Learn the Tricks to Subcontractor Scheduling
Writing out schedules and then keeping them updated requires dedication and it is one thing that too many subcontractors cut corners on. Yet, a good schedule cuts down on overhead, saves time, limits delays and reduces overtime. Certainly, subcontractor scheduling is worth learning and applying. Even the best software does not take the place of understanding how to schedule jobs because the way data is entered into the computer is critical. The following tips can get your business on track:
It is not enough for a secretary to understand and view the schedule. Everyone in your organization, starting with management, must understand and respect the process. A schedule that is not followed is a waste of time and a schedule that is only partially filled in is misleading, potentially causing more problems than if there were no schedule at all.
One of the best ways to accomplish buy-in is to have the scheduler work directly with management and with each team to create the schedule. As emphasis is placed on the importance of checking the schedule and fulfilling the tasks on it, everyone tends to become more conscientious about time management.
Use a Master Schedule
It is important that each crew knows what its assigned duties are in a given day, but make sure there is one master subcontractor scheduling program rather than a dozen limited schedules. In this way, you are aware of all jobs and their timelines, and there is never a question about when you are available for new projects.
Show Crew Movement
The most thorough schedule would show all resources used for every project, but this level of detail is often unsupportable. Instead of giving up on the idea of subcontractor scheduling of resources, show the movement of crews and major pieces of equipment. Make sure that cranes, fleets and other equipment shared between the crews are accounted for in each job so that you never face days where something is supposed to be in two places at once.
Update As Needed
In a perfect world, timelines would not change during jobs. However, running a subcontractor business in the real world requires flexibility. Clients change the scope of jobs in the middle and delays that are outside of your control force amendments to your initial plan. Make sure to update your schedule weekly or as changes occur. Track percentage finished, estimated timelines and actual start and completion dates.
Stay on Top of the Game
An up-to-date schedule helps you avoid missing any critical activities. It is detailed enough that you are always aware of what your day and month hold, but flexible enough to allow you to change it as your jobs change. Keeping up on subcontractor scheduling requires commitment, but it pays dividends when you are on top of the game.