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Why Your Construction Job Needs Automated T&M Tracking

Rhumbix Editorial StaffApril 28, 2020 • 5 min read

Turns out that paper is still the most common medium that contractors use to track their work.

With tracking time and materials the old fashioned way, how can you be certain you don’t risk losing time and materials tags?

Fortunately, automated solutions can provide real-time data for T&M tracking. Read on for more info below.

Construction Job Costing Overview

In short, with construction job costing you are tracking expenses specific to various jobs.

The goal is to break down large projects into more manageable pieces. This is to better enable tracking expenses that are specific to certain areas in the project.

By breaking down expenses at both the micro and macro level it can help business owners see the projects that are profitable versus not being profitable.

It is not uncommon to have a contractor allocate more labor hours than estimated on future bids if it is determined that certain tasks are really driving profit.

Mobile Tracking Solutions

With paper time cards creating a lot of inefficiencies for contractors, turns out mobile solutions are now advanced enough to help the operation.

By using a mobile device, employees simply enter their time directly into the application on their phone. Real-time labor information is a huge boost to any team looking for more accurate info when reviewing projects.

Using mobile, long gone are the days of project managers having to idle until time cards are manually entered.

Time and Materials Require Immediate Visibility

A lot of data can be generated in the field and general and subcontractors need a real-time view of this information. What about the additional costs associated with tracking this data?

With cloud-based reporting and approvals tracking, your info is digitized and is not only faster but cheaper too.

Forget paper T&M tickets generated on carbon sheets. While it might seem easier using paper, it can create real headaches for all parties involved.

The Problem With Paper

Using paper for T&M can lead to several issues, including duplicate data entry and lost tickets.

Ditching paper will allow you to save time on not having to run paper copies to stakeholders. Also, forget the dreaded issue of discovering extra work tags in a truck months after the fact.

It’s time for your organization to increase visibility by going with automated time and materials tracking.

Key Benefits of Going Digital

Check out below for the main reasons why digital automation is a good idea:

  1. Visibility is immediate for your stakeholders. Once a T&M ticket is made, everyone ranging from subcontractors to owners and architects can all be informed.
  2. No more lost tickets. Going digital can remove the risk of a lost or delayed ticket, which helps you stay in the good graces of owners for when a job is wrapped up.
  3. Cost evaluation. With having all T&M costs in one spot, stakeholders are able to see total risk potential for a project.

Ultimately, the plan for your company should be a time and materials solution that uses automation and helps to remove administrative burdens for all.

How Does it Work?

Solution providers like Rhumbix offer software that will enable you to capture data from the field and use that data to further measure your labor productivity.

Specifically, their software features capabilities for productivity performance metrics, timecards, notes and photos from the field and much more. It will even sync with accounting systems like Quickbooks and Sage.

Project managers, executives, field operations and payroll alike will all appreciate an automated approach that saves them time and energy.

Features to Look For

There are tons of challenges for work that is done outside of a fixed price contract.

It might be for “time and materials” or “cost plus”. Either way, using automation software can be more effective and ensures everything is billed correctly.

Listed below are some features of the software that will be helpful to your company:

  1. Single field log. This way you can track and differentiate all work that is done by your crew without using separate logs.
  2. Resource Utilization. Keeps everything separate for factors like hours, costs and productivity.
  3. Modify a fixed-price job. Allows you to add time and materials to the work scope.

Some applications even allow for contractors to maintain reusable T&M price sheets for labor and equipment with a set price limit.

Best Practices Digitally

So your company has finally taken the plunge and is now fully automated. Read below for some best practices as it relates to your company tracking expenses:

  • Go mobile. Mentioned earlier in this article, you’ll find that mobile allows new capabilities that will save project managers and business owners time.
  • Include change orders. You’ll find that best practices for job costing and cost codes still apply as it relates to change orders affecting the overall health of your project.
  • Review frequently. By making regular adjustments on a more frequent basis you can avoid any shocks to your budget when the project is closed and its too late.
  • Check your billings. With many companies doing job costing on a simplified basis, make sure you stay on top of billings closely to ensure you were paid for work completed.
  • Overhead and indirect. Some costs will not be billable but its still important to account for them, such as travel costs and equipment.

Take the Step to Digital Now

Turns out technology only functions well if it has a good team behind it supporting the service provided by a company that knows your industry.

Make sure you are looking at solutions that benefit everyone in the field, with varying degrees of tech savvy, and across multiple screens like mobile, etc.

Click over to Rhumbix now to schedule a demo and see how their software can help you take your company to the next level.


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