The Workforce Management Gap

Sponsored Feature by LaborChart

Brian Witt / December 2021

It’s an uphill battle: Figuring out what field resources you have available, what projects to put them on and how they will get there on time. Like many in construction, most walls and ceilings contractors have an inefficient spreadsheet, whiteboard or paper-based solution, handling their most important asset in a fallible way. With no way to identify the needed talent in your company, management can’t allocate the right workers to the right project. Instead of using their valuable time improving business practices, leadership often spends hours scheduling meetings, making endless phone calls and trying to make sense of confusing documents. This has led to a major gap in construction, including walls and ceilings organizations—a workforce management gap.

“The Way It’s Always Been Done”
Every walls and ceilings contractor is practicing workforce management. However, most are doing so unknowingly and unequipped. This equates to processes that are fragmented, unstandardized, redundant and high risk. Imagine running your business without an ERP, your projects without a project manager or financials without an accounting department. A step further, there’s no way to identify which employee is an expert or how well he/she performed on a previous assignment. It creates chaos—and that’s exactly how most walls and ceilings contractors are handling workforce management today simply because it’s “the way it’s always been done.”

Redundant and inaccurate workforce information can increase project costs and make work inconsistent every week. A talented insulator could be benched one week while his/her skills are much needed elsewhere, simply because the supervisor has no accurate vision of current assignments. With no way to look ahead or behind, walls and ceilings contractors have to live day-to-day, unable to optimize past or present data to inform future projects. A worker could be an expert at the latest fireproofing practices, but the organization has no way to track this skill. With all this headache, current labor scheduling and management solutions just aren’t cutting it anymore. What’s missing? A better workforce management solution.

What Is Construction Workforce Management?
Workforce management (WFM) is an organizational approach used to optimize efficiency and effectiveness of employees. When each of your workers are accounted for and utilized appropriately, you’re able to get a better grasp of who makes up your organization and what their talents are. Specifically, construction workforce management means getting the right people, in the right place, at the right time, which in turn, creates the right plan.

Without proper workforce management, you’re up against a guessing game to locate a skilled worker with the correct qualifications for a certain project at the appointed time—often with costly, risky results. Construction workforce management is commonly a fragmented process. Unlike estimating or accounting practices, most walls and ceilings contractors do not utilize the proper technology to manage their workforce. However, with the right digital solution, those endless scheduling meetings and cumbersome documents can be replaced with digitized data housed in cloud-based software.

Protect Your Organization with WFM
Usually one of the last specialty contractors on a job, it’s important for walls and ceilings contractors to have a well-documented project to avoid risks. Cloud-based workforce management records the history of your projects, laborers and wins, as well as areas of improvement so your organization can plan for the next job. With a digital archive of past projects, walls and ceilings contractors are well equipped to take on future jobs, keeping your company on time and on budget. Management can track certifications, skills and background checks to improve transparency with digital workforce management. In addition, communication is streamlined to make sure the right people are on the right projects at the right time. Together, all these factors can improve the safety of your organization so you can mitigate risks and champion a positive workplace culture.

WFM in Action: Customer Case Study — Architectural Interior Restorations
Digital workforce management makes a world of difference for our customers. Take Architectural Interior Restorations (AIR), a LaborChart customer, for example. AIR has been enhancing buildings around Cleveland since 1983. From hospitals and schools to retail and industrial, AIR focuses on drywall, metal stud framing, ceiling installations and more.

AIR was using a spreadsheet to manage their labor. Assignments were made in the morning and a few hours later, the spreadsheet was inaccurate as workers moved from one job to the next. AIR was looking for a workforce management solution; they wanted a tool that was better than their spreadsheets and created specifically for their business and industry. After months of searching, they found a workforce management platform that was built for construction and by construction professionals: LaborChart. They immediately noticed how organized the platform made their data and how easy it was to use.

AIR is now tapping into the full potential of the platform, but also their business. With a lot of their work taking place at schools, hospitals and other security-protected facilities, they now tag their workers in LaborChart and specify who is qualified to work on these projects with required background checks and other credentials. What once took a few phone calls and multiple people can now be done by one person, all in one platform.

LaborChart has created peace of mind for AIR. The specialty contractor can now ensure all of their projects are covered with the right resources, provide clarity on where people are going next and create a holistic view of what jobs are ending and which ones are coming up. For AIR, the spreadsheets are gone for good. LaborChart has become the built by construction, for construction solution they had been searching for.

WFM: More than Labor Scheduling
Properly utilized, digital workforce management means managing your roster beyond a schedule. It can also help you manage your people and data to make better decisions about how to assign your labor. Forecasting and increased communication means your current workforce will benefit from knowing exactly when and where they need to be. Instead of wasting time on short-term, inefficient labor management processes, workforce management can create cohesive connections between the office and field so your team can do their best work. Labor can go from the largest unknown on your project to the most organized aspect.

Learn more about LaborChart and how it can change the game for your walls and ceilings organization.

About the Author
Brian Witt is the director of business development at LaborChart, overseeing strategic initiatives with industry and technical partners.