The construction industry is a labor-intensive market that relies heavily upon the skills of construction workers. In construction, accurate labor forecasting is critical to keep up with deadlines, reduce labor costs, increase productivity and minimize scheduling errors. Slight design errors, improper material handling, crew delay, or miscalculated priorities can trigger a chain of problems such as additional costs, erosion of profit, dissatisfied clients, and project delays.
Labor forecasting involves the use of various techniques to predict labor needs accurately to balance off demand and supply requirements. Correct forecasting prevents understaffing and overstaffing allowing construction managers to find an equilibrium between the demand of labor and its supply.
Proper forecasting ensures that you have the right personnel, with the right skill set at the right time. Construction is a high-pressure industry where poor scheduling and staffing errors can lead to missed shipments, overtime costs, project delays, and missed deadlines. With accurate labor forecasting, you know who is needed where and at what time.
Benefits of Workforce Forecasting
Accurate labor forecasting in construction enhances optimal productivity. This means that people can work without having to suffer from burnout and low morale. The company also does not have to overspend to finance unnecessary overtime hours. Working in environments with the right number of employees allows teams to meet project timelines.
When day-to-day labor scheduling and planning runs smoothly in a construction firm, teams can focus their energy on other important matters such as business growth, project optimization, and employee training. Proper and accurate forecasting enables managers to account for resource fluctuations, labor shortages, and changes in project time frames.
Accurate forecasting leads to a correct budgeting process, which translates to upswing revenue due to optimized cash flow. Through prediction, you increase visibility into projected costs, spending levels and expected labor outlays. Improving labor forecasting enables the management to identify workforce teams suited for particular projects. This enables project managers to field people in positions where they excel.
Labor Forecasting Techniques
With historical hindsight, you can accurately determine labor demands and associated costs for various projects. Most construction managers conduct historical analysis to plan ahead and make accurate labor forecasts. Using past information and trends to build future labor patterns is an evidence-backed and statistically viable technique for making accurate projections. Using historical analysis lets you highlight times of the year when you usually have a surge in demand for construction work.
Also, project managers can come together to brainstorm regarding future labor needs. Managers can infuse market research and their experiences in the labor market to make accurate predictions. Managers can highlight slow and busy seasons, staffing needs in relation to the broad labor market, and regulatory challenges that can affect staffing decisions.
Advanced labor forecasting techniques involve the use of statistical software tools to form trend lines based on various factors affecting the labor market. Statistical predictions are useful in making human resource and financial decisions. Forecasting using software and other statistical tools is essential for large organizations that need sophisticated insights into the construction labor market.
Data-Driven Labor Forecasting
Accurate labor forecasting starts with the use of data to make predictions. Construction managers have to embrace technology and use tools that allow them to monitor construction projects in real-time. This improves personnel management, project cost management, and scheduling processes.
With data collection tools, project managers can assess the number of onsite workers and know the specific areas where they work. Traditionally, construction managers have to physically visit various sites, jot down on paper the number of workers and where they work. This is not only a tiresome but inefficient system of managing the labor force.
Forward-looking project managers should consider real-time project tracking apps and RFID-enabled controls that automate personnel tracking. This helps to ensure that workers do not wander into sites they are not stationed. Unlike manual tracking systems, the mobile time tracking apps are integrated with project management and scheduling systems, allowing project managers to have greater visibility into onsite activity.
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