In construction, resource optimization is the process of ensuring your resources (i.e. money, equipment, personnel, etc) are being utilized efficiently. Keep reading to learn more about construction resource optimization, including examples and techniques.
What is resource optimization in construction? Taking a closer look
Construction is a notoriously resource-intensive industry. Large general contractors rely on thousands (sometimes even tens of thousands) of professionals spread across numerous job sites. There are also budgets and pieces of equipment that need to be accounted for.
In construction, resource optimization is the process of managing these resources to ensure they’re being used effectively.
Resource optimization examples
Workforce scheduling is among the most important examples of resource optimization in construction. It entails assigning workers to different tasks and job sites based on your organization’s project needs.
Equipment management is also an example of resource optimization. Without a solid optimization strategy in place, equipment may not be available (or in a usable condition) when personnel needs it.
Resource optimization techniques
Next, let’s discuss resource optimization techniques construction professionals use.
Resource leveling is a strategy for overcoming resource shortages. In simple terms, it entails pinpointing where slack can be found to keep things progressing. There are typically two options:
- Adjusting project deadlines while maintaining the current supply of resources, buying your organization more time to get things done.
- Increasing your supply of resources while maintaining current deadlines, buying your organization more firepower with which to get things done.
Resource leveling comes in many forms. Examples include:
- Delaying project start dates. If being flexible on time is the approach your company decides to take, this may be a particularly efficient option. While it’s costly and logistically complex to stop a project that’s already in motion, you may find it much more efficient to push the start date back.
- Delaying the project due date. Sometimes, delaying the end of a project is the most efficient thing to do. This may entail pausing work altogether or simply slowing down (i.e. while waiting for equipment or personnel to be freed up from another project).
- Increasing your company’s supply of resources. If your need for resource optimization extends beyond a single project (or if a project is significant enough), obtaining more resources (i.e. hiring more workers) may be the right call.
There are also several strategies construction professionals use when resource leveling, including:
- Critical path method. This involves determining which activities are critical and which aren’t, then letting that knowledge inform your scheduling decisions.
- Critical chain method. This strategy involves identifying dependencies between tasks and determining how they impact resource availability. Gantt charts are commonly used to achieve this.
- Fast-tracking. This form of resource optimization involves running activities in parallel that previously would’ve been broken into distinct steps. It’s a means of getting more work done in less time.
While resource leveling is all about modifying your available resources or project start/due dates, resource smoothing takes a different approach. This resource optimization technique entails rethinking your company’s approach to the project’s various activities.
For example, you might reallocate highly skilled workers to tasks deserving of their expertise and compensation while allocating less-intensive work to less-specialized workers.
Shifting work from over-utilized employees to under-utilized workers is also an example of resource smoothing.
Construction professionals typically choose resource smoothing over resource leveling when adjusting project deadlines or increasing resources is not an option. It’s a systematic approach to the most intuitive course of action in these situations – reallocating your organization’s existing resources to ensure the work gets completed.
Reverse resource allocation scheduling
Often, resources are required at specific points in the project. In these situations, reverse resource allocation scheduling is a strategy that can benefit your organization.
The “reverse” part of this strategy’s name is derived from the fact it entails scheduling resources backward, starting from the project’s end date. The goal here is to ensure you can safely assign the required resource on the day it is available.
For example, let’s say a subject matter expert is only available on January 1. Reverse resource scheduling would entail working backward to ensure all tasks that the expert is waiting on are completed by January 1 so they can complete their portion of the project.
Benefits of resource optimization
In construction, resource optimization is a highly beneficial activity. Here are a few reasons.
Increased resilience against supply chain issues and worker shortages
Equipment and personnel aren’t easy to come by in the modern economy. Good resource optimization strategies can help your construction company make better use of its limited resources when acquiring more simply isn’t an option (as tends to be the case).
Streamlined communication between stakeholders
Resource optimization streamlines key decisions, making it easier to keep various stakeholders in the loop about the project’s deliverables and when they can be expected.
Increased likelihood of projects being delivered on time and within budget
Good resource optimization strategies ultimately help construction professionals put their best foot forward when attempting to complete work on time and within budget. As we discussed earlier, sometimes that means renegotiating deadlines. Other times, that may mean maintaining deadlines while increasing available resources.
Reduced likelihood of scheduling conflicts
Resource optimization forces construction management professionals to take a closer look at their resource allocations. That decreases the likelihood of scheduling conflicts and other issues that might otherwise derail projects (or even entire companies).
Bridgit Bench is the leading construction resource optimization software
Bridgit Bench is a leading construction resource optimization application professionals use to perform tasks such as:
- construction labor forecasting
- human resource database management
- project database management
- resource utilization reporting
- remote planning
- pursuit tracking
- labor scheduling
Click here to learn more about Bridgit Bench and how it can help your company optimize resources more efficiently.
Construction resource optimization: Conclusion
Resource optimization is a vital activity in construction. It helps professionals ensure resources are being used efficiently to protect project outcomes and their organizations’ bottom lines. We hope this article has helped you learn more about resource optimization and the strategies professionals use to achieve it.
For more articles about construction resource management, visit our blog.