for 20-40% of a project’s total cost, improving the effectiveness of a contractor’s workforce planning is one of the best ways to protect margins.
How does workforce planning look now?
For the last 20 years, workforce planning has almost exclusively been managed by one member of the operations team using a series of spreadsheets. In some cases, basic point-solutions are also used to schedule project teams but, similar to spreadsheets, the shortcomings remain consistent:
- Lack of accessibility makes collaboration nearly impossible.
- Applications become highly personalized, making information hard to digest for the larger team.
- No insight into workforce utilization, leading to unnecessary overhead costs.
- Tedious to maintain, leaving little time to plan ahead.
- Forecasting project demand can quickly become inaccurate, putting future projects at risk.
“We go into our staffing meetings with a spreadsheet and a wild guess,” Vice President at a Top 50 ENR contracting company.
If that sounds familiar, fear not. There is a positive takeaway for spreadsheet users – opportunity.
The current approach to the project journey
The journey a project currently takes through its lifecycle is lined with many challenges:
- Blind bidding – Without insight into workforce availability, skills, experience, and client relationships, the bidding strategy often becomes ‘Bid more to win more’.
- Workforce plans – Projects have been awarded, now comes the challenge of forecasting the workforce demands and understanding the impact to the project pipeline. These challenges get amplified when projects start with late crew build-up, resulting in a 10% decrease in productivity.
- Project delivery – Challenges when ramping resources up and down and managing project teams when delays happen will eat away at a project’s profitability.
The strategic approach
Bridgit has built the leading workforce intelligence platform built exclusively for construction – Bridgit Bench. While workforce planning in construction is complex, our goal is simple: help contractor’s maximize profits and reduce risk by taking a peoplefirst approach.
By combining deeper insight into workforce availability with holistic views of their entire project pipeline, we’re helping contractors of all sizes by bringing their people to the forefront of their strategic decisions – where they belong. Here’s how we’re reshaping the project journey:
- Workforce intelligence – Contractors are using people and project delivery data to inform future bids and team composition.
- Selective bidding – Contractors are able to forecast project demand, collaborate on pursuits, and pursue the right projects for their team more aggressively.
- Project delivery – Contractors are able to easily ramp resources up and down, and adapt their workforce strategy to maintain utilization.
The best part about this strategic approach is that it’s cyclical. Every project helps inform future bids and project delivery.
People are the foundation of every team’s success
Collaborating on strategy is nearly impossible when contractors aren’t using the right tool for the job. At Bridgit, we recognize that nearly every department’s success is dependent on people and having access to the right information. We’re helping to foster more meaningful discussions and enable cross-functional collaboration.
While most of our customers transitioned from a single-user approach to workforce planning, here’s a glimpse at the teams now using workforce intelligence to inform their work:
Operations teams are using workforce data and analytics to build stronger project teams based on experience and skills and allocate resources more effectively with utilization oversight.
Executive teams now have a holistic view of their workforce strategy and project pipeline. They can identify any gaps in the pipeline. Tracking project pursuits means a better understanding of where they win, lose, and which projects are most profitable.
Preconstruction teams are planning roles and allocations for future projects. This benefits the estimating team by better understanding the available team members and their experience. This helps to put forward more enticing bids and avoid late crew build-up.
Human resources teams are looking at project demand and comparing it against their workforce capacity. By identifying pinch points where demand exceeds supply HR teams can create informed recruitment strategies and avoid last minute hiring.
Learn more about Workforce Intelligence from Bridgit: gobridg.it/agc