With the advent of so many new construction technologies, general contractors are currently sitting at a fork in the digital road. There are existing systems that have worked (or at least, have gotten the job done), and then there’s the next step in the evolution of these systems.
The big push from most ConTech companies revolves around data, which makes sense. Construction projects alone likely generate more data than most industries see in a year, which doesn’t even include data that can be captured from planning, internal communications, and core processes that happen offsite.
There’s a stat that gets floated around that about 95% of the data generated in construction goes unused, but that number can be misleading. Not all data is created equally. When it comes to innovation through tech, the competitive advantage won’t go to the GCs that capture and use more data, it’ll go to the ones that are capturing the right data and sharing it with the right people.
So, what’s the right data? The quickest path to understanding the data that can have an impact is to share it. If the information makes your team’s decision-making faster and easier, that’s a good sign it’s the right data.
At Bridgit, we are often looking at construction through the lens of the workforce planning process. Across the industry, this process is largely managed in a series of spreadsheets, maintained by a single gatekeeper. Whether it’s a matter of maintaining the status quo, or due to a system that is vulnerable to errors, this information is often siloed off from the team. Information that could be informing the larger company strategy.
We knew that if we made it easier to capture and maintain workforce data and added permissions to protect its integrity, it could be leveraged across multiple departments. The capacity and skill sets of every construction workforce are the foundation of many departments’ success.
We’re also seeing that some general contractors have a “standard” or assumed profit per project with an assumed percentage/cost for general conditions because they don’t fully know the cost of the people they are billing to jobs. By breaking down these operational silos, construction leaders are able to understand the true cost of the people they are billing to jobs and see where the visibility of their workforce, or a lack thereof, is costing them money.
But what about general contractors that operate out of multiple offices?
Enterprise general contractors have always been organized by regions or business units that operate autonomously with their own resources, profits and losses, and leadership. Understandably so, often with thousands of employees and hundreds of projects in motion, enterprise general contractors can be too big to manage everything through headquarters.
This autonomy is how organizations have grown their regional footprints, adding to their national success. This regional autonomy, however, creates information silos that are costing contractors more than they might realize.
With different regions within one company managing their people in Bridgit Bench, the data we’re seeing demonstrates that business units that operate independently, specifically their own separate Bridgit Bench accounts, are missing opportunities to gain efficiencies by sharing resources, ultimately increasing a business unit's talent pool and profitability.
Let’s look at an example we’ve seen firsthand with one of our Florida-based customers, Spartan Contracting Co.
Spartan is a full-service general contractor with offices in Georgia and across the state of Florida. They specialize in commercial construction, pre-construction, design-build, and green building.
Initially, the team at Spartan primarily used our software to allocate their superintendents, project managers, and estimators. Once they began analyzing their workforce utilization rates across multiple offices though, they saw an opportunity to give additional support when needed with underutilized resources from other regions.
“North Florida has been extremely busy for us,” said Scott Kramer, President and CEO of Spartan Contracting Co, “We’ve started pulling available project managers from Georgia and South Florida to relieve some of the burdens on the North Florida team.”
Once Spartan had better visibility of their workforce capacity across the entire organization, they were able to leverage utilization data to ultimately increase their available talent pool, make fewer short-term hires with no long-term work, and make their workforce planning scalable across the entire organization. It wasn’t a matter of capturing more data, it was simply a matter of improving its visibility and knowing that one region’s success is every region’s success.