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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Builders: Increasing Productivity Helps Offset Labor Costs & Availability Issues

Builders Rank Labor Cost & Availability Top Issue for 2019

There's a great article by Ashok Chaluvadi in a recent Eye on Housing article in Builderonline describing anticipated challenges facing builders in 2019; you can read it here.

SST is one option designed to increased productivity
A key issue cited by 82% of builders is the cost/availability of labor. What's particularly noteworthy is labor replaced building material prices -- which had been the hot topic in 2018.

What options are available to a homebuilder to counteract labor's increasing cost/decreasing availability -- particularly in the short run?

SST Helps Builders Impact Productivity

We know the number of trades people is limited; a significant number of experienced workers are "aging out"  and there haven't been enough Millennials entering this specific workplace.
Automated Quality Inspection Tools add focus

SST (that's self service technology) had somewhat of a bad reputation in years past.  It may have tried to do too many things in too disparate ways. However, attitudes change; today, demographics and technology make SST an ever emerging tool for home builders as they consider that increasing workplace productivity is the option most under their control, today. SST implies technology and construction management software leverages SST:
  • SST takes advantage of 24/7 cloud-based information: An effective construction software implementation will get everyone within the builder's organization and their vendors on "the same page" as to what tasks need to be accomplished, in what order and on what date.  Cloud-based software makes the information available to everyone, 24/7, anywhere/anytime.  That means you should expect a reduction in delays, dry runs, phone calls, texts and misunderstandings.  In a sense, that's the first step.
  • SST provides a focus on the builder's scheduling process: This might seem strange to be #2 in the list.  However, it's sometimes difficult to modify processes, implement software and drill down into issues all at the same time.  Some builders start operating in a SST environment and then examine what can be done more effectively as they reap the fruits of 24/7 information and a consistent, measurable pace. Developing a schedule provides consistency and accountability; you're able to see (24/7!) the status of every job and employ metrics to highlight problem areas. You should also see the benefits from your vendor's perspective: they can look ahead and plan. You're working more collaboratively! Expect to see both decreased cycle time and a further reduction in dry runs as your team refines their build process.
  • SST facilitates Quality Inspection Tools: We can all agree call backs are inefficient, cost money and can impact buyer satisfaction.  There aren't many things worse than finding punch items at the buyer walk through! Why not add a short check list alongside key tasks that provides an accessible, consistent way for your field managers to evaluate completion and direct feedback for the vendors? If there's an issue, CPS Field Collaborate, for example, auto-generates punch items that are emailed to the vendor and auto-tracked until resolved.  Again, everyone (builders, management, vendors) is on the same page, 24/7, looking at the same issues and focused on resolution. SST continues to provide reminders to your field managers of outstanding issues and continues to email vendors until resolution
CPS' FieldCollaborate is the 3rd version of our construction scheduling software designed specifically for homebuilders and offering the 24/7, anywhere/anytime access we discussed. Interested in finding out how it can increase your team's productivity? Use our contact form to schedule a one-on-one demo.

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