Construction companies of all sizes battle the cyclical nature of the business: weather, equipment maintenance, technology and the economy can produce some real headaches. That’s why figuring out better ways to manage cash flow and margins has to be a priority.
One technique that’s sometimes overlooked is how collaboration between owners and equipment operators can boost the bottom line. Ask yourself these four questions:
1. Can senior operators take the lead on some tasks?
On any jobsite, many tasks have to be managed, documented and coordinated. Are you assigning them all by job title or are you taking skill sets into consideration? Senior operators may be able to take on the job of reporting progress, handle daily meetings with the entire crew, or perform other tasks where they bring specific insights to the team. Looking at task delegation in a new way may free up more time for your managers to plan for new work, make more accurate estimates and achieve bigger margins.
2. Are you engaging your operators in financial performance?
Operators can have a dramatic effect on project costs—through their operating skills, fuel consumption behaviors, knowledge of the equipment, and diligence in taking good care of that equipment, just to name a few. Studies show that when workers understand how their behaviors affect the company’s financial performance, they’re more likely to change those behaviors or embrace new ones. For example, many contractors report that sharing or posting fuel consumption or idle time data makes a big difference in how their operators run machines.
3. Do you review the results of projects with managers and operators as a team?
There could be added benefits in working together on action plans for reducing costs or increasing efficiency. Would your company’s leaders consider creating bonus opportunities based on how well improvement plans get results?
4. Is your entire company a part of the marketing plan?
Most operators take a great deal of pride in their work—just as much as the person whose name is on the door. When they understand the types of work your company is looking to get more of, or the kinds of projects you want to grow into, they can be well-informed advocates. Every person in your company has the ability to reach potential customers through others they know. Plus, with the proliferation of social and professional networks, it only makes sense to make sure your employees are all onboard when it comes to understanding where new business can be found.