6 Big Benefits of
Streamlined Time Capture
July 18, 2023
Achieving certainty, project outcomes and profitability largely come down to how well time is tracked and managed. And we all know how all three have been compromised by the time capture inefficiencies that have plagued the industry.
Despite this, many construction companies continue to rely on the familiar manual, paper-based processes that often result in errors and delays. Others have adopted various point solutions that help shore up some of those manual inefficiencies but fail to deliver on the shareable, “real-time time” data that modern capital projects depend on to meet expected outcomes.
Overcoming these limitations is possible with a streamlined approach to time capture capabilities in integrated construction-specific software. It’s becoming more and more mainstream as construction managers find they can gain control over how time is allocated and spent while extracting usable insights for their projects.
This fine-tuned time capture capability delivers benefits to capital projects that go far beyond what traditional processes can. Here are some of the top ones.
Payroll accuracy and management
Minute discrepancies here and there — from transcribing indecipherable written timesheets to inadvertently recording incorrect time on shift — can add up across a years-long construction project, putting a noticeable ding in the wage category and throwing off budget projections. Software tools that incorporate timesheet and payroll functionality solve this.
Plus, more accurately logged time helps ensure the correct deductions and withholding taxes are accounted for, protecting your company from unintentional violations and tax penalties.
Given that labor is often one of the most expensive cost centers, using digitized timesheets can help protect your bottom line.
Labor resource allocation and scheduling
The high proportion of construction expenses attributed to labor also means careful scheduling is critical. Strategic allocation of site workers — especially in light of the limitations posed by the ongoing labor shortage — depends on how well you’re able to allocate their time.
During the planning stage and throughout execution, effective time capture helps keep tabs on productivity and the budget for labor hours. If similar past projects benefited from digitized timesheets, they can shed light on how to better gauge and plan for who needs to be where, when and for how long based on real-world data. Then once the execution phase is underway, having up-to-the-minute time capture gives you visibility into productivity that helps you manage labor resources in real time.
True time-on-task and labor cost tracking
How long does a task or work package really take? How does this translate into another equally finite resource: money (because in construction, time is money)? And are the actual labor hours reconciling with the planned hours established in the project estimate?
Answers can be found in software that enables you to break down labor by hours, task, location, job, cost center, etc., and then automatically calculates task completion time. This data feeds into performance indicators like earned value management (EVM) metrics. This is where you’ll find how actual versus planned hours are aligning. These metrics are reflected in online dashboards that give an unfiltered peek into how efficiently time is being used, the trends and anomalies in productivity, and progress toward project outcomes.
As an example of how this plays out in dollar values, if metrics show too many hours being logged for a particular task or phase, you may be overpaying for surplus site crewmembers. Conversely, too few could see you incurring overtime payments to complete a job so dependent ones remain on track.
If there’s one thing owners want in bids, it’s realism.
Combined, all your past and present time captures feed into an ever-growing repository of real-world data that helps forecast future labor needs and allocation for upcoming projects. The ability to deconstruct time and associated costs — again by trade, task, work package, cost codes and more — enables you to present a detailed, data-backed look into the schedule, staff resources and equipment assets required to build the structure. And that precision also gives you a realistic idea of the potential profit.
Increased transparency and trust
This may not be a benefit that immediately jumps to mind because it’s nearly impossible to quantify.
What can be quantified, however, are problems that arise from inaccurate payroll records and wage rates — namely, litigation and government audits and the high costs they can incur. Time capture capability reduces this potential.
All that data you capture with timesheet software keeps your company compliant by enabling you to objectively prove and defend labor productivity. And analyzing inaccuracies and discrepancies and adjusting as necessary can help prevent worker disputes over hours logged, owner disputes over hours paid and dreaded visits from Uncle Sam.
Saved administrative and manual time
There’s a real cost to the time lost or wasted with administrative data entry.
These are the precious minutes it takes site crews to fill out manual timecards at the job trailer. Those payroll discrepancies we mentioned at the beginning? They can consume hours of back-office staff time who are tasked with reconciling errors in transcription or fixing incorrect time logged by workers.
Individually, they may seem innocuous. But have you ever tallied up all that wasted data entry time across an entire capital project? It might make you cringe. Timesheet software that connects to the payroll and accounting teams replaces all that manual work. So everyone from the field to the office can be more productive with their time.
Different software technologies offer different time capture capabilities; the best ones for you will depend on your current and projected future needs. Want to talk with someone about first steps and what to look for that’s right for you? We’re happy to help. A brief chat can yield some helpful information for you, and if you’re curious, we’ll share some of what the InEight construction timesheet solution can do.
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