Finding and hiring skilled workers has been an ongoing challenge for mechanical contractors for nearly two decades. The coronavirus pandemic has magnified this issue as labor availability is also now touch and go as consistent work becomes less reliable across the industry.
The AGC surveyed over 1000 different contractors to get a better understanding of the staffing difficulties being faced by the industry in the coming years. 81% of the contractors surveyed indicated it’s been increasingly difficult to fill open positions.
It isn’t for lack of trying though. Almost half of the respondents indicated they’ve reevaluated their recruitment initiatives to attract more workers and put more money into technical training. More than 50% of respondents also increased base pay rates and introduced incentives, bonuses, and improved benefits.
While training is a good start, the increase in pay and the lack of technical experience has a trickle-down effect on your bottom line. These staffing challenges have led to costs being higher than anticipated for 44% of respondents, and projects taking longer than expected for 40%. This has resulted in higher prices being put into bids and longer expected completion times. Ultimately, this makes firms less competitive and more likely to lose out on contracts.
So how do you combat these challenges? Well, the first step is gaining a better understanding of how your workforce is being used across all projects. This will allow you to optimize the schedules of the people you do have. Mechanical contractor software has come leaps and bounds in recent years. The leading solutions are able to help you get the most out of your team.
In this article we’re going to discuss 3 ways mechanical contractor software can help you optimize your labor strategy and help keep your firm competitive into the future.
Effective workforce and project management answers two very important questions when you’re trying to get the most out of your team.
- Who is available for work?
- Which projects require more resources?
It seems simple enough, right? However, managing any number of people across multiple projects can be incredibly difficult when using outdated, manual systems like Excel and MS Project. Contractor software like Bridgit Bench helps to surface this information in an instant so you can make data-driven decisions regarding your project assignments.
On top of optimizing your workforce strategy, mechanical contractor software also helps to identify any errors in the plan. This comes in handy when construction dates become fluid and schedules need to be updated accordingly. Instead of a tedious manual process riddled with data entry, project assignments can simply be moved along with project and project phase dates. Any issues this may cause will be surfaced immediately.
Forecast project demand
If effective workforce management answers the questions mentioned above, effective forecasting allows you to answer them into the coming months and years. Accurately forecasting your project demand can have a significant impact on how aggressively you pursue certain projects.
Mechanical contractor software like Bridgit Bench also provides insight into your workforce utilization rates. Having a high level understanding of your workforce utilization rates helps to identify trends in your workforce into the coming years. These trends can help to identify where you have capacity to take on another project. They also help to make early, informed recruitment strategies to help ensure you find the best candidate for the job. For more information about forecasting, read our guide to workforce forecasting.
Centralized, accessible data
One of the biggest challenges of managing a workforce effectively occurs when the process is scattered across multiple spreadsheets, whiteboards, emails, and Post-its. Software for mechanical contractors helps to consolidate your workforce data into a single tool.
Consolidating your workforce data also allows you to provide secure access to improve your team’s collaborative efforts. By involving more people in the workforce planning process you’re able to:
- Reduce the workforce planning pressure
- Uncover new methods of problem solving
- Have more productive meetings and discussions
- Have better alignment with project stakeholders
Having your team collaborate on workforce management allows them to see how different teams and departments connect to your projects. This holistic view helps your departments communicate with each other and understand the impact that every team has on larger project goals. For more information about the benefits of a centralized resource plan, read this blog.