6 Steps to achieving effective resource management

6 Steps to achieving effective resource management

It’s undeniable that 2020 was a difficult year for the construction industry. We faced a global pandemic that disrupted nearly every aspect of our day-to-day lives. Businesses closed, the economy took a hit, working from home became the new norm, and construction projects slowed to a halt. However, construction is one of (if not the most) resilient industries.

Dodge Data and Analytics recently published their 2021 construction outlook to shed some light on the year ahead. While the construction industry is expecting to rebound from the shutdowns caused by COVID-19, the recovery is expected to be slow and unlikely to accelerate in the first half of the year.

It isn’t all bad news, though. According to the report, residential construction was the least impacted by the disruption caused by COVID-19. With lower mortgage rates and workers looking to move away from big cities as remote work increases, residential construction starts are expected to increase more than any other sector in 2021.

On the other hand, non-residential buildings were impacted the most, and the expected growth will be slow heading into 2021. Some key takeaways from 2020 include:

  • Commercial construction starts dropped 23%

  • Hotels and hospitality starts plummeted 43% and are expected to continue dropping

  • Retail construction starts dropped 25% but are expected to bounce back 7% in 2021

  • Warehousing was the only commercial sector to show growth as e-commerce exploded in 2020 and expect to see continued growth

  • Non-building construction saw a significant drop in starts from 2019

With an expected slow start to the year, contractors are strongly emphasizing using data to drive core efficiencies and improve the overall effectiveness of their resources. In this article, we’ll briefly explore a few steps you can take to improve the effectiveness of your resource management.

6 steps to improve the effectiveness of your resource management

1. Use specialized software

As mentioned earlier, construction has hundreds of moving parts. Managing your resources without software is a tall order, and costly errors are inevitable. Resource management solutions, like Bridgit Bench, provide customizations and industry-specific features that will help simplify the complex resource planning process.

Bridgit Bench can help to manage milestones and project phases and lets you easily tie your resources to specific project phases. On top of that, resource management solutions will help you track your team’s skills and experience and provide insight into your workforce utilization rates to optimize your capacity planning, stay ahead of recruitment needs, and better understand the impact of future work.

Specialized resource management software also centralizes your project and workforce data and gives you complete control over your team’s accessibility.

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2. Understand your project demand

Your target project and phase completion dates can be used to strategically schedule your workforce to ensure you have the right people in the right place at the right time. Take the time to include your project phases in your resource planning and any other target dates you aim to hit.

These project and phase completion dates help create the foundation for a productive job site. Be sure to inform your team of the expected completion dates for each phase and milestone and how those dates were decided. When everyone is aware of their end goals and how they came to be, it helps keep everyone engaged in the work and pulling in the same direction.

Take the time to look at your historical project data as well. Find projects of similar scope and size to understand better the resources required to hit target dates and identify teams that could repeat that success.

3. Identify your available resources

Now that you’ve identified your project and phase dates list all the resources needed to hit your targets. Be sure to include the relevant skills and experience for each project role. Effective resource management isn’t just throwing your people into project work; it’s choosing the best-fit team members to deliver quality work on time and within budget.

Tip: Include a “Plan B” in your list of resources. If additional support is needed, you can quickly reference your backup plan to identify available resources that can help keep your project moving forward.

4. Allocate your resources and remedy any issues

We’ve identified milestones, project phases, and resources. Now, it’s time to start allocating team members to projects. While everything might make sense on paper, it’s not until you start assigning team members to projects that you’ll be able to see the impact on the rest of your project pipeline.

Resource management software can help identify potential issues with your plan and remedy them in real-time. For example, Bridgit Bench will indicate any allocation issues within your resource plan. If a team member is being overutilized, you can quickly adjust allocation percentages or replace them on a project with an available team member and see the impact of that change immediately.

Tip: Be sure to communicate resource planning expectations for your project operations clearly. If you want weekly updates from your Project Managers, let them know how you expect them to communicate with you. 

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5. Evaluate & Compare with your historical project data

Effective resource management doesn’t happen overnight. Evaluating your resource strategy when a project is complete will help identify areas for improvement. Resource management is an ongoing process. As such, improving your resource management should be as well.

According to FMI, 90% of collected data goes unused in the construction industry. Similar to planning your resources, take the time to compare your recently completed project with your historical projects of similar scope. Doing a project “debrief” can help identify the areas where you performed well and where you may have gone off track. Use your historical data to repeat past successes and, equally important, avoid past missteps.

6. Take a step back 

Evaluating individual projects can help to improve the effectiveness from one project to the next. Still, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate your organizational performance. Ask yourself:

  • How well are you utilizing team members across the company?

  • How efficient is your planning process?

  • Does your team feel like they’re being given career-building experience?

Repeat business is also a key indicator of customer satisfaction. Looking at historical projects from repeat customers can help identify what led your clients to come back with more projects.

You can continually improve your resource strategy from one project to the next by evaluating your projects and identifying what worked and what didn’t. Effective resource management takes time, commitment, and an ongoing desire to learn and improve.

Bridgit Bench is the leading resource management solution for the construction industry. Our goal is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of resource management across the industry. Learn more about Bridgit Bench, or check out some of our client success stories.

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Michel Richer

Michel Richer is the Manager of Content and Product Marketing at Bridgit. He started in the construction industry early on with a local restoration company. Michel is driven to propel the construction industry forward by helping to eliminate outdated, ineffective processes.

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