GOOD NEWS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY BY SUSAN SHIVELY PALMER | CRAFTECH COMPUTER SOLUTIONS
It’s enough to make you tear your hair out. The unique challenges that face the construction company that manages remote labor work forces on a jobsite are as many-headed as a hydra and just as hard to kill. In fact, with the addition of technology the potential for disruptive issues are even more cumbersome. With technology come technical problems that can be overwhelming to resolve if you are not formally trained in IT. Now the advanced tech that was designed to streamline your business has only multiplied your challenges.
“Ghost employees” have always presented a persistent problem for construction companies. In the past, when using paper time sheets, construction executives randomly visited job sites to spot check labor and hand out paychecks. Some paychecks would inevitably go unclaimed by theoretical employees, who became “ghosts” in the system. Do they exist, and simply failed to show up for work that day? Or are they just names on a payroll, tying up funds with absolutely no contribution to the completion of a deadline job?
Payroll is the biggest issue: you have multiple jobsites and you need to get the hours from all those sites into payroll. Time cards need to be signed and approved. All hours need to be cost coded before payroll can be submitted. This is a huge challenge for the payroll staff and is further complicated by the constant pressure of recurring deadlines. A related area, cost-coding labor hours, is essential in the construction business because it lets management know if they are on budget or if they have problems in the field. Cost coding really ought to be done in a timely manner while knowledge is fresh. But in the real world, information from the field is slow and difficult and therefore inaccurate.
Sub-contractors are in another league—literally. Without them the jobs just wouldn’t get done, yet they exist at an even further remove from the home office. Even for verified subcontractors, how many are employed at a particular site? Do they work multiple sites? How many hours did they actually work? Are you being billed properly for their time or task? Tracking these billable hours is immensely important, particularly regarding construction companies who track subcontractor hours and match them to the invoices they receive. Validating this data is essential in order to get an accurate picture of where the time and money goes.
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