With today’s labor shortage, smart contractors understand that time is, quite literally, money. By this, I mean that understanding how their field labor team is allocating their time literally can mean the difference between a project being a “winner” or a “loser”. The most profitable contractors have a deep understanding of the productivity of their team. They understand how to measure it, and more importantly, they make the adjustments to fix it. Sadly, there are very few that truly understand how to accurately and properly measure the productivity of their team. This is the main reason that productivity has lagged so far behind other industries.
So, why has construction lagged behind so many other industries for so long when it comes to productivity?
While there are many factors, an overarching trend is prevalent; a common misunderstanding of what productivity means and a lack of reliable measurement.
Productivity is often mistaken for production. While production is what has been done, productivity is how effectively it was done.
For example, during the estimation process, estimators determine how the job will go, what it will cost based on that evaluation, and then add a reasonable markup. If your field team is able to improve upon the expected outcome, the project makes more money than expected. Conversely, if they go slower than expected, you lose, right? The worst part? Most traditional measurement only takes place after job is complete as a look back. So you only know how you did after it’s too late. It’s almost a bit like gambling, isn’t it?
What if you could stack the deck in your favor? What if you could not only figure out a way to accurately measure the productivity of your team, real time, but you could also uncover the obstacles that are holding them back from working faster?
By using proper productivity-based measurements in the field as well as in the office, you can move away from strictly after-the-fact recording on the job to capturing real-time information that you can see to manage the job directly.
But how do you decide what to measure and how to measure so that you can make process improvements and reduce costs? Use Job Productivity Measurement (JPM).
JPM is a method of continuously measuring construction productivity to inform project managers in real-time about changes in project performance. It measures and quantifies all activities needed to achieve the final task of installation. This type of tracking effectively removes all guesswork from your PM in determining percent complete allowing an accurate real-time understanding of exactly how far along the project is, and, more importantly, what is preventing your team from working even more productively.
By measuring productivity changes during construction at the task level, issues can be resolved early enough to reduce waste and minimize errors.
Many contractors have already begun to understand that proper implementation of productivity measurement tools like JPAC® and Short Interval Scheduling or SIS® are key to understanding productivity early on in a project while adjustments can still be made, effectively stacking the deck in their favor. Additionally, understanding and implementation of additional Agile Construction® concepts like Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Externalizing Work® (Prefab) allow them to pull even further ahead of the competition who are still turning a blind eye to the changes in this industry.