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The Importance of Improving Operations Management for Subcontractors


Reposted with permission from, January 28, 2019, all rights reserved. Copyright 2019

The global construction industry, including residential, non-residential and infrastructure, is expected to reach an estimated $10.5 trillion by 2023, and it is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 4.2 percent from now through 2023, according to a recent report.

While the future of the sector certainly looks bright, it’s important to understand that many moving parts contribute to the success of the construction industry and there are still challenges to overcome, including a shortage of skilled labor, increased competition and more complex projects. It’s getting harder to win the right work with decent profit margins.

The good news is that those construction subcontractors and self-perform general contractors that face many of these challenges head-on – reinventing their business processes using the latest technologies – can position themselves for significant growth.

However, those companies that turn a blind eye to implementing strategies aimed to improve operations will inevitably face an uphill battle in the form of unnecessary headaches, like change orders and rework, lost jobs and lower profits.


There’s no arguing that construction projects are becoming more and more complex and tracking the actual spend during the project is difficult. This is putting many business owners and project managers under additional pressure to improve efficiency, timelines and cost savings.

Many construction companies still rely on inefficient paper, Excel spreadsheets and single-point solutions to track actuals such as workers, equipment, certifications, forms, schedules and other operational needs. However, it can be frustrating for project managers when they cannot easily access critical information related to how busy their subcontractors were on a job, or whether or not their company is eliminating risk and providing a solid safety culture.

Forward-thinking organizations open to adopting newer, more collaborative construction technologies can eliminate many of these inefficiencies. In fact, much of this cloud-based technology not only takes the complexity out of managing the construction business, but it also improves the productivity of contractors overall, helping teams meet deadlines by scheduling and allocating available and compliant resources to multiple projects simultaneously.

For example, while workers are dispatched to various jobs, the latest mobile tools can connect the office to field crews with digital forms and timesheets, enabling more efficient scheduling, compliance and communication. The technology’s real-time reporting capabilities on precise field data allows companies the opportunity to improve operations and win more profitable projects.


By leveraging the latest software, contractors can improve their entire operations – from the office to the field – in real time for the entire life cycle of multiple construction projects.

One company that offers rotating telescopic handlers and multi cranes recently began using some of this innovative software to manage compliance more efficiently. As tier 1 supplier, the company ensures that all of its field workers and machines are always fully compliant, frequently winning work because all of its machines meet every rolling stock operator (RSO) certification.

Previously, maintaining high compliance standards required a lot of energy and time, but now, with newer technology, the company has one single program that can manage these processes more efficiently.

Another business engaged in the design, supply, construction and maintenance of railway assets. As rail projects have extremely complex planning and compliance requirements, knowing where their team is and that they are supported every step of the way is essential.

By implementing new operational management technology that connects to the company’s finance, human resources and learning management systems, the company can now ensure that they are dispatching the right field teams with the right resources to the right projects.


Digital technologies are delivering new opportunities to address the challenges associated with poor productivity and profitability in the construction industry. The latest innovative technology is not only helping to boost productivity for many contractors, but it is also helping to reduce waste and alleviating the unfavorable impact of on-site surprises.

Subcontractors and construction companies looking to improve operations should consider these emerging technologies to grow revenue, productivity and efficiency, gain visibility and eliminate unnecessary paperwork. As a result, they will be better positioned to analyze and improve job performance, speed up routine processes on the jobsite, attract and retain workers, and more effectively manage unanticipated changes that commonly occur during the life cycle of a project.

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