For the construction industry, effective resource management is one of the most important core processes for ensuring project success. Not only does the effective management of resources result in less bench time for your workforce, it also means your workforce strategy is optimized to consistently hit project benchmarks and increase profit from project to project.
With an industry-wide emphasis being put on driving efficiency in 2021, it’s clear why general contractors are beginning to expand resource management to include their larger team and implementing software solutions to provide strategic insight and ensure the efficient and effective utilization of their workforce.
Highly effective resource management stems from bringing relevant stakeholders into the planning process to problem solve, communicate, and ultimately align on when and where resources are most needed. However, it isn’t a simple process to shift from what was historically the responsibility of a single person to suddenly including the larger project operations and management teams. Effective resource management takes time, and patience, to truly see the full value of an optimized workforce.
In this blog, we’re going to explore six helpful tips that can help to ease you into a more collaborative, efficient resource management process.
1. Centralize your data
With data-driven decision making becoming critical to maintaining an edge in the construction industry, reducing the fragmentation of different processes within your organization should be a top priority. This not only helps to ensure everyone is looking at the same data, but also keeps everyone pulling in the same strategic direction. In many cases, general contractors will include their HR and project management teams in their resource planning process to help provide better insight to balance workloads, reduce burnout, and maintain proper workforce utilization rates.
Resource management tools like Bridgit Bench allow you to centralize workforce and project data and include relevant stakeholders at the same time. Cloud-based tools that are updated in real-time ensure that everyone has access to, and are looking at, the same information. Read this blog for more information on the benefits of centralized resource management.
2. Transparency, accessibility, and collaboration
This is how you can align your team and ensure everyone is working towards the same goals. By allowing access to your resource planning process, you’re not only actively communicating project decisions and changes, you’re also providing a window into your decision making process. By learning the ins and outs of your resource planning strategy, your team will be better equipped to provide input and contribute new methods of problem solving should issues arise.
It’s completely natural to be concerned with overdoing the level of access you provide your larger team. Resource management has typically been housed in a series of spreadsheets, meaning the more they’re shared – the more likely they are to have unwanted changes or errors. Resource management and workforce planning tools, like Bridgit Bench, are helping to alleviate those concerns by providing customized permission groups that allow users to determine exactly what level of access their team should have.
In terms of transparency, you should also
Encourage open and frank discussions about potential at-risk projects during your staffing meetings and be receptive to new methods of risk mitigation
Clearly communicate project priorities and ensure everyone on your team knows which projects are most valuable to the company
By making resource management a collaborative process, you’re reducing the possibility of errors going unseen and allowing your team members to participate in your decision making process. Collaboration opens the door to better team alignment, real-time feedback, and creative and productive problem solving.
3. Forecast future project demand
Understanding the resource demand for your future projects will help to optimize your resource strategy and stay ahead of recruitment needs. Onboarding new team members can be a long, expensive process. Anticipating recruitment will help to find experienced workers with the skills you need.
Being able to accurately forecast project demand will also help you create balanced workloads and better estimate budgetary requirements. Bridgit Bench has recently added a forecasting dashboard to provide company-wide insight into workforce utilization rates. Users can even filter to specific work teams or regions to narrow their focus when forecasting the demand on (and of) their team.
4. Increase visibility
Having a holistic view of your project pipeline and resource plan is a surefire way to maintain balanced workloads across your team. With increased visibility you’ll be better equipped to retain your top talent by identifying and presenting career-building opportunities on future projects. You will also be able to easily identify and remedy potential project issues well in advance of them becoming problematic.
Having a holistic view of your resource plan can also help to identify projects that may require your attention or support. With improved visibility, you can then openly discuss with your project management team measures that should (or need) to be taken.
5. Implement resource management software
Depending on how you’re currently managing your resources, there’s a possibility that you’re spending too much time manually updating and maintaining your workforce data. Not to mention the constant risk of human error putting your resource strategy at risk.
By using resource management software built for the construction industry you can quickly reduce the risk of potential mistakes and streamline data maintenance. That means you’ll have more time to spend on more productive, profit-driving tasks. Not only are you saving time and money, you’re also having critical decision making data surfaced at the click of a mouse. Resource management software provides accurate, real-time insights to stay ahead of project and resource challenges.
6. Anticipate projects not going to plan
Let’s face it, not every construction project runs as smoothly as planned. Staying ahead of problems that could delay or shut down construction is one way to improve the consistency of your project deliverables. Some things you may want to consider when anticipating problems would be:
Team members spread too thin may eventually lead to burnout
Overutilized work teams (ie. superintendents) might be an indicator that you need to invest in recruitment or training to close potential skill gaps
In some cases, a utilization rate edging 100% indicates that should a project need additional support in short notice, it may need to be outsourced
One of the benefits for companies using a resource management solution across multiple offices is being able to identify resources that are able to be pulled from one region to work in another. For example, Bridgit Bench supports having users in multiple accounts. That means you would be able to quickly assess if there are available, skilled workers in your organization’s other offices that are willing to relocate for your project.
For more information about resource management, check out our ultimate guide.
Michel Richer is the Product Marketing and Content Manager at Bridgit. He got his start in the construction industry at an early age with a local restoration company. Michel is driven to propel the construction industry forward by helping to eliminate outdated, inefficient processes. Connect with Michel on LinkedIn.