Top 4 Areas Your Subcontractor Management Process Is Holding You Back

8/24/2021

There are a lot of details that go into your subcontractor management process. You have to keep up with contracts, monitor safety compliance, make sure that everyone is on the same page and has all the right information at their fingertips, and make sure that you are well-informed about potential delays. A great project management process starts with a well-informed, well-trained project team who has the tools necessary to operate effectively on the job site. Project engineers are often learning and doing the best they can--and using the right tools can make a huge difference.

Are there areas in which your subcontractor management process is holding you back? Take a look at these possible elements and how they may impact your projects. 

1. Your To Do List

Every construction project has an ongoing To Do list of all the things that you need to finish before your due date or of the items that are extremely critical. Often, those items need to be completed in a specific order, or may have different deadlines so that you can ensure that you're able to keep your project schedule on track and meet all the major milestones on your project. 

The problem with a traditional To Do list--one that might well be scribbled on a notebook that you carry in your pocket--is that on a construction site, your To Dos are dynamic. They change based on the details your subcontractors bring to your attention, what they're able to complete on any given day, or on the challenges they may face or mistakes they may make along the way.

You need a project management tool that will help you keep up with that To Do list, change the information on it as needed, and, most importantly, share that information with all the members of your team. With a dynamic, updated list that all your project team can see, you can ensure that everyone stays on the same page--and increase the odds that you'll meet your deadlines. 

2. Your Scheduling

On many construction sites, scheduling can change at a moment's notice. You may need to change your schedule based on the weather: you cannot pour concrete when it's rainy outside, and you may not want to lay flooring on the most humid day of the year. 

You may need to adapt based on the changing needs of your subcontractors: if Job A faced a number of unexpected delays, they may not be ready to move to Job B as originally anticipated. Not only that, your other scheduling needs on a job site can change at any moment. If your electrician couldn't get in to fix the wiring early in the week, for example, you may not be ready to have someone come in and take care of the drywall at the end of the week.

You need software that can help you effectively manage that scheduling: software that can help you keep an eye on how each scheduling change impacts the others and even the final due date for your project. Furthermore, you need a project management solution that will allow you to keep up with who is actually on a job site on any given day so that when you do have tasks that need to be done, deliveries that need to be coordinated, or challenges that you need to deal with, you'll know who is actually present on the job site to help address those concerns.

3. Subcontractor Productivity

Each subcontractor works at a slightly different rate and has different expectations for the members of their teams. As you build a relationship with subcontractors in your area, you may get a better feel for which ones are likely to have delays in finishing the project and which ones are more likely to push their team members to deliver exactly on time.

Keeping up with overall productivity, however, can prove a challenge, especially on a busy job site with numerous subcontractors. Sometimes, tasks can fall through the cracks, and you may not even realize who has made those mistakes until you're reviewing project areas and planning future work.

You need project management software that will allow you to keep up with overall subcontractor productivity for a number of reasons. First, you need to know what your subcontractors are actually accomplishing on the job each day and how well they're moving toward completing the project. Second, you need a better idea of how they perform overall, which may impact the subcontractors you choose to work with on future projects.

4. Communication

Communication is an ongoing challenge for many project engineers. You need the insights of your subcontractors at every step in the construction process. You need to know what they're doing, what they've observed, and whether they may have encountered any delays along the way. Furthermore, you need to share information with them on a regular basis: changes in the schedule, alterations to the project, or challenges that others have noted as they worked on specific areas of the project, and which might impact the subcontractor's future actions.

Sometimes, it's hard to keep up with who you have already talked to, what insights they provided, and what needs to be changed. You may think, for example, that you've told your electrician about that wiring problem that needs to be dealt with ASAP, only to discover that you hadn't really communicated it at all. 

You might start to update your subcontractors about your latest compliance standards, only to realize that you forgot to fill in one of the teams. Lack of communication can result in substantial delays on your project as a whole--and hold you back from meeting your full potential or providing the stunning project your customers are looking for. 

At Linked Field, we help provide many of the solutions you need for your project management challenges. Our construction management tool offers a number of features that can help improve communication, make it easier to keep up with scheduling, and keep your To Do list in one easily-accessible location--with the option to assign job tasks and move responsibilities as needed. Ready to learn more about our solution? Contact us today.